2005 CWAS Astrophotography Exhibition and Competition
The 2005 CWAS Astrophotography Exhibition and Competition

"The David Malin Awards"

In July 2005, the Central West Astronomical Society's astrophotography exhibition and competition was held once again as part of the CWAS AstroFest. 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". The exhibited photographs represent the very best of those received.

This year's competition has three categories of entry: Wide-field (camera shots), Deep Sky (telescope shots) and Solar System objects. The photographs were judged in two sections, one for amateurs and one for semi-professionals.

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" at a special Civic Reception held in the Parkes Council Chambers in the presence of invited dignitaries, during the CWAS AstroFest on 16 July 2005.

The judged photographs were exhibited for the entire month of July in the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitors Centre. Following this, the exhibition will tour the country to selected venues beginning with Sydney Observatory in August and Mt. Stromlo Observatory, Canberra in November. This year, the exhibition was viewed by over 12,500 people at the Parkes Observatory. These images will also feature in "Australian Sky and Telescope" and "Sky and Space" magazines.

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.

The 2005 Exhibition at the CSIRO's Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre

The Competition

Winner: Eddie Trimarchi
Semi-Professional: Deep Sky

OVERALL WINNER "NGC 2070 - Emission Nebula in Dorado"

Citation: "A fine, long-exposure image of a spectacular southern-sky object made with a small telescope. It reveals excellent astronomical technique and mastery of the complex business of manipulating and combining digital images so they look perfectly natural."

Details: Intes 15cm f/6 Maksutov-Newtonian telescope; SBIG ST10XE CCD camera with scientific LRGB and Schuler 10nm Ha filters; Ha, R, G, B = 190, 40, 40, 40min exposures.

Photo Copyright: Eddie Trimarchi

Winner: Peter Ward
Semi-Professional: Wide Field

"Edge on Spiral"

Citation: "A short exposure with a fish-eye lens captures the maximum possible extent of the Milky Way as seen from the southern hemisphere. The picture shows clearly that the Milky Way is a galaxy and emphasises the power and quality of digital imaging in skilled hands."

Details: SBIG STL11000 CCD camera; Sigma 8mm f/4 180 fish-eye lens; 10min exposure.

Photo Copyright: Peter Ward

Winner: David Finlay
Semi-Professional: Solar System

"Sydney Harbour Bridge Transit (of Venus)"

Citation: "A fine image in any context, though not technically perfect. A bit of planning and some luck visually links the motivation for Cook's voyage with the location of Sydney's first observatory (now under the southern pier of the Harbour Bridge) in a stunning composition."

Details: Canon 10D camera; 35-350mm lens at 350mm, f/5.6; Thousand Oaks solar filter; ISO 400 film, 1/100sec exposure.

Photo Copyright: David Finlay

Winner: Michael Sidonio
Amateur: Deep Sky

"M20 The Triffid Nebula and M21 Open Cluster"

Citation: "A well-known object expertly imaged with modest optical equipment. The digital processing is well handled and the image is interestingly oriented and cropped to include the rich surrounding star field."

Details: 80mm APO refractor telescope; Starlight Express SXV-H9 CCD camera and True Tech filter wheel; L Ha R G B = 65, 40, 20, 20, 20min exposures.

Photo Copyright: Michael Sidonio

Winner: Russell Cockman
Amateur: Wide Field

"Aurora Borealis Angel"

Citation: "A bit of planning and some luck with a particularly beautiful auroral display makes a strong and inspirational image."

Details: Minolta SRT101 with 16mm lens at f/2.8; Fuji Provia 400 slide film, 10sec exposure; imaged near Doune, Scotland.

Photo Copyright: Russell Cockman

Winner: Maurice Valimberti
Amateur: Solar System

"Mars in 2003"

Citation: "Mars was at its closest in 2003 and was a tempting target for many astrophotographers. This is a fine example of webcam imaging, which involves making a digital movie and then selecting and combining large numbers of the sharpest frames into the final images."

Details: Celestron C14 telescope at f/27; Philips ToUcam webcam; stacked using Registax.

Photo Copyright: Maurice Valimberti

The Presentations

The winners were presented with the awards by David Malin himself, at a special civic reception held in the Parkes Council Chambers in the presence of invited dignitaries, during the CWAS AstroFest on July 16, 2005. The dignitaries included the Mayor of Parkes, Robert Wilson OAM; Dr Matthew Colless, Director of the AAO; Dr John Reynolds, Officer-in-Charge of the CSIRO's Parkes Observatory; and Professor John Storey of the University of New South Wales. The Hon. John Cobb, MP (Member for Parkes and Federal Minister) and the Hon. Dawn Fardell, MP (State Member for Dubbo) also were present to congratulate the winners.

The winners in each of the categories came from across Australia (Qld, NSW, ACT and Vic.). They were: Eddie Trimarchi, Peter Ward, David Finlay (semi-professional section), and Russell Cockman, Michael Sidonio and Maurice Valimberti (amateur section).

The standard of entries was so high that David Malin also awarded several honorable mentions to Steven Quirk, Rod Somerville, Tony Hitchcock, Ralf Stoeckeler and Steven Lee. Congratulations to them all.

The overall winner of the 2005 CWAS AstroFest David Malin Awards was Eddie Trimarchi for his splendid photograph of the Tarantula Nebula (NGC 2070).

The quality of the images was of an incredibly high standard and a testament to the great skill and talent of Australian astrophotographers. This year's competition saw three times the number of entries as last year.

All of the entries submitted and received were exhibited at the Parkes Observatory over the Astrofest weekend, ensuring that every photograph had a showing.

A core group of the very finest images has been selected to tour the country in exhibition form to various venues, beginning with Sydney Observatory in August and followed by Mt Stromlo Observatory, Canberra, in November. Last year's exhibition was a resounding success, attracting over 14,000 people. Many more are expected to view this year's exhibition.

Next year, we hope to tour the exhibition even further afield to many more venues in other states.

The Mayor of Parkes Shire, Robert Wilson, OAM, welcomed the assembled guests to the "David Malin Awards".

All of the "David Malin Awards" winners with the guests of honour.

(L-R): Tony Hitchcock, Michael Sidonio, Russell Cockman, Peter Ward, David Malin, Rodney Somerville, Eddie Trimarchi, Ralf Stoeckeler, David Finlay, Dawn Fardell MP (State Member for Dubbo) Steven Quirk, John Cobb MP (Federal Member for Parkes) and Robert Wilson OAM (Parkes Shire Mayor). Not present were Steven Lee and Maurice Valimberti.

The category award winners with David Malin.

(L-R): David Finlay, Peter Ward, David Malin, Eddie Trimarchi (with the Perpetual Trophy), Russell Cockman and Michael Sidonio. Not present was Maurice Valimberti.

The Award Winners

David Malin commenting on the award winning astrophotographs (Photo courtesy: Steve Quirk).

Photo NumberPhotographerTitlePrizeSection:Category
# 1Steven Lee"Corona Australis Region (NGC 6726)"Honorable MentionSemi-Professional: Deep Sky
# 2Peter Ward"Keyhole Nebula"Honorable MentionSemi-Professional: Deep Sky
# 3Peter Ward"Hydrogen-Alpha Light"Honorable MentionSemi-Professional: Deep Sky
# 4Peter Ward"Omega Centauri"Honorable MentionSemi-Professional: Deep Sky
# 5Peter Ward"Silver Moon"Honorable MentionSemi-Professional: Solar System
# 6Michael Sidonio"M20 The Trifid Nebula and M21 Open Cluster"WinnerAmateur: Deep Sky
# 7Eddie Trimarchi"NGC 2070 - Emission Nebula in Dorado"OVERALL WINNERSemi-Professional: Deep Sky
# 8Eddie Trimarchi"The Keyhole Nebula"Honorable MentionSemi-Professional: Deep Sky
# 9Maurice Valimberti"Mars in 2003"WinnerAmateur: Solar System
# 10Tony Hitchcock"The Great Nebula in Orion - Messier 42"Honorable MentionAmateur: Deep Sky
# 11Michael Sidonio"The Lagoon Nebula"Honorable MentionAmateur: Deep Sky
# 12Steven Quirk"Proxima Centauri Proper Motion Sequence"Honorable MentionAmateur: Deep Sky
# 13Ralf Stoeckeler"Transit of Venus - 8th June 2004"Honorable MentionAmateur: Solar System
# 14Russell Cockman"Aurora Borealis Angel"WinnerAmateur: Wide Field
# 15Peter Ward"Edge on Spiral"WinnerSemi-Professional: Wide Field
# 16David Finlay"Sydney Harbour Bridge Transit (of Venus)"WinnerSemi-Professional: Solar System
# 17Steven Lee"Crescent Moon and Venus from Mudgee Observatory"Honorable MentionSemi-Professional: Wide Field
# 18Eddie Trimarchi"Ha Milky Way"Honorable MentionSemi-Professional: Wide Field
# 19Rodney Somerville"The Emu in the Milky Way"Honorable MentionAmateur: Wide Field
# 20Rodney Somerville"The Teapot and the Milky Way Centre"Honorable MentionAmateur: Wide Field
# 21Russell Cockman"Noctilucent Clouds"Honorable MentionAmateur: Wide Field

The winners receiving their awards

Russell CockmanPeter WardDavid Finlay

Michael SidonioEddie TrimarchiSteven Quirk

Tony HitchcockRalf StoeckelerRodney Somerville

Eddie Trimarchi Receiving the Perpetual Trophy as the OVERALL WINNER

In addition, Eddie received the grand prize of a Canon i9950 Bubble Jet Printer (RRP $999).

Congratulations to all the winners!

So, start preparing your astrophotos for the 2006 David Malin Awards, and share with the wider public your enthusiasm for the grandeur and beauty of astronomy.

The 2005 CWAS Astrophotography Exhibition and Competition was proudly supported by CSIRO's Australlia Telescope National Facility and Canon Australia

NOTE: All images unless otherwise stated are copyright to John Sarkissian.

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