Witch Head Nebula and Rigel
The dark Namibian sky was the perfect location to capture the wonder of the Witch Head Nebula and Rigel. The Witch Head Nebula is a very faint molecular gas cloud which is illuminated by supergiant star Rigel, the seventh brightest star of the sky and the brightest star in the constellation of Orion.
Pleiades and Taurus Molecular Cloud
The image showcases a very rare conjunction of two bright comets both passing the famous Pleiades star cluster in Taurus at the same time. Comet C/2017 O1 (ASASSN) is at far left while C2015 ER61 (PanSTARRS) is in the centre. Both comets have strikingly different appearances. The whole region is embedded in the faint nebulosity of the Taurus Molecular Cloud. The photographer used a remote telescope located in Mayhill, N.M.
CrA Molecular Complex
Under the dark Namibian sky, the photographer set his camera to a six-hour exposure in order to capture the CrA Molecular Complex, a large, dark and irregular area in the northern part of Corona Australis where we can see reflection nebulas NGC 6726-27-29, dark dust cloud Bernes 157, globular cluster NGC 6723 and other objects. Interestingly, there is a huge difference in distance: under 500 light years for the dust complex and 30,000 light years for the globular cluster.
Lambda Centauri Nebula
Almost 5,900 light years away, toward the southern constellation Centaurus, lies a large beautiful nebula known as the Lambda Centauri Nebula. The intense light from stars in a young open cluster cause the surrounding gas to glow with a magenta hue from emission lines of ionised Hydrogen atoms. In the centre of the image, is a group of Bok globules, which are dark, dense collapsing patches of gas and dust where new stars are frequently born. These were discovered by South African astronomer, A. David Thackeray, in 1950 and are now known as Thackeray's Globules and are a favourite target for backyard astrophotographers. The largest globule is two separate clouds that overlap slightly. While they appear small in the context of the grand nebula, these overlapping globules are each 1.4 light years across and together they contain more than 15 times the mass of our Sun.
Eta Carina Nebula
The Eta Carina Nebula, or NGC 3372, is the biggest and brightest nebula in the sky and is located in the constellation Carina. It is mostly made out of hydrogen, created when the bright orange star mid-left went nova, spewing out large amounts of hydrogen gas which now emits light at the Hydrogen-alpha wavelength. The photographer took and stacked multiple shots and processed them in Pixinsight.
Messier 31 and 33
This photograph is a mosaic of 24 images and depicts how the galaxies Messier 31 and Messier 33 appear symmetrically on either side of the star Mirach. Despite being the two galaxies closest to our own, they are still significantly further away from us than Mirach, which is a star within our own Milky Way. We can also see the two smaller satellite galaxies of M31, M32 and M110.
Spiral Galaxy NGC 3521
The spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is located around 26 million light-years away in the constellation Leo and presents a complex scene, with enormous amounts of surrounding dust and stray stars glowing far out from its disk. Emerging from the photographer’s colour data was a bright array of contrasting colour tones, generated by aging yellow-red stars, younger burning aggressively blue-white stars, and various nebulae throughout the disk. This image comprises approximately 20.5 hours of exposure time, collecting data in various filter types.
Still relatively far from the Sun, the comet's well-developed ion tail shines bright in the night sky. Emission from unusually abundant ionized carbon monoxide (CO+) molecules fluorescing in the increasing sunlight is largely responsible for the beautiful blue tint.
During a total solar eclipse, the brightness of the solar corona hides details of the Moon to the human eye. But by layering multiple digital exposures in this image from 2 seconds to 1/2000th of a second, the photographer managed to reveal much more. The image showcases not just the brilliant solar corona, but the newest possible of new moons, seen here illuminated by sunlight reflecting off the Earth.
The photographer’s father taught him how to focus the telescope, capture and process the data. Once the telescope was set up the photographer started taking images of the surface of the Moon and even managed to capture more details than his father did in the past.
This was the last opportunity in 2017 to see the silver core of the Milky Way before it sunk below the horizon. It was accompanied by the gradual curtain call of Scorpio heralding the upward trend of Orion in the sky. Meanwhile, the season of bright shooting stars quietly arrived. The image is stitched together from a total of twenty pictures.
Situated on a south-coast peninsula, this street falls within a part-night street lighting zone; when the lights go out, there's nothing to interfere with the view of the stars until continental Europe - miles across the English Channel. The scene might be perceived incongruous or surreal and almost shows how accustomed we've become to the loss of night sky views due to light pollution. It was a conscious decision by the photographer to feature the unlit streetlamps, hinting how it might be possible to undo the damage and restore awe-inspiring views.