The Astrophotography Contest Year 2021 was organized by Astronomical Society of Penang, supported by Star-Finder Astronomical Society and FalakOnline. 

Photographs submission was opened from 1st September 2021 and closes on 31st October 2021 while Facebook voting period happened from 1st to 15th November 2021.

Despite the intermittent lock downs due to Covid-19 pandemic limiting travels to dark places for imaging, the responses were still very encouraging with submission of many high quality images.

Thirteen best images were decided by a panel of five judges for the main prizes of First Prize, Second Prize, Third Prize, and ten Consolation Prizes. Ten Facebook Popular Vote Prizes were awarded to ten images with the highest votes on our Facebook page.

Thirteen selected winning photos will be featured in the desk calendar of the year 2022, which will be published by the Astronomical Society of Penang in December 2021.

Check out all the winners below!

First Prize

Title: Horsehead and Orion
Photographer: Md Zaki bin Kosrin
Date & Location:  16 October2021, Batu Pahat, Johor.
Description: Part of Orions Belt & Sword. Flame Nebula, the dark Horsehead Nebula, Orion Nebula and clouds, dark dust lanes throughout the region.
Equipment: Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ5 Pro, ZWO ASI2600MC Pro, ASIAIR Pro, Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II, Optolong L-Pro Filter
Camera Settings: Gain 100, -5°C, 15 x 180s + 20 x 300s , dark & flat frame applied
Post Processing: DeepSkyStacker, Photoshop, resize resolution.

Second Prize

Title: The Great Andromeda Galaxy
Photographer: Kelvin Chong
Date & Location:  13 October 2021, Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor.
Description: I started DSO because of Andromeda Galaxy. And it took me 4 years to get some decent data. This is a relatively ‘easy’ and ‘go to’ object for beginner amateur astrophotographers, but bringing out the details of this massive galaxy is another challenge of its own.
Equipment: William Optics GT71, iOptron CEM25P, ZWO ASI1600MM Pro, Baader LRGB & Ha (7nm) filter
Camera Settings: Unity Gain @ 139, cooled to -5C
Post Processing: Workflow in PixInsight

Third Prize

Title: Fighting Dragons of Ara
Photographer: Chua Soon Jaa
Date & Location:  9 June 2021, Sandakan, Sabah.
Description: Fighting Dragons Nebula or sometimes also known as the Fighting Dragons of Ara is an emission nebula with dark lanes located in the Constellation of Ara. It has a fantastic resemblance to a pair of dragons in fighting. A “Dragon Egg” which is a bipolar nebula surrounded by faint gas can be seen beneath the two fighting dragons.
Equipment: Sky Rover 80mm f/6 Triplet APO with 0.8x R/F, iOptron CEM25P, ZWO ASI294MC Pro, Optolong L-eXtreme
Camera Settings: 90 x 120 s
Post Processing: DeepSkyStacker-stacking of subs and calibration frames, PixInsight-stacked image processing & Photoshop-touch up of the processed image.

Ten Consolation Prizes

Title: Ring Planet Saturn
Photographer: Alfred Terrence
Date & Location:  8 September 2021, Bandar Putra, Kulai, Johor.
Description: Saturn, taken on 08.09.2021.
Equipment: Celestron C11, Explorer Scientific x3 Focal Extender, ZWO ASI462MC, Optolong L Filter
Camera Settings: Gain=427 (71%), Exposure=15.08 ms
Post Processing: AutoStakkert!3, RegiStax 6, Luminar 4, Photoshop

Title: AR2887 in Hydrogen Alpha Wavelength
Photographer: Neoh Eugene
Date & Location:  30 October 2021, Heng Ee Observatory, Penang.
Description: AR2887 is fading but still show some interesting activities.
Equipment: Lunt LS152 telescope, 3x barlow, QHY5L-II-M camera
Camera Settings: Gain 10, shutter 0.1 ms
Post Processing: 1000 frames stacked with AutoStakkert, wavelet processing with RegiStax, enhancement and false color with Photoshop.

Title: NGC 7000 – North America Nebula
Photographer: Lee Boon Ton
Date & Location:  9 October 2021, Kuala Lumpur.
Description: The North America Nebula, NGC 7000, is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus.
Equipment: William Optics Zenithstar 73-III, iOptron CEM26, ZWO ASI294MC Pro, Optolong L Extreme
Camera Settings: Exposure: 35 x 300 s, Gain: 120, Sensor TEMP: 0
Post Processing: N.I.N.A., SiriL, PS

Title: Omega Nebula
Photographer: Lee Woon Chieh
Date & Location:  28 July 2021, Kuala Lumpur.
Description: M17
Equipment: GSO RC6, iOptron ZEQ25GT, Nikon D610 mod
Camera Settings: 1300mm, ISO 6400, f/9, 180 s
Post Processing: Photoshop, PixInsight, DeepSkyStacker

Title: Rise of the Hunter
Chan Mun Chung
Date & Location:
  14 October 2021, Kuala Kubu Baru.
Description: Rise of Orion over the horizon at Kuala Kubu Baru Dam.
Equipment: Nikon D810a, Nikon 50mm f/1.8, iOptron Sky Guider Pro
Camera Settings: f/2.8, ISO 1600, 120 s
Post Processing:
Sequator, Lightroom & Photoshop

Title: Twelve Lunar Phases
Photographer: Tee Ching Hong
Date & Location:
  18 July 2021, Kota Damansara, Selangor.
Description: July’s weather was rather dry and hot so I decided to record our moon’s phases continuously each night from July 18th until July 29th and eventually ended the 12-days mini marathon as the moon was not visible after the next day.
Equipment: Sky-Watcher Evoguide 50ED, Star Adventurer 2i, ZWO ASI120MC-S
Camera Settings: Resolution=1280 x 960, Colour Space=RAW16, Exposure=between 2 ms to 7 ms, WB_R=50, WB_B=90
Post Processing: PIPP, AutoStakkert (appr. 30% of 1200 frames each), RegiStax.

Title: M31 Andromeda
Photographer: Tay Hwee Nen
Date & Location:  9 October 2021, Kuala Kubu Bharu.
Description: M31 Andromeda Galaxy 仙女座大星系
Equipment: Sky Rover 70SA II (350mm f/5), DIY Harmonic Tracker, Nikon D750 mod, STC Astro-Multispectra
Camera Settings: ISO 1600, 73 x 60s, Dark x 37, Flat x 10
Post Processing: DeepSkyStacker, PixInsight, Photoshop CC

Title: A Stellar Nursery – The Lagoon Nebula
Photographer: Teoh Jia Jing
Date & Location:  6 August 2021, Kuala Lumpur.
Description: The Lagoon Nebula – A region in the Milky Way with active star formations.
Equipment: Sky-Watcher 72ED, Canon EOS 3000D, Tracked with Sky-Watcher AZ-GTi
Camera Settings: ISO 800, 300 second exposure
Post Processing: Stacked, and post processed in Siril, and starnet++ with Photoshop.

Title: Southern Jewels
Photographer: Muhamad Iqbal Bin Fazli Hazami
Date & Location:  18 February 2021, Paka, Terengganu.
Description: The image of Eta Carinae Nebula barely rising above the southern horizon during the winter month.
Equipment: Canon 700D, Samyang 135mm, Star Adventurer Pro
Camera Settings: ISO 800, 33 x 120 second, f/2.8
Post Processing: Stacking with DeepSkyStacker, Adobe Photoshop

Title: Corpenicus Crater
Photographer: Eric Koay Kuat Eng
Date & Location:  15 October 2021, Cyberjaya, Selangor.
Description: Bunny on the moon.
Equipment: 8″ Dob, Redmi Note 8
Camera Settings: Point and shoot
Post Processing: None


Title: Total Lunar Eclipse 2021
Photographer: Muhamad Shazri bin Saudi
Date & Location:  26 May 2021, Canada Hill, Miri, Sarawak.
Description: Total lunar eclipse 2021 taken at Canada Hill, Miri, Sarawak on 26 May 2021 using Huawei Nova 5T and tripod.
Equipment: Huawei Nova 5T & Tripod
Camera Settings: ISO 50, 6 s, f/1.8, AF-C
Post Processing: PSX Express, Adobe Lightroom & Snapseed

Title: AR2891 in Visible Light
Photographer: Yeoh Ke Xuan
Date & Location:
  30 October 2021, Heng Ee Observatory, Penang.
Description: The large sunspot group AR2891 in visible light.
Equipment: APM-TMB 228/2050 telescope, 2x barlow, Baader AstroSolar, Canon 60D
Camera Settings: ISO 100, 1/200 s
Post Processing: Camera Raw, Adobe Photoshop, False Color

Title: AR2891 in Hydrogen Alpha Wavelength
Photographer: Boey Khai Ning
Date & Location:
  30 October 2021, Heng Ee Observatory, Penang.
Description: AR2891 has continued to show great activities since it was still at the far side of the Sun.
Equipment: Lunt LS152 telescope, 3x barlow, Canon 60D
Camera Settings: ISO 100, 1/100 s
Post Processing: Camera Raw, Adobe Photoshop, False Color

Title: Bird Over the Sun
Photographer: Teoh Zheng Yang
Date & Location:
  5 August 2021, Air Itam, Penang.
Description: Sun observation while bird fly through.
Equipment: Sky-Watcher 150/750, Samsung A7
Camera Settings: ISO 40
Post Processing: Powerpoint

Title: What the Astronauts See Before Landing
Photographer: Chin Kok Chung
Date & Location:
  17 July 2021, Tawau.
Description: The Moon is the only place besides Earth where human have set foot.
Equipment: Meade LX65 8″, ZWO ASI178MC
Camera Settings: 60 seconds video          
Post Processing: AutoStakkert, RegiStax and Photoshop

Title: Stairway to Heaven
Photographer: Muhammad Fadzli bin Sidi Omar
Date & Location:  19 April 2021, Parit Buntar, Perak.
Description: If there’s a path to the Galactic Core, I’ll definitely take it.
Equipment: Olympus E-PL9, 7Artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 Lens
Camera Settings: ISO 1600, f/2.8, 30 seconds
Post Processing: 9 photos stacked in Sequator for noise reduction. Enhancement done in Adobe Lightroom.

Title: Kee’s Farm Star Trail
Photographer: Sham Zhen Dong
Date & Location:  20 July 2020, Kee’s Farm, Simpang Pertang.
Description: Kee’s Farm Star Trail.
Equipment: Nikon D5200
Camera Settings: ISO 500, f/4, 62 x 60s
Post Processing: StarStaX and GIMP

Title: Sun Halo
Photographer: Felicia Ng Jia Qi
Date & Location:  12 October 2021, Sabah Chinese High School, Tawau.
Description: Sun Halo are generally considered rare, but it happened for two consecutive days in Tawau. This image was taken on the second day. When I was capturing this image, there was a bird flying in the sky. Fortunately, I captured the Sun Halo with the bird successfully in the same frame.
Equipment: Nikon D5600, 18mm lens
Camera Settings: f/3.5, 1/2500 s, ISO 400
Post Processing: For the post-processing of the image, I used Adobe Photoshop CC 2021 to enhance the color saturation and brightness. I have changed the value of saturation, exposure, highlight and temperature of the image.

Title: NGC 6853 Dumbbell Nebula
Loh Chee Kean
Date & Location:
  6 September 2021, Kenny Loh Observatory, Sungai Ara, Bayan Lepas, Penang.
Description: NGC 6853 Dumbbell Nebula from Kenny Loh Observatory.
Equipment: C8 f/6.3 reducer, Optolong UHC filter, Canon 20D modified, CGX mount
Camera Settings: ISO 1600, 301s exposure per frame, total 13 frames
Post Processing: DeepSkyStacker, Photoshop, Lightroom

Title: Milky Way – Our Galaxy
Photographer: Koo Chek Joo
Date & Location:  30 September 2021, Tawau Hills Park, Tawau, Sabah.
Description: N A night to remember. The Milky Way is nothing else but a mass of innumerable stars planted together in clusters. —– Galileo Galilei
Equipment: Nikon D5300, 10mm lens, tripod
Camera Settings: f/2.8, ISO 1600, 53 mins (106 x 30s)
Post Processing: Stacked with Sequator 160. Brightness, contrast, curve, saturation, colour balance adjustments in Adobe Photoshop CC 2019

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