Stellar Shot of the YEAR: December 31, 2021
"A Shark in Cepheus" (LDN 1235) - by Jon Talbot
What makes a particular photo, be it an astrophoto or otherwise, truly noteworthy? As with any art form this is of course a very subjective question, but one good metric is how long you can stare at an image while staying captivated. A truly great image should pull you in and make you go over every little detail, color, shape, and shade. We wanted to pick a photo for our "StellarShot of the Year" that truly embodies this, but when evaluating images in this wonderful hobby the data has to be perfect, the processing perfect, the color balance, contrast, noise reduction... everything has to come together just right. And of all the submissions we've seen this year, the one that has kept our staff coming back again and again was this image of the Shark Nebula (LDN 1235) by Jon Talbot (@talbotj2001). We're not alone in our admiration of this image either as Jon has already received an Astrobin Image of the Day for this amazing shot, but as noted above everything here is just perfect. The dynamic range, the colors, the perfect stars, and all of that DETAIL. It feels almost criminal to be sharing these via plain-old social media because you can really get lost in this shot when you zoom in, so please head over to our website or to Jon's Astrobin account to enjoy this masterpiece in all it's glory.
From Jon's description: "The Shark nebula is a faint cloud of interstellar gas and dust in the constellation Cepheus. It has this nickname since it looks like a shark in wide field images. The above image spans about two thirds of its actual length of about 15 light years. Within this dust cloud are several other objects. The darker dusty area to the top left is LDN 1235, the densest part of this dust cloud. The bright blue reflection nebula on the top of the image is VdB 150 and the bottom blue reflection nebula is VdB 149. Both this beautiful reflection nebula shine with the color of very hot B8IV stars within these parts of the nebula. This dusty cloud is approximately 650 light years distant. A small galaxy, PGC 67671, is in the upper right edge of the image. PGC 67671 is much farther distant at close to 58 million light years. The image was taken under very dark Bortle 1 skies at the 2021 Okie Tex Star Party in Kenton, Oklahoma in Oct 2021. The image was acquired using Voyager automation software and processed with PixInsight along with a few tweaks using Photoshop. The image scale is 1.28 arcsec/pixel."
- Imaging telescope: Stellarvue SVX152T
- Imaging camera: ZWO ASI6200MM-P
- Mount: Software Bisque Paramount MyT
- Guide scope: Stellarvue 50mm Guidescope
- Guiding cameras=: Starlight Xpress Lodestar Autoguider X2
- Software: Software Bisque The Sky X PixInsight 1.8 Starkeeper.it Voyager Automation
- Filters: Chroma 50mm L/R/G/B
- Accessories: Stellarvue Large Format Flattener (SFFX-2)