The 2020 CWAS AstroFest

"The David Malin Awards"



In July 2020, the Central West Astronomical Society held its annual astrophotography competition. Amateur astronomers and photographers from around Australia were invited to take part in the competition and to submit their astrophotographs for consideration in the prestigious "David Malin Awards". Due to the unique COVID-19 restrictions in place throughout this period, a special online presentation was held on Saturday, 18 July 2020, to announce the winning images.

This year's competition had eight categories:

  • Deep Sky
  • Wide-Field
  • Nightscapes
  • Solar System
  • Animated Sequences:
    • Scientific
    • Aesthetic
  • Themed Section - "Astrophotography with your Smartphone"
  • 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 of the "David Malin Awards" were announced on Saturday, 18 July 2020, during a special online, Zoom presentation attended by the competition entrants, and the members of the Central West Astronomical Society.

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.

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.

After the COVID-19 restrictions are eased further, this year's permanent exhibition will be on show at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitor's Centre for one year from September. A second touring exhibition, organised by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, will travel to selected venues, beginning with Sydney Observatory.

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



© Mark Polsen
Winner: Mark Polsen
Nightscapes

OVERALL WINNER "Tranquility Base"

Citation: "Mark Polsen's Tranquillity Base has it all, perfect setting, under a beautiful sky with the moon and Venus peeping through the trees. The delicate sky and horizon colours of twilight are mirrored in the water, behind the trees."




© Troy Casswell
Winner: Troy Casswell
Wide-Field

"The Gum Nebula"

Citation: "The Gum Nebula is a very faint and large cloud of glowing gas, extending over 30 degrees across the southern sky. All this makes it extremely difficult to photograph, and Troy Casswell image is the best I have ever seen."




© Jon Ground
Winner: Jon Ground
Deep Sky

"The Dragon Strikes from the Darkness (NGC 6188)"

Citation: "Tenuous and gas and dust disperse in space give this image a mysterious feel, partly because it seems lit from within by a hidden source of light. It is also quite large and faint, so it presents a significant challenge to the astrophotographer."




© Peter Ward
Winner: Peter Ward
Solar System

"Hadley Rille"

Citation: "Among very good crop of images, Peter Ward's Hadley Rille stood out because of its composition, well chosen shading, with a wealth of subtle detail, including buried craters and the the Apollo 15 lunar landing site."




© Alex Cherney
Winner: Alex Cherney
Theme - "Astrophotography with your Smartphone"

"Smartphone Galactic"

Citation: "Not so long ago the idea of taking a photograph of anything with a phone was considered madness. Here we see an image of the Milky Way with pin-sharp stars and delicate colours that would have demanded a professional-grade camera and expensive lenses less a decade ago. It was made with a smartphone, powerful proof of the advance of technology -- and inspiration."





© Blake Iscaro
Winner: Blake Iscaro
Junior

"Canopus Spectra"

Citation: "Blake Iscaro's unusual image of the spread-out spectrum of the bright star Canopus shows the bands of light and dark that reveal the chemical composition of the star and its atmosphere."





© Belinda Wickens
Winner: Belinda Wickens
Animation - Aesthetic

"Koo Wah Hun Na Heyo Inuvik Aurora"

Citation: "The title is a song to honour the local Inuvialuit peoples of the Arctic Circle, while the video captures a beautifully varied aurora in a wild and wonderful setting. The music is well chosen and there's an interesting northern winter sky above. Orion rises over the horizon towards the end, with perfect timing."





© Greg Priestley
Winner: Greg Priestley
Animation - Scientific

"1000 Meteors"

Citation: "An interesting time-lapse with frames selected from 372 nights of imaging, organised by local sidereal time. It runs for 20 seconds and the most obvious features are the 1000 or so meteors, but it also reveals the dramatically varying colour, brightness and seeing conditions over a year."


The Photo Editor's Choice



© Kelvin Hennessy
Winner: Kelvin Hennessy
Solar System
Photo Editor's Choice - judged by Jeff Darmanin

"Q1 Moonrise"

Citation: "A wonderful balance of man made structure and nature at its best. Beautifully composed giving a sense of just how small we are as humans in the scheme of life and the universe."




Click on the images to see the larger versions

The Competition - Honorable Mentions

Theme - "Astrophotography with your Smartphone"



© Alex Cherney
"Misty Valley by Moonlight"
Alex Cherney
also Photo Editor's Pick




Solar System



© Ross Giakoumatos

© Kelvin Hennessy
"Comet SWAN (C/2020)"
Ross Giakoumatos
"Cape Byron Moonrise"
Kelvin Hennessy


© Stephen Moore

© Stefan Buda
"New Moon Setting"
Stephen Moore
"The Rays of Tycho"
Stefan Buda




Nightscapes



© William Vrbasso

© Joel Stafford

© Jan Breckwoldt
"The Breeze of Moonlight"
William Vrbasso
"Calling The Moon"
Joel Stafford
"Star Trails in the Dolomites"
Jan Breckwoldt
Photo Editor's Pick


© Will Godward

© Benjamin Alldridge

© Belinda Wickens
"Yankalilla Bay"
Will Godward
"Hunter"
Benjamin Alldridge
"Endoplasmic Aurora"
Belinda Wickens




Wide-Field



© Ross Giakoumatos

© Troy Casswell

© Kelvin Hennessy
"M8 and M20 in Sagittarius"
Ross Giakoumatos
"Cygnus Nebula Complex"
Troy Casswell
"Southern Celestial Clouds"
Kelvin Hennessy


© Kelvin Hennessy

© Stephen Moore
"Rho Ophiuchi and the Blue Horsehead"
Kelvin Hennessy
"New Moon Setting"
Stephen Moore
Photo Editor's Pick




Deep Sky



© William Vrbasso

© Paul Haese

© Paul Haese
"The Angel of the Pleiades"
William Vrbasso
"Cannibal (NGC 1316-17)"
Paul Haese
"The Usual Suspect (Carina Nebula)"
Paul Haese


© Ross Giakoumatos

© Eddie Trimarchi

© Diego Colonnello
"Andromeda-M31 from Coonabarabran"
Ross Giakoumatos
"The Vela Bubble"
Eddie Trimarchi
"Must Have Tarantula"
Diego Colonnello
Photo Editor's Pick




Junior


© Luke Dodd

© Ella Harbidge
"The Heart of Home"
Luke Dodd
"Always Look Up"
Ella Harbidge
HC & Photo Editor's Pick




Animated Sequences: Aesthetic


© Ben Swanson

© Greg Priestley
"Into The Night"
Ben Swanson
"Dancing Clouds"
Greg Priestley

© Kelvin Hennessy
"Cape Byron Silhouettes"
Kelvin Hennessy




Animated Sequences: Scientific


© Greg Priestley
"Spacecraft"
Greg Priestley




The Special Online Presentation - 18 July 2020

Owing to the unique COVID-19 situation and the associated social distancing measures in place, the presentation of the 2020 CWAS "David Malin Awards" was held during a special online Zoom presentation, on Saturday, 18 July 2020. It was attended by the competition entrants, and the members of the Central West Astronomical Society.



© John Sarkissian

© John Sarkissian

The smiling participants in the special online presentation.


John Sarkissian's introduction to the presentations

The competition represented entrants from every State and Territory of Australia (NSW, Qld, Vic, SA, WA, Tas and ACT).

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 will be on show at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitors Centre, and will be officially opened later in the year, when the COVID-19 restictions have been further eased and it is safe to travel and congregate again. It 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. Last year's exhibitions were a resounding success, with over 200,000 people viewing the exhibitions Australia-wide. As such, it is the largest photographic exhibition in Australia, in terms of its reach and the number of visitations.




Dr David Malin's presentation and announcement of the winning images



Remarks by Mark Polsen - Overall Winner of the 2020 CWAS "David Malin Awards"




Congratulations to all the winners!

Start preparing your astrophotos for the 2021 CWAS "David Malin Awards" and share with the wider public your enthusiasm for the grandeur and beauty of astronomy.

The 2020 CWAS "David Malin Awards" was proudly supported by



Comments and Enquiries: John Sarkissian of the AstroFest Organising Committee