Zodiacal light by Justin Anderson | SkyNews
Zodiacal light by Justin Anderson

Zodiacal light by Justin Anderson

Justin Anderson’s image of the zodiacal light under the Milky Way won the Photo of the Week title on October 1, 2021.

Contrasting the stark, flat landscape with colourful, busy skies, Justin Anderson’s image of the zodiacal light under the Milky Way won the Photo of the Week title on October 1, 2021.

Zodiacal light by Justin Anderson | SkyNews
Zodiacal light by Justin Anderson

Anderson said he took the photo on March 11, 2021, in Minto, Manitoba, “on an adventure to capture the zodiacal light.”

“The church was built in 1919 to honour four men from the community that fought in the Great War,” he wrote. “It has been one of my favourite locations to photograph over the year, as it stands tall on the prairies.”

He said that on this occasion, he decided to setup his iOptron SkyTracker and wanted to test out my newly modified Canon 6D sporting a Samyang 24mm (f/1.4).

“I captured this panorama of the winter Milky Way arching over the church, with zodiacal light glowing incredibly bright,” he wrote. “There is even weak aurora to the right of the image; however, it is drowned out by the Bortle 7 city to my north.”

Anderson captured 10 exposures at 45 seconds each for the sky, and 10 more exposures at 30 seconds each for the foreground.

“I started to pack up as the light started to fade,” he wrote. “At this point, I was getting ready to leave, then decided to capture a panorama of the foreground (doubting I would use it).”

He said the next two nights were filled with aurora which stole the show, therefore these photos sat on his hard drive. When he finally did a sweep, he decided to edit this panorama.

“I am quite happy with the outcome,” Anderson wrote. “I will be using my tracker much more this winter.”

NGC 206 by David Payne | SkyNews
NGC 206 by David Payne

The runner up this week is David Payne’s image of NGC 206, which is a bright star cloud located in Messier 31 or the Andromeda Galaxy.

“I received a question on whether we could resolve stars outside the Milky Way from a backyard telescope — is the old saying that ‘all the stars you can see are in the Milky Way”‘ really true?” he wrote.

To answer the question, he said he used his best amateur equipment for better-than-seeing resolution and focused on NGC 206, a field of giant blue stars in our closest galactic neighbour.

“What a surprise — doubly so — you can resolve many, many stars (the tiny, mainly blue pointillism-like dots in the background),” he wrote. “And Andromeda presents a truly beautiful vista [with] many interesting features — even when “zoomed-in” at a long focal length.”

Shooting from Maple Bay, British Columbia, on September 2, 2021, Payne captured the image using a ZWO ASI6200MM camera and a Planewave CDK12.5 (f/8). He captured 30 luminance frames that were 3.0 minutes each, and 30 frames 3.5-minute frames each in red, blue and green, for a total integration time of 6.8 hours.

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.

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