The Astrophotography Contest Year 2023 was successfully organized by Astronomical Society of Penang, sponsored by Optical Universe Scientific Instrument, Perseid Telescope & Binocular and Canon Malaysia. 

This year, we received a total of 98 submissions from 32 participants, of which 88 entries are shortlisted for judging.
Thirteen best images will be decided by a panel of three judges for the First Prize, Second Prize, Third Prize, and ten Consolation Prizes, and will be featured in the desk calendar of the year 2024 published by the Astronomical Society of Penang.
Results were announced on Wednesday 15 November 2023, at 8:00 p.m. on our YouTube channel. You may also find the other participating photos on our Facebook Page.

Check out all the winners photos below!

First Prize

Title: M45 – The Pleiades

Photographer: Alfred Terrence

Date & Location: 15 February 2023, Bandar Putra, Kulai, Johor.

Description: M44, The Pleiades is an asterism and an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars in the north-west of the constellation Taurus.

Equipment: William Optics GT-71 f/4.3 Triplet APO @ 336mm, Optolong L-CCD Filter.

Camera Settings: ZWO ASI2600MC Pro, 133 x 120s Lights, 30 x Dark/Dark Flat/Flat Frames.

Post Processing: PixInsight & Photoshop.

Second Prize

Title: The Jellyfish Nebula

Photographer: Amri Karim

Date & Location:  16 March 2023, Subang, Selangor.

Description: Photographed across 30 nights, with total of 27.3 hours exposure, the Jellyfish Nebula is a galactic supernova remnant, believed to occur about 30000 years ago. It is located in the constellation Gemini, about 5,000 light-years away from Earth.

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

Camera Settings: 0°C, Gain 100.

Post Processing: PixInsight, Photoshop.

Third Prize

Title: η Carinae

Photographer: Ngan Joon Ren

Date & Location:  15 March 2023, Kota Kemuning, Selangor.

Description: The Carina Nebula is a large region of bright dust clouds and nebulosity located in the southern hemisphere. At its centre lies the giant star Eta Carina within a region of dust (in teal) surrounding it named the Keyhole Nebula. Branching out 1 o’clock off the centre is the Gabriela Mistral Nebula named due to its resemblance to the Chilean poet. Going further out in the same direction lies a compact star cluster surrounded in nebulosity known as the Gem Cluster. Several other smaller star clusters (Trumplers 14-16) are also visible throughout the image. This is a two-panel mosaic, consisting of around 12 hours each.

Equipment: Askar FRA400, Sky-Watcher EQ6R, ZWO ASI2600MC Pro, ASI120MM Mini, ASIAIR Plus and OAG-L, Optolong L-Extreme.

Camera Settings: 501 x 180s @ 0 Gain (-5°C).

Post Processing: Stacked (with darks/flats/bias) and processed via PixInsight.

Ten Consolation Prizes

Title: Sculptor Galaxy

Photographer: Muhammed Hadli bin Abdul Rahim

Date & Location:  23 August 2023, Muar, Johor.

Description: Even the name of this galaxy is derived only from the constellation name it resides in, the beautiful and complexity of uniform dust lanes and patterns truly deserve what it is called upon.

Equipment: SCT @1281mm focal length, EQ6R mount, ASI294MM camera, ASI220mm cam for OAG, filter wheel, RGB filters, ASIAIR controller.

Camera Settings: BIN-1 mode, Gain 150, Temp 5°C.

Post Processing: PixInsight, Gimp.

Title: NGC 6188 – The Fighting Dragons

Photographer: Ravinder Krishnan

Date & Location:  13 June 2023, Ipoh, Perak.

Description: The Fighting Dragons of Ara (NGC 6188), is an emission nebula which lies in the southern Milky Way. Bright blue giants at the heart of the nebula is energizing the nebula to emit in the H-alpha and Oxygen-3 regions of the spectrum. These blue giants are part of the open cluster NGC 6193. Located ~4,000 light years from earth. To the bottom of the dragons is the “dragons egg”, NGC 6164-5, formed by a massive O type star surrounded by a blue halo. It is believed that the outer layers of this massive star was blown out during the early stages of star formation.

Equipment: Sharpstar EDPH61 II Telescope, 0.80x reducer,  Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro mount, ASI2600MC Pro camera, SvBony SV220 Dual Band filter.

Camera Settings: Gain 100, Cooling 0°C, 175 x 120sec (5 hours 50 minutes integration).

Post Processing: PixInsight.

Title: The Blue Horsehead & Rho Ophiuchi

Photographer: Md Zaki Kosrin

Date & Location:  29 March 2023, Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor.

Description: Do you see the blue horse’s head? This is not the famous Horsehead nebula in the Orion but fainter nebula that lies just nearby the colorful Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex. This nebula takes longer exposure to show its form. The nebula reflecting light from the star Nu Scorpii located at the eye of the horse.

Equipment: ZWO AM5, ZWO 2600MC, Canon EF 135mm F2 L.

Camera Settings: Gain 100, -5°C, 96 x 180s.

Post Processing: PixInsight, Photoshop, Lightroom.

Title: M31 Andromeda Galaxy 

Photographer: Tay Hwee Nen

Date & Location:  12 August 2023, Mersing, Johor.

Description: M31 Andromeda galaxy + meteor  仙女座星系 + 流星

Equipment: Nikon D810a, Sky Rover 90 APO Pro, Optolong L-Pro, DIY Harmonic Tracker, ZWO ASIAIR.

Camera Settings: ISO 1600, 180s x 20, dark x 10, flat x 8.

Post Processing: DeepSkyStacker, PixInsight, LRCC.

Title: 2% New Moon Set Down Horizon

Photographer: Loh Chee Kean

Date & Location:  21 April 2023, Quobba Blow Holes, Western Australia.

Description: A 2% illuminated new Moon just after Total Solar Eclipse sets down into horizon of the Indian Ocean as seen from the Quobba Blow Holes in Western Australia.

Equipment: AstroTech AT65QED f/6.5, Sony A7III modified, Sky-Watcher SA GTi.

Camera Settings: 1/30s at ISO 800.

Post Processing: Image adjustment in Photoshop, white balance, noise reduction, tone, presence, cropped in Lightroom.

Title: Stars’ Festival

Photographer: Tang Pei He

Date & Location:  21 October 2023, Yamanashi, Japan.

Description: There are Milky Way, Meteor (Meteor Shower), Pleiades, Orion, Taurus and Mount Fuji in this picture. It is just like a festival of stars and there is a couple enjoy watching this “festival”. Lots of elements in just a picture. Sharing this “festival” to all of you.

Equipment: Canon EOS 80D, Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM.

Camera Settings: 12mm, f/3.5, 15s, ISO 6400.

Post Processing: Photoshop, Lightroom, Sequator.

Title: Witch Head Nebula

Photographer: Lee Boon Ton

Date & Location:  22 January 2023, Kuala Kedah, Kedah.

Description: IC2118 is an interstellar cloud of fine dust grains, about 900 light-year from Earth.

Equipment:  iOptron CEM26 mount, William Optics Z73, 0.8x Flat73R telescope, Optolong L-Pro filter, ZWO 294MC Pro camera and Asiair Plus.

Camera Settings: Gain 0, Temperature 0, 300s x 30.

Post Processing: Pixlnsight, Photoshop, Bxt, Nxt.

Title: Giant Sunspots AR3315

Photographer: Tee Ching Hong

Date & Location:  27 May 2023, Kota Damansara, Selangor.

Description: These giant sunspots AR3315 grew suddenly into massive size and they could be observed without magnification!

Equipment: Sky-Watcher Evoguide 50ED, ZWO ASI585MC, Altair 540/8nm filter, 2x Barlow.

Camera Settings: Exposure 30ms, gain 220.

Post Processing: 2850 frames, 10% stacked. Software: ASICAP, PIPP, Registax, AutoStakkert, Photoshop.

Title: The Horsehead Nebula

Photographer: Tommy Lim Kang Wen

Date & Location:  15 October 2023, Mersing, Johor.

Description: The Horsehead Nebula (also known as Barnard 33) is a small dark nebula in the constellation Orion.

Equipment: QHY168C camera, Sky-Watcher 150PDS F/5 Newtonian telescope, Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ5GT mount, Optolong L-eXtreme Filter.

Camera Settings: 15 x 240sec, Gain 10, Offset 50.

Post Processing: PixInsight + Serif Affinity Photo 2.

Title: Firefly in Starry Night

Photographer: Chin Kim Loong

Date & Location:  25 March 2023, Sungai Koyan, Pahang.

Description: Pictures taken during my trip to Sg Koyan, was a good weather as a gift to me for capturing this beautiful moment. This place used to be very good for stargazing.

Equipment: [Sky] Canon 6D astromodded [Ground] Sony a7R IV

Camera Settings: [Sky] 13x120s, f2.8, ISO 3200 15mm [Ground] 2x180s, f4, 16mm

Post Processing: Sequator, PSCC, Starnet++.