In a week of fantastic entries and tight competition, Dan Kusz’s image of the Wizard Nebula edged ahead to take the title of SkyNews Photo of the Week on November 12, 2021.
Discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1787, NGC 7380 is an open star cluster about 7,000 light-years away, located in the constellation Cepheus. Its surrounding nebulosity, which spans about 110 light-years, is commonly known as the Wizard Nebula. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory states that the stars of NGC 7380 have emerged from this star-forming region in the last five million years or so, making it a relatively young cluster.
Kusz said he captured a total of 22.5 hours of Hydrogen-alpha, Oxygen III, Sulphur II and RGB data in September 2021, shooting from Vernon, British Columbia. He captured the data using a ZWO ASI2600MM Pro and Sky-Watcher Esprit 120 at 647mm (f/5.4)
Kusz also said used a wider field of view than many images he has seen because he wanted to show the extent of the very faint Hydrogen-alpha signal that was surrounding the main, bright nebula.
“I was going to produce an HOO only image, but after taking an SII sub to see what kind of signal there was I had to incorporate it,” Kusz wrote. “The SII signal was significant and much more abundant than many other nebulae.”
Kusz combined the three filters differently to incorporate more of the SII data.
“The SII shows up the most along the rim of the bright nebulosity between the mainly blue OIII are and red Hα area,” he wrote. “To me, this gives the image some depth and a more dynamic colour palate. I am trying to do something different than the Hubble palate with the three main narrowband filters.”
With its beautifully captured satellite galaxies, three-dimensional dust clouds and sparkling background stars, Jason Dain’s image of the Andromeda Galaxy took our honourable mention this week.
Also known as Messier 31, the Andromeda Galaxy is about 2.5 million light-years away, one of the farthest objects visible with the naked eye. Tucked in beside Andromeda are Messier 32 (the bright glow to the centre-left) and Messier 110 (to the lower right). M32 is a dwarf “early-type” galaxy, and M110 is a dwarf elliptical galaxy — and both are satellite galaxies of Andromeda.
Dain said he captured the data from Stillwater Lake, Nova Scotia, in November 2021 using a ZWO ASI2600MM and a Sky-Watcher Esprit 100 ED APO (f/5.5).
“I chose the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) for my first true-colour image using my new mono camera and filters,” he wrote. “For this image, I shot red, green, blue, luminance and hydrogen images over the course of almost 20 hours. I spent a good bit of time on my processing on this image to make sure I got the result I wanted. After a few false starts, I’m pretty happy with the end result.”
Every week, SkyNews publishes the best image from among those sent in by readers from all across Canada. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner at night sky photography, we’re looking for your pictures! Enter today for your chance to win a Photo of the Week title and one of our annual prizes!
Prizes for the 2021-22 SkyNews Photo of the Week contest are sponsored by Sky-Watcher, Celestron, iOptron, The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and SkyNews. Find out more about the amazing telescopes, prize packages and gift vouchers awarded to the best photos this year.