The 2019 CWAS AstroFest

"The David Malin Awards"

In July 2019, the Central West Astronomical Society's astrophotography competition was held as part of the CWAS AstroFest, held this year in conjunction with the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Open Days. Amateur astronomers and photographers from around Australia were invited to take part in the exhibition and to submit their astrophotographs for consideration in the prestigious "David Malin Awards".

This year's competition had eight categories:

  • Deep Sky
  • Wide-Field
  • Nightscapes
  • Solar System
  • Animated Sequences:
    • Scientific
    • Aesthetic
  • Themed Section - "Memories of Apollo"
  • Junior (18 years old and younger)

The photographs were judged by world-renowned astrophotographer, Dr David Malin, without David being aware of the identity of the photographers. The winners were presented with the "David Malin Awards" in the presence of invited dignitaries, during the CWAS AstroFest on 19 July 2019. The dignitaries included Cr Ken Keith (Mayor of Parkes Shire Council), Mr Lucas Townsend (Advocacy and Partnership Manager, Canon Australia), and actor Mr Roy Billing (who played the role of Parkes Mayor in the film, The DISH).

It was not just technical skill that was awarded. The prizes went to pictures that captured the beauty of the sky and the intrinsic interest of astronomy in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Canon Australia supported the competition with Estore Voucher prizes to the value of $10,000.

Mr Jeff Darmanin, a News Corp. Picture Editor, judged the "Photo Editor's Choice" awards and gave his pick from each category. His overall winner was awarded the Photo Editor's Choice Award.

Last year's exhibitions were a resounding success. The two parallel exhibitions were viewed by over 200,000 people Australia-wide.

This year's permanent exhibition will be on show at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitor's Centre for one year from 19 July 2019. A second touring exhibition, organised by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, will travel to selected venues, beginning with Sydney Observatory on 5 September 2019.

To have received any one of these awards is a great honour. Congratulations!

Click on the images to see the larger versions

The Competition - Category Winners

For the first time in the competition's history, there were JOINT OVERALL WINNERS

© Phil Hart
Winner: Phil Hart


Citation: "A beautifully made series of sequences of the 2018 USA solar eclipse, set to suitably mysterious music. This is by far the finest video we have had submitted in the history of this competition, and the processing and presentation completely embraces both aesthetic and scientific realms with aplomb."

© Peter Ward
Winner: Peter Ward
Deep Sky


Citation: "This is a vivid and astonishing rendition of the well-known Orion nebula. While it's the vivid red of the ionized hydrogen that catches the eye, the picture also reveals the subtle texture and shading of the dusty regions around and within it. This is one of the finest images of this object that I have ever seen."

© Eddie Trimarchi
Winner: Eddie Trimarchi
Solar System

"Colourful Apennines"

Citation: "Here we see the area around the Moon's Apennines mountain range, derived from a time-lapse movie and with the natural colours considerably exaggerated. This reveals something of the chemical composition of the moon's cratered surface and emphasizes the broad curve of the mountain range that further enhances the aesthetics of the image."

© Troy Casswell
Winner: Troy Casswell

"The Scorpion's Tail"

Citation: "A very well composed image of a little-photographed part of the southern Milky Way, which includes the pointy end of the Scorpion's tail. The colours of the brighter stars are beautifully rendered, as is the faint, dusty nebulosity associated with the young clusters NGC 6231 and IC 4628."

© Neil Creek
Winner: Neil Creek
Theme - "Memories of Apollo"

"Lunar Generations"

Citation: "It is the simplicity and sincerity in this image that shines out, appearing to pass the message of Apollo 11 from the generation that went to the Moon to a representative of a generation that may yet return there. This is both beautifully lit and perfectly composed."

© Austin Turpin
Winner: Austin Turpin

"How small it makes me feel" - Photo Editor's Pick

Citation: "This striking image is a selfie, created at the end of a cloudy night, by a young man with some imagination. His lightbeam makes for a simple but excellent V-shaped composition that catches the eye."

© Steven Morris
Winner: Steven Morris

"Reach Out"

Citation: "The stark shapes of dead trees dominate this very wide-angle photograph as they reach towards the Milky Way, which extends deep into the northern sky. The horizon is mostly hidden in light cloud that masks street lights in the distance and scatters the light of a planet in the middle of the frame. The scene is further lit by red airglow, adding to the drama."

The Photo Editor's Choice

© Luke Tscharke
Winner: Luke Tscharke
Photo Editor's Choice - judged by Jeff Darmanin

"Moonbow Magic"

Citation: "An amazing and unique image with a wonderful human reference point. So hard to get that combination of astro and human."

Click on the images to see the larger versions

The Competition - Honorable Mentions

Theme - "Memories of Apollo"

© Peter Patonai

© Matthew Hudson
"Earth, Moon and Mars"
Peter Patonai
"Moonrise over Nobby's"
Matthew Hudson
Photo Editor's Pick

© Stephen Mudge

© Matthew Hudson

© Matthew Hudson
"Tribute to Apollo 11"
Stephen Mudge
"Supermoon behind Opera House"
Matthew Hudson
"Moon over Nobby's lighhouse"
Matthew Hudson

Solar System

© Trent McDougall

© Phil Hart

© Eddie Trimarchi
"Touch the Sky"
Trent McDougall
Phil Hart
"Colourful Waning Gibbous Moon"
Eddie Trimarchi
Photo Editor's Pick


© Jarrod Koh

© Phil Hart
"Odin's Eye"
Jarrod Koh
"Itsi Mountains Aurora"
Phil Hart

© Alex van Harmelen

© Benjamin Alldridge

© Jan Breckwoldt
"Svalbard Illumination"
Alex van Harmelen
"Galactic Ghost"
Benjamin Alldridge
"Moonrise in the Snowy Mountains"
Jan Breckwoldt


© Ross Giakoumatos

© Troy Casswell
"The Witch Head Nebula in Eridanus"
Ross Giakoumatos
"Magellanic Cloud Structures"
Troy Casswell

© Troy Casswell
"Jupiter Rides the Scorpion"
Troy Casswell

© Peter Ward
"Argo Navis"
Peter Ward

Deep Sky

© Peter Rejto

© Matthew Hudson

© Andrew Campbell
"Eta Carina Nebula (3372)"
Peter Rejto
"Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex"
Matthew Hudson
"Thor's Helmet"
Andrew Campbell

© William Vrbasso

© Andrew Campbell
"The Jewels in Orion's Sword"
William Vrbasso
"The Amazing Sombrero Galaxy"
Andrew Campbell


Animated Sequences: Aesthetic

    Highly Commended - "Blood Moon" by Mitch Payne
    Highly Commended -"Interstellar Impact" by Russell Wiltshire

Animated Sequences: Scientific

    Highly Commended - "Lunar Eclipse Animation - 31 Jan 2018" by Colin Legg

The Presentation Ceremony - 19 July 2019

The 2019 CWAS AstroFest was held in conjunction with CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Open Days, over the weekend of 20-21 July 2019. On Friday evening, 19 July, the festivities were kicked off with a Reception in the Dish Cafe.

© Tricia Trim

© John Sarkissian

L: The Reception in the Dish Cafe. R: The two Mayors - Roy Billing (The DISH Mayor) and Cr Ken Keith (Parkes Mayor).

The Presentation of the 2019 CWAS "David Malin Awards" was held in the main theatre of the Observatory's Visitor's Centre. The winners were presented with the awards by Dr David Malin himself, in the presence of invited dignitaries which included Cr Ken Keith (Mayor of Parkes), Mr Lucas Townsend (Advocacy and Partnership Manager, Canon Australia), actor Mr Roy Billing (who played the Mayor of Parkes in the film, The DISH), and Christine Speers (President of the CWAS).

The award winners represented entries from every State and Territory of Australia (NSW, Qld, Vic, SA, WA, Tas and ACT). Congratulations to them all.

The quality of the images was a testament to the great skill and talent of Australian astrophotographers.

The very finest images will be exhibited in two parallel exhibitions. The first is at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitors Centre, and was officially opened that same evening on Friday, 19 July 2019. This will remain at Parkes for the entire year. The second exhibition is being organised by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and will tour Australia, beginning with Sydney Observatory on Thursday, 5 September 2019. Last year's exhibitions were a resounding success, with over 200,000 people viewing the exhibitions Australia-wide.

Canon Australia supported the 2019 competition with Estore voucher prizes valued at $10,000. In addition, the exhibition prints are produced using Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 and Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 printers at SUNSTUDIOS.

The Presentations were held in the Main Theatre of the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitors Centre

John Sarkissian introduced Dr David Malin to announce the winners of the 2019 CWAS "David Malin Awards".

© Tricia Trim

© Tricia Trim

The Award Winners


For the first time in the history of the competition, there were two joint overall winners - Phil Hart for his Aesthetic Animation, "The Moon in Motion" and Peter Ward for his Deep Sky image, "Stellar Cauldron".

© John Sarkissian

Joint Overall Winner, Peter Ward, receiving his Galileo Trophy from Dr David Malin.
Absent: Phil Hart was not present owing to an injury to his Achilles tenden.

© John Sarkissian

The category winners with Dr David Malin.
(L-R): Eddie Trimarchi, Neil Creek, Dr David Malin, Peter Ward, Austin Turpin and Luke Tscharke.

Not Present: Phil Hart, Troy Casswell and Steven Morris.

© John Sarkissian

All of the 2019 "David Malin Awards" Winners.
(L-R):Peter Patonai, Trent McDougall, Eddie Trimarchi, Neil Creek, Dr David Malin, Peter Ward, Lucas Townsend, Austin Turpin, Luke Tscharke, Benjamin Alldridge, Stephen Mudge, Ross Giakoumatos.

Present but not shown: Alex van Harmelen, Jan Breckwoldt, Matthew Hudson, Peter Rejto and Andrew Campbell
Not Present: Phil Hart, Troy Casswell, Steven Morris, Jarrod Koh and William Vrbasso.

Canon Australia Prizes

Mr Lucas Townsend (Advocacy and Partnership Manager, Canon Australia), presented Estore voucher prizes to all of the award winners, in recognition by Canon Australia of the excellence that was judged by Dr David Malin in their work.

© Tricia Trim

© Tricia Trim

© John Sarkissian

Official Opening of the Exhibition

Immediately following the presentations, the permanent exhibition was officially opened in the Bowen Room of the Visitors Centre. CWAS President, Christine Speers, welcomed the assembled guests. The Mayor of Parkes, Cr Ken Keith, and Lucas Townsend, representing Canon Australia, spoke glowingly of the competition and exhibition. The prints were produced by SUNSTUDIOS using Canon printers. John Sarkissian thanked the CSIRO and Tricia Trim, and her Visitors Centre staff, for hosting the exhibition. He also thanked Janet Looby of "The Framing Shop", for framing and mounting the prints.

© Laurie Crowley

© John Sarkissian

© John Sarkissian

© John Sarkissian

Astronomy 2020 Calendar by Astrovisuals

The Astronomy 2020 Calendar features the winners of the 2019 CWAS "David Malin Awards". Order here.

The "2020 Australasian Sky Guide" Cover

The winner of the cover competition for the "2020 Australasian Sky Guide", produced by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, was Austin Turpin, the Junior category winner, for his image, "How small it makes me feel".

Congratulations to all the winners!

Start preparing your astrophotos for the 2020 CWAS "David Malin Awards", and share with the wider public your enthusiasm for the grandeur and beauty of astronomy.

The 2019 CWAS "David Malin Awards" was proudly supported by Canon Australia and

Comments and Enquiries: John Sarkissian of the AstroFest Organising Committee