August 1 - 7, 2021: Issue 504


The 2021 CWAS AstroFest

"The David Malin Awards"

Astronomy 2022 Calendar by Astrovisuals

The Astronomy 2022 Calendar features the winners of the CWAS "David Malin Awards". Order here.

In July 2021, 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 COVID-19 restrictions, a special online presentation was held on Saturday, 24 July 2021, to announce the winning images.

This year's competition had seven categories:

  • Deep Sky
  • Wide-Field
  • Nightscapes
  • Solar System
  • Animated Sequences:
  • Scientific
  • Aesthetic
  • Junior (18 years old and younger)

This year saw a change in the judging structure. In order to build on the experience of previous years, and to continue as the premier competition of its kind in Australia, a panel of three distinguished Australian astrophotographers judged the category entries. Dr David Malin then judged the Overall Winner from the list of these winners, as the best in show. We were honoured that the judging panel including Peter Ward, Phil Hart, and Alex Cherney, all previous winners of the "David Malin Awards", and numerous other national and international astrophotography competitions.

The winners of the "David Malin Awards" were announced on Saturday, 24 July 2021, 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. Celestron Australia supported the competition with Online Gift 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.

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

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

The Competition - Category Winners

Winner: Marley Butler


OVERALL WINNER "Between a Rock and Outer Space"

© Marley Butler

Citation: "This is a lovely montage. What makes it work is the overall colour balance, the evident but not dominant rocky foreground and the softened, time-exposed sea. The stars are pin-sharp, and the Milky Way embraces the whole thing, including the zodiacal light. Beautiful!"

Winner: Ian Inverarity


"Rhi Ophiuchi Rideds the Blue Horsehead"

© Ian Inverarity

Citation: "This is one of the most colourful regions in the night sky and this unusual presentation impressed all three judges with excellent framing, good technical handling colour and dynamic range. It was the standout image of the section."

Winner: Paul Montague

Deep Sky

"The Trifid Nebula"

© Paul Montague

Citation: "This intrinsically beautiful nebula is a difficult subject to get right, given the wide dynamic range, colourful reflection regions and dust absorption lanes. This image shows excellent technical execution, as well as an engaging image scale."

Winner: Andy Casely

Solar System

"A Rippling Outbreak on Jupiter"

© Andy Casely

Citation: "These are lovely images with subtle colours and excellent detail. Happily, they also capture a new transient feature in the planet's northern hemisphere as well as another interesting event in the southern hemisphere. Jupiter's moons are a bonus."

Winner: Mitch Payne

Animation - Aesthetic


© Mitch Payne

Lunar Eclipse shot from Lake Gairdner South Australia.

Citation: "This is a gentle piece of work, with a well-chosen soundtrack and nicely edited footage. A combination of telescopic focal lengths and wide-angle sequences provides multiple views of the 2021 total lunar eclipse in a finely crafted narrative."

Winner: Kelvin Hennessy

Animation - Scientific

"Studies of Satellite Transits"

© Kelvin Hennessy

Citation: "This sequence of satellite and ISS transits required meticulous planning to successfully capture these fleeting events. It's very difficult to make them look pretty, but the number and variety of sequences makes them interesting and engaging."

The Photo Editor's Choice

Winner: Ian Inverarity


"Sheltering from the Starlight"

© Ian Inverarity

Photo Editor's Choice - judged by Jeff Darmanin (Head of Vision & Picture Editor, The Sunday Telegraph)

Citation: "What a wonderful balance between the night sky & such an iconic and majestic tree in a unique Australian outback landscape. The balance created with the human lighting up the detail of the age in the trunk and outer branches helps create an extra dimension to the image while also giving scale to the overall scene. A cracking picture."

The Competition - Honorable Mentions

Solar System 

  • "Mars 2020: Perseverence" - © Andy Casely
  • "Rugged Moon" -  Stefan Buda
  • "Transits" - Paul Haese
  • "Mars - Olympus Mons Dominating" - Niall MacNeill

  • Highly Commended - "Jupiter Symmetry" by Niall MacNeill
  • Highly Commended - "ISS Transit" by Kelvin Hennessy
  • Highly Commended - "A Ringed Jewel of the Solar System" by Niall MacNeill


  • "Startrails in the City" - Jan Breckwoldt
  • "Beautiful Universe" - Ari Rex
  • "Stars over the Cathedral" - Alex van Harmelen
  • "Pendergast Hut Display" - Alex van Harmelen

  • Highly Commended - "Barrenjoey Startrails" by Jan Breckwoldt
  • Highly Commended - "Sky Life (Sydney Central Park)" by Ed Hurst
  • Highly Commended - "Flinders Dawn" by Will Godward
  • Highly Commended - "Keeper of the Light" by Gillian Fry
  • Highly Commended - "Canberra" by Ari Rex

Highly Commended - "Barrenjoey Startrails" © Jan Breckwoldt


  • "Witches Head to Cone Nebula" - Kelvin Hennessy
  • "Cesjacks Hut" - Garry McDougall

Highly Commended - "Treasures of Sagittarius" by Peter Patonai

Deep Sky

  • "Bejewelled Oasis (NGC 134)" - Marcus Davies
  • "Nebula in Corona Australis" - Rodney Watters
  • "NGC 1532 - Galaxy Distortion Action" - Niall MacNeill
  • "Thors Helmet" - Paul Montague
  • "Running Chicken IC2944" - David Moulton

  • Highly Commended - "Yoda's Secret Stash" by Dylan O'Donnell
  • Highly Commended - "Centaurus A" by Terry Robison
  • Highly Commended - "Blue Chill Nebula - Vela SNR" by Andy Campbell


© Zachery Thexeira

"Into Shadow: Faces of the Eclipse" - Zachery Thexeira

Plus Photo Editor's Pick

Animated Sequences: Aesthetic

  • "Welcome Home" - David Magro

  • Highly Commended - Aurora Borealis Dancing at Hamnoy" by Gillian Fry
  • Highly Commended - "Rose Moonlight" by Kelvin Hennessy

Animated Sequences: Scientific

  • Highly Commended - "Total Lunar Eclipse Timelapse" by Will Godward

Welcome Home

During 2020 I travelled across NSW almost every night conditions were good to capture the Milky Way. I visited locations such as the Snowy Mountains, Central Coast, South Coast, Mungo Mungo, Lake Menindee, Narrabri, Hat Head and the NSW Central West among many....