After another record number of top quality competition entries from astrophotographers all around the world, the results are finally in. We’re very excited to announce that the winner of our 2016 Astrophotography Competition is…
…Simon Großlercher for this outstanding image of NGC 772!
Image Details: Atik One 6.0, Selfbuilt 10″ f/4.5 Newton Telescope, Skywatcher EQ-8, Exposure time: 74x10min. L 12x10min. RGB
“It is my goal to share the beauty of our universe with as many people as possible and make society curious about Science.”
Simon lives in Tyrol, Austria and studies Chemistry at the University of Innsbruck. He was inspired to take up Astronomy after seeing the BBC Wonders of the Universe series, and took to experimenting with astrophotography soon after. We caught up with Simon to find out a bit more about the circumstances surrounding the winning image.
“The image itself was taken under “mediocrish” circumstances. Though my little observatory hut is located in the alps at 600m of altitude, we tend to get very humid air in autumn. In case of NGC 772, there were several nights in which the sky was covered in light fog (in german we call it “Hochnebel” – “high fog”), not only leading to worse transperancy, but also it intensified the nearby light pollution and caused my primary and secondary mirror to thaw (despite a 40cm dew cap). Seeing was decent but never ideal.
I had started the project back in 2015 when I first gathered luminance data and considered it to be worth a longer exposure.”
We also agree it was definitely worth the longer exposure. NGC 772 is a peculiar spiral galaxy also known as Arp 78. It has a number of companion galaxies, most notable NGC 770 to the left of NGC 772 in this image. At around 100 million light-years away in Aries, it’s around 100 thousand light-years across and has a prominent spiral arm that’s likely the result of gravitational interactions with its companions.
We’ll be sending Simon a brand new Atik 16200 camera and we can’t wait to see what he can do with it. You can follow Simon over on the website he shared with Highly Commended astrophotographer Stefan Muckenhuber.
This year we have two astrophotographers in the runner-up spots who clearly impressed you, along with our judges, with the skill displayed in their images. In no particular order, they are:
John Erik Minerva – NGC 6992, The Eastern Veil in Bicolour
Image Details: Atik 314L+ Mono, C6-N, AVX, Baader NB, 16x10m HA + 5x20m OIII + 17x10m OIII, 7.17hrs
Our judges were extremely impressed with the colour balance in John’s image of the Eastern Veil Nebula, and the fresh presentation of a familiar object.
“I am a Canadian astrophotographer who started the hobby of capturing the night sky in 2013. Starting from a DSLR, I learned the basics of astroimaging until I found a reason to upgrade into a mono CCD; to capture nebulas.
This image was taken in the light polluted city of Toronto through a 6 inch Newtonian telescope. In this image, I wanted to show the nebula differently so I simply rotated the camera 90 degrees to give it a new feel. It took me 4 nights to gather all the photons accumulating into 7 hours worth of exposure time. Through the use of framing and colour balancing I was able to portray the nebula in a different manner which is what I really liked about this photo.”
You can follow John Erik and see more of his fantastic work over on his Instagram.
Patrik Tarczi – The Foal Nebula
Image Details: Atik One 6.0, 173/700 Newton-astrograph (ZsIO), SkyWatcher comacorrector F/4, 16.5 hours – L: 45×7 mins, R: 26×10 mins, G: 22×10 mins, B: 20×10 mins
If the name seems familiar, it may be because Patrik was the winner of our 2015 Competition and he’s found himself amongst the top spots again this year.
“It is big pleasure, that this year I could catch such nice position again! My Foal Nebula astrophoto was taken in Mátra, a mountain range in northern Hungary. Every year, we hold a one week long star-party there, and I spent more nights of that week to capture those faint nebulas. Thanks to the altitude, the conditions are better and more consistent in the mountains, so it’s really worth to spend nights over there. Though this time the seeing and transparency were quite varied, I tried to do my best. Next year, I am going to submit astrophotos taken with the Atik 4120EX, what I won last year, so stay tuned! Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who voted to any of my photos.”
You see more of Patrik’s images and his work in progress over on his website.
We’ll be setting up John Erik and Patrik with Atik Air to add another layer of flexibility to their setups.
We’ve had such a high number of incredible entries that we’d also like to showcase some of the highly commended images from the competition. So, in no particular order, here are a number of images that were just pipped to the post – click for full resolution versions of the images.
A huge thank you to all the astrophotographers that have taken part this year. It’s a real pleasure for all of us at Atik to see the incredible images you’re taking with our cameras and we’re already looking forward to seeing what you do this year!