The Astrophotography Contest Year 2022 was organized by Astronomical Society of Penang, supported by Star-Finder Astronomical Society and FalakOnline. 

As we were recovering from the pandemic, astrophotographers had been taking more photos last two years. This year, we received a total of 120 submissions from 36 participants, of which 102 photographs were eligible for the next stage of judging and voting.
Thirteen best images were chosen by a panel of five judges for the main prizes of First Prize, Second Prize, Third Prize, and ten Consolation Prizes. Another ten images (excluding winning images of the thirteen main prizes) with the highest votes (Likes) on Facebook won the FB Popular Vote Prizes. Voting period started from 16 Oct 2022 (10:00 MYT) to 31 Oct 2022 (24:00 MYT).
Thirteen of the winning photos will be featured in the desk calendar of the year 2023, which will be published by the Astronomical Society of Penang in December 2022.

Photographs submission started from 1st September 2021 and closed on 15th October 2021 while Facebook voting period happened from 16th to 31st October 2022.

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.

Check out all the winners below!

First Prize

Title: Dragons of Ara

Photographer: Amri Karim

Date & Location:  6 June 2022, Backyard in Subang.

Description: Dragons of Ara and the Dragon Egg with the egg shells, in the constellation Ara. Image details: 31x180s and 26x600s Ha exposures + 16x300s and 47x600s OIII exposures, total integration time 15 hours.

Equipment: Askar FRA500, Optolong Ha and OIII filters, ZWO ASI2600MM, ASIAir Plus, ZWO off-axis-guider, ZWO ASI290MM mini guide camera, Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ5 mount.

Camera Settings: All default settings. Gain 100.

Post Processing: Stacking and post-processing in PixInsight.

Second Prize

Title: Vela Supernova Remnant

Photographer: Mohd Zaki Bin Kosrin

Date & Location:  25 March 2022, Kuala Kubu Bharu.

Description: Exploded about 11,000 years ago and creates filamentary and gigantic shock in visible light, appearing about 15 times the diameter of the full moon, the Vela Supernova Remnant is the closest and among the largest supernova remnant.

Equipment: Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ5 Pro, ZWO ASI2600MC Pro, ASIAIR Pro, Canon EF 135mm f/2 L, Optolong L-eXtreme Filter.

Camera Settings: Gain 100, -5°C, 46 x 180s, dark & flat frame applied.

Post Processing: DeepSkyStacker, Photoshop, PixInsight.

Third Prize

Title: IC2118 – Witch Head Nebula

Photographer: Kelvin Chong

Date & Location:  4 February 2022, Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor.

Description: This is an extremely faint reflection nebula. The nebula is named after its’ resemblance of a witch head. Due to its faint nature, its shape is not apparent in a single frame. Shooting such object in the city is close to impossible.

Equipment: ZWO ASI 2600MM Pro, William Optics GT71, iOptron CEM25P.

Camera Settings: Gain 100 @ -5°C, 127x60s L, 21x60s RGB.

Post Processing: PixInsight.

Ten Consolation Prizes

Title: IC2944 – Running Chicken Nebula (Hubble Palette)

Photographer: Tommy Lim Kang Wen

Date & Location:  24 April 2022, Mersing, Johor.

Description: IC 2944, also known as the Running Chicken Nebula is an open cluster with an associated emission nebula found in the constellation Centaurus.

Equipment: QHY168C camera, Pentax 100 SDUF II f/4 telescope, Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ5GT mount, Optolong L-eXtreme filter.

Camera Settings: Gain = 10, offset = 50, exposure = 30 x 240 secs lights, 25 x flats, 50 x bias and 15 x darks.

Post Processing: PixInsight and Photoshop.

Title: Rosetta Nebula NGC2237

Photographer: Goh Choon Maan

Date & Location:  22 January 2022, Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang.

Description: The Rosette Nebula (also known as Caldwell 49 or NGC 2237) is a large, circular H II region located near one end of a giant molecular cloud in the Monoceros region of the Milky Way Galaxy. Smaller parts of the nebula include NGC 2238 NGC 2239. The open cluster NGC 2244 (Caldwell 50) is closely associated with the nebulosity, the stars of the cluster having been formed from the nebula’s matter.

Equipment: ZWO ASIAIR Pro, ZWO ASI533MC Pro, William Optics RedCat 51, NEQ6 Pro Mount.

Camera Settings: Gain = 100, Temp = 0°.

Post Processing: Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom.

Title: The Beauty of Comet Leonard C/2021 A1

Photographer: Farid Hamidi Bin Ibrahim

Date & Location:  5 December 2021, Balai Cerap Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

Description: Sequence of images Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard December 2021 and January 2022.

Equipment: Canon 6D camera, 70-200mm lens, Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer, Sky-Watcher Esprit 100ED telescope, Sky-Watcher EQ8 Pro mount, SBIG STC-7 filter wheel.

Camera Settings: [Canon 6D] (a) 10 frame stacked, 25 sec per frame, ISO 1600, f/2.8 (7dec), (b) 10 frame stacked, 25 sec per frame, ISO 1600, f/2.8 (6dec), (c) 12 image stacked, 25 sec per frame, ISO 1600, f/2.8 (5 dec); [SBIG STC-7 CCD] 1 minute exposure per each LRGB frame (10 set of LRGB), -5°C cooler fan.

Post Processing: DeepSkyStacker, enhancement in Photoshop (Crop Images) for image from 5, 6, 7 dec 2021. MaxIm LT 6 (Combine Method: Average), dark and flat frame applied. Enhancement and crop images in Photoshop for images from 20,24,25,26,28 Dec 2021 and 3 Jan 2022.

Title: Elephant’s Trunk Nebula

Photographer: SJ Richard

Date & Location:  8 October 2021, Sandakan, Sabah.

Description: The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth.

Equipment: Sky Rover 80mm f/6 Triplet APO telescope with 0.8x reducer/flattener, iOptron CEM 25P mount, ZWO ASI 294MC Pro camera, ZWO ASI120MC guiding camera, 2” Optolong L-eXtreme filter.

Camera Settings: 120s x 60 frames.

Post Processing: Photoshop and PixInsight.

Title: Planet Saturn

Photographer: Ahmad Luqman Hakim Bin Mohd Sharan

Date & Location:  14 August 2022, Kota Bharu Observatory, Kelantan.

Description: Planet Saturn after approaching opposition.

Equipment: Meade LX200 EMC telescope with Tele Vue 2x barlow lense and ZWO ASI462MC colour camera.

Camera Settings: Gain = 252, exposure = 0.031547s.

Post Processing: AutoStakkert, Registax and Photoshop.

Title: Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard. A Visitor from Space

Photographer: Roslina Hussain

Date & Location:  25 December 2021, Kota Bharu Observatory, Kelantan.

Description: Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard was discovered by G.J Leonard at the Mount Lemmon Observatory on 3rd January 2021. On 25th December 2021 this comet puts on a spectacular display of its ion tail in solar wind.

Equipment: Canon Ra, Celestron RASA 11″ F/2.2.

Camera Settings: ISO = 500, exposure = 60 sec.

Post Processing: DeepSkyStacker, Photoshop.

Title: Trifid and Lagoon Nebula

Photographer: Robin Lim

Date & Location:  26 August 2022, Mersing, Johor.

Description: Trifid and Lagoon Nebula in HaRGB, taken from Mersing with short 1 hour of total exposure.

Equipment: [RGB] Astro-Physics 92 Stowaway with 0.8x telecompressor, Astronomik L2 UV/IR-Block and QHY268C Camera. [Ha] William Optics Zenithstar 103 with Starizona Apex-ED 0.65x reducer, Antlia 3nm Ha Filter and QHY268M Camera.

Camera Settings: [RGB] 6 x 300s using QHY268C with Gain 15, Offset 12, Cooled to 0 Celcius. [Ha] 6 x 600s using QHY268M with Gain 60, Offset 12, Cooled to 0 Celcius.

Post Processing: Stacked and Processed in AstroPixedProcessor, Final editing in Adobe Photoshop.

Title: Sunrise

Photographer: Mohd Safuan Bin Salahudin

Date & Location:  19 April 2022, Jitra, Kedah.

Description: The golden sunrise with sunspots at a hill.

Equipment: Canon EOS R camera, RF 800mm f/11 lens.

Camera Settings: 1/1250 s, f/11, ISO 100.

Post Processing: Snapseed.

Title: Sun Prominence

Photographer: Nor Shafiqah Binti Sobahul Khairi

Date & Location:  31 August 2022, Balai Cerap Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

Description: Lingkaran prominence dan lapisan kromosfera matahari.

Equipment: Lunt 60mm solar scope with 3x barlow lens, ZWO ASI174MM mono camera.

Camera Settings: Gain = 165, exposure = 9.4810ms.

Post Processing: AutoStakkert, Registax and Photoshop.

Title: Mineral Moon

Photographer: Tan Zhi Qi

Date & Location:  12 May 2022, Kampar, Perak.

Description: The Moon may look grey to the naked eyes – that’s because our eyes aren’t sensitive enough. Through prost processing, we are able to bring out the colorful texture of the Moon. The orange and blue colour reveals the different types of minerals deposited on the lunar surface.

Equipment: Sky-Watcher Explorer 130PDS, EQ5 mount with AZ-EQ5 pier tripod plus Onstep (for tracking), ZWO ASI224MC.

Camera Settings: Gain = 200, exposure time = 0.1 ms.

Post Processing: Preprocessed in PIPP, stacked in AS!3, wavelet adjustments in Registax, stitched in MS ICE, post processed in GIMP and Adobe Lightroom.


Title: Jupiter & Neptune Conjunction

Photographer: Vijay Kumar A/L Nanta Kumar

Date & Location:  12 April 2022, Sungai Petani, Kedah.

Description: A rare conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune on 12th April 2022.

Equipment: Taken with a Sky-Watcher 6-inch F5 Newtonian telescope on EQ3 mount attached to 3x Barlow and Olympus OMD EM10 MKII.

Camera Settings: ISO 1600, 2.5 seconds, 10 shots.

Post Processing: PIPP, Autostakkert, GIMP, Snapseed.

Title: That’s My Star

Photographer: Chin Kok Chung

Date & Location:  7 June 2022, Tingkayu, Sabah.

Description: Everyone is just like a star. Just keep shining, because that’s what stars do.

Equipment: Nikon D5300.

Camera Settings: ISO 4000, 20 s.

Post Processing: Photoshop.

Title: A Timeless Trailing of the Midnight Hunter

Photographer: Fan Qing Ping

Date & Location:  2 September 2022, Kampung Jeram, Tampin, Negeri Sembilan.

Description: The Orion, one of my most familiar groups of stars in the deep sea of constellations above us. The belt of the hunter, the three stars which are aligned together always indicate its position in the spinning sphere of the night sky. The moment I was woken up by my friend in the middle of the witching hour, what was captured by my phone extremely thrilled me. It wasn’t easy tracking the night sky, which is heavily clouded. I could never forget the experience of sitting before the tripod in the middle of the fields under the dark, with a cup of instant noodle in my hand, waiting for the starry sky to clear. Slightly curved trails of stars, surrounded by gleams of blue light captured from the lightning. Once in our lives, every one of us must escape the bustling city, have our heads up and take a look at such a gorgeous gift from the universe.

Equipment: OPPO Reno6 Z 5G1, Tripod.

Camera Settings: ISO = 6400, focal length = 4.71mm, aperture = f/1.7, no flash, exposure time = 6.0 seconds (total exposure time = 50mins), 500 photos stacked.

Post Processing: StarStaX, Lightroom.

Title: Be the Brightest Star

Photographer: Felicia Ng Jia Qi

Date & Location:  30 January 2022, Eco Valley Retreat, Balung, Sabah.

Description: Vega, is the brightest star in the northern constellation of Lyra. Additionally, the star Vega is also the fifth brightest star in the night sky, with a visual magnitude of 0.03.

Equipment: Nikon D5300 modified, 105mm lens.

Camera Settings: f/2.8, ISO 3200, 30s.

Post Processing: During the post-processing stage, I used Adobe Photoshop CC 2021 to adjust the value of exposure, highlight, saturation, clarity, temperature and brightness of the image.

Title: Blue Noodle Served with Broccolli

Photographer: Law Yuan Zhou

Date & Location:  2 September 2022, Kampung Jeram, Tampin, Negeri Sembilan.

Description: This is the first star trail I had ever shot.The Kampung Jeram’s Star Trail. Actually, the blue noodle represent the star trail and the broccoli represent the trees.This idea was inspired when I saw this photos after processed.

Equipment: Xiaomi MI 10T, tripod.

Camera Settings: ISO 1000, focal length 5mm, aperture f/1.9, exposure 30s (total exposure time 75min),150 photos stacked.

Post Processing: Sequator and Snapseed.

Title: Rho Ophiuchi and Its Neighbouring Nebulae

Photographer: Koo Chek Joo

Date & Location:  20 August 2022, Tinakat, Tawau, Sabah.

Description: Rho Ophiuchi is a colourful region of the universe that contains a number of stunning, enormous clouds of colourful cosmic dust and gas, as well as several nebulae.

Equipment: Nikon D5300, 35mm lens, Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer, Tripod.

Camera Settings: f/2, ISO 1250, 33mins 45seconds (45 x 45 seconds).

Post Processing: Stacked with Starry Sky Stacker. Brightness, contrast, curve, saturation adjustments in Adobe Photoshop 2022.

Title: First Quarter Moon

Photographer: Teoh Zheng Yang

Date & Location:  10 March 2022, Air Itam, Penang.

Description: In the lunar cycle, the first quarter moon phase occurs halfway between the new moon and the full moon. One side of the moon is illuminated, and the other half is shadowed.

Equipment: Sky-Watcher 150/750, Samsung A7.

Camera Settings: f/1.7, 1/33s, 3.93mm, ISO 100.

Post Processing: Photoshop.

Title: Moon

Photographer: Tan Wen Xuen

Date & Location:  16 August 2022, Seremban 2, Negeri Sembilan.

Description: Moon, the brightest object in our night sky.

Equipment: Powerseeker 80EQ, Samsung A30.

Camera Settings: 1/222s, 3.93mm, ISO 200.

Post Processing: Snapseed.

Title: Nebula Pancaran: Trifid dan Lagoon

Photographer: Anis Maisarah Binti Yassir Azlin

Date & Location:  16 August 2022, Balai Cerap Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

Description: Perspektif: Dua nebula (Trifid dan Lagoon) kelihatan bersebelahan walaupun sebenarnya mempunyai perbezaan jarak dalam 1000 tahun cahaya jika dikira daripada bumi.

Equipment: Celestron 11″ RASA f/2.2 telescope and Canon EOS-R camera.

Camera Settings: ISO 1600, exposure = 60 sec, 30 frames.

Post Processing: DeepSkyStacker and Adobe Photoshop.

Title: NGC 6995, NGC 6960

Photographer: Lee Boon Ton

Date & Location:  5 September 2022, Kuala Lumpur.

Description: The Veil Nebula Eastern and Western.

Equipment: William Optics Z73 telescope, iOptron CEM26 mount, ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera, ZWO ASIAIR Plus controller, Optolong L-eXtreme filter.

Camera Settings: 18 frame x 300s, Gain = 0.

Post Processing: PixInsight.

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