Thursday, February 23, 2017

NGC 2359 - Thor's Helmet

Thor’s Helmet or NGC 2359 is an emission nebula located in the constellation Canis Major.
It is 30 light years across and lies at a distance of 11,960 light years from Earth.  It has some resemblance to the Norse god's helmet and so it is named.  (source: constellation guide).

I was able to shot this over four nights beginning last Thursday when we finally had some clear nights.  Some of which were above freezing.  I had some guiding issues after the mount did the meridian shift on the first two nights for some reason but I was able to get four hours decent exposures.  

Wide Field
darkened for low resolution monitor



Rotate and Crop


Close Up

NGC 2359 - Thor's Helmet
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 2-16-17, 2-18-17, 2-19-17, 2-20-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm
f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR, Astronomik UHC Clip
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 80 -180s (240 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: 3 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools

Monday, February 20, 2017

M67 - The King Cobra Cluster

Messier 67 (a.k.a. M67, NGC 2682 or The King Cobra Cluster) is an open cluster in the constellation of Cancer.  At 3.5 to 5 billion years old there are older open clusters, however, none of which are as close to Earth at 2600 - 2900 light-years (source: wikipedia).

This object is a personal milestone for me as it is the 55th Messier Object I have imaged and leaving 55 more to capture with my rig.  It has taken me almost two years to reach this point although I have only seriously been working on it since last year.  I hope to finish in less time and this may be doable since I now have a permanent pier and astronomy shed.  The only downside is objects that never get above 25 degrees altitude are hidden by trees from my yard.  That leaves 18 Messier Objects I will have image somewhere else.  I don't mind the moving and setting up in a different local so much as I have aligned and set so well on the concrete pier.  Oh well.

Wide Field 

Crop

M67 (NGC 2682)
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 2-20-17, 01:05 am
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm
f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 18-90s (27 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: 0 C (32 F)
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools

Sunday, February 19, 2017

M50 - The Heart Shaped Cluster

Messier 50 (a.k.a. M50, the Heart-Shaped Cluster, and NGC 2323)  is an open cluster located in the constellation Monoceros.  The cluster lies at an approximate distance of 3,200 light years from Earth.  M50 (NGC 2323) occupies an area about half the size of the full Moon and can be found 9.5 degrees north-northeast of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky (source: Messier Objects).

I was able to get this image a couple days ago when the weather finally broke.  I only was able to get 23 minutes of usable data but it was enough.  This is my first image taken after I purchased an Orion 0.8 Focal Reducer for Refractors.  The focal reducer effectively makes it a faster scope by reducing the focal length from 600 mm to 480 mm giving a larger field of view and lowering the f-stop from f/7.5 to f/6.  This also represents my 54th Messier object captured with my system.

Wide Field

Crop

M50 - The Heart Shaped Cluster (NGC 2323)
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 2-15-17, 11:45 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 22-60s (22 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: 0 C (32 F)
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Moon, Jupiter, and Spica

The Moon, Jupiter, and Spica this morning (2-15-17) from my driveway. Looked really nice. In order to capture this image with lunar detail but still get Jupiter and Spica I had to combine a long exposure image with a short exposure.


Waning Gibbous Moon, Jupiter, and Spica
02/015/2017
06:00 am
Canon EOS REBEL T3i
ISO 200
1/200 sec. and 1 sec.
f/3.2 50mm
Photoshop - Combine, label

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The 37 Cluster

To all the people who are 37 years old, this one is for you.  NGC 2169 also known as the 37 Cluster is an open cluster in the Orion constellation.  The cluster is at a distance of about 3,600 light years away from Earth.  Since the group of stars resemble an interstellar '37', it has been nicknamed the 37 Cluster.  If we keep searching we may find a giant 42 out there...(source: Wikipedia)

Wide Field

Crop 1

Crop 2
NGC 2169 - The 37 Cluster
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 2-2-17, 9:45 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 32-60s (32 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: -2.2 C (27 F)
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools

Saturday, February 4, 2017

M78-Revisited


I imaged the reflection nebula M78 one year ago with my Orion ED80 f/7.5 refractor (see post).  The total exposure over two nights using my Canon T3i (600D) was 112 minutes with an Astronomik CLS filter (48 mm).  I used a filter since I have moderate light pollution looking south (5 on the Bortle scale).

Since last year, my processing has gotten much better and the camera was modified (Hap Griffin) over the summer.  I went out on 1/30/17 using my CLS filter and collected 19 x 4 min exposures.  I also went out on 2/2/17 and collected 14 x 3 min exposures, however, this time I did not use the CLS filter.  I wanted to see if there was a big change in data acquisition.  I should mention that the moon was low but still up (37%) when I imaged without the filter.

I went through the original images from 2016 and eliminated some of the subframes as they were poor quality.  My standards have changed, hopefully for the better.

Conclusions:
The preliminary results are much improved with the additional time and better processing (compare Fig 1 with Fig 2).  As far as with the filter vs. without the filter, it is a hard call.  The was significant more sky glow without the filter which washed out some of the data especially in the center of the image.  This can be seen if you compare Fig 2 with Fig 3.  The maximum exposure for the unfiltered image was 3 min where as with the filter I could safely go for 4 or 5 min.  When I do another session for M78, I will use a filter as I am avoiding a significant amount of sky glow.  The only draw back is longer imaging sessions.

General Conclusion the UHC Filter, CLS Filter, or no filter:
Emission Nebula - UHC (narrow band)
Reflection Nebula - CLS (broad band)
Star Clusters - No filter (CLS - if moon is full)
Galaxies - Haven't tested

Figure 1 - Original (2/28/16 - 82 min, 2/29/16 - 20 min)

Figure 2 - 32 subframes (2/28/16 - 75 min, 1/30/17 - 76 min)

Figure 3 - 32 subframes (2/28/16 - 75 min, 1/30/17 - 76 min, 2/2/17 - 42 min)

Figure 4 - 32 subframes (2/28/16 - 75 min, 1/30/17 - 76 min, reprocessed)


M78
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 2-28-16, 9:45 pm; 2-29-16, 9:45 pm*; 1-30-16, 10:45 pm; 2-2-16, 10:45 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR, Astronomik CLS
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure:
2-28-16: 16-300s,1-163s,
2-29-16: 4-300s, 3-180s, 1-45, 1-30s* (not used in reprocessing - poor quality)
1-30-17: 19-240s
2-2-17: 14-180s
ISO: 800
Temp: -2.2 C (27 F)
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools

Monday, January 30, 2017

The moon, Venus, and Mars


Five days ago I got the moon just before sunrise with Saturn and Mercury. Today I captured the moon just before sunset with Venus and Mars.



Crescent Moon, Venus, and Mars
01/30/2017
05:54 pm
Canon EOS REBEL T3i
ISO 400
1 sec.
f/3.2 50mm
Photoshop - white balance, label