Thursday, April 20, 2017

M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy

Messier 101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy (a.k.a. NGC 5457) is a face-on spiral galaxy distanced 21 million light-years away from earth in the constellation Ursa Major.  M101 is a large galaxy comparable in size to the Milky Way with a diameter of 170,000 light-years.  The galaxy is asymmetrical due to the tidal forces from interactions with its companion galaxies. These gravitational interactions compress interstellar hydrogen gas, which then triggers strong star formation activity in M101's spiral arms that can be detected in ultraviolet images.  On August 24, 2011, a Type Ia supernova, SN 2011fe, was discovered in M101. The supernova was visual magnitude 17.2 at discovery and reached magnitude 9.9 at its peak. (source: wikipedia).

I was lucky lucky to get this last Saturday when the sky unexpectedly cleared up enough to get 1.5 hrs of decent exposures.  I think I can do better with this object with more exposures, however, that will have to wait as I have too many other thing to capture on limited clear nights in the Northeast.  The weather has been awful since Saturday and it does not seem to be getting any better anytime soon.  I used the Synthetic Flat-Layer removal method described by Trevor Jones from AstroBackyard to cleanup the gradients this time as it produced the best results.

BTW this object number 70 on my Messier catalog.  Enjoy.

Crop

Wide Field

M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 4-15-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 59 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 7 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy

Messier 51 (a.k.a. M51, or The Whirlpool Galaxy M51, or NGC 5194), is an interacting spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy.  M51 is approximately 23 million light-years from the from Earth but estimates range between 15 and 35 million light-years. Under very dark skies M51 and its companion galaxy, NGC 5195, can be seen with small aperture telescopes and may even be seen with binoculars. I actually saw it at Boothe Park in Stratford, CT with Elliot Severn's 12" dobsonian (lots of light pollution - 7 on the Bortle Scale). I have always been fascinated with images of this object but never dreamed I would actually be able to image it myself (source: wikipedia).

I managed to get almost 2 hours of exposure when it was directly overhead.  This time of year seems to have many galaxies but not much in the way of nebulae.  That's fine with me.  I have been taking 90 second exposures at ISO 1600 for the galaxies and that has been giving me good results.   

This represents the 69th Messier Object I have imaged using a Canon 600D connected to an Orion ED80 f/7.5. I captured this object on Friday evening and since it cleared up the following evening I got a bonus and was able to capture M101.

Website: https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Wide Field

Crop

M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 4-14-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 77 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 5 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

M63 - Sunflower Galaxy

Messier 63 (a.k.a. M63, NGC 5055, or the Sunflower Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici.  The galaxy contains a central disc surrounded by many short spiral arm segments. It is part of the M51 Group, a group of galaxies that also includes M51 (the 'Whirlpool Galaxy') which is next on my target list.  Also of note, in 1971, a supernova with a magnitude of 11.8 appeared in one of the arms of M63 (source: wikipedia).

This was last of the nine new Messier objects (eleven counting M81 and M82) I collected in March before the moon reappeared and made deep sky imaging less desirable. It also represents the 68th Messier objects I have captured, only 42 left.  Website: https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Crop

Wide Field

M63 - Sunflower Galaxy
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 4-2-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 57 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 5 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

M81 and M82 revisited!

This is my second go around with these objects.  The first time I shot these was almost two years ago when my processing skill were much more limited, not only that, I only collected 33 minutes of data. This time around I collected 102 minutes of data with the modified camera.  Of course I would have liked to get more time but M81 and M82 only are visible for 35 minute windows from my dedicated concrete pier at the Happy Frog so that 102 minutes is over the course of four nights.  I hate to take the scope off the pier since it perfectly set but until I get another mount I will have to for some objects.

Messier 81 (a.k.a. NGC 3031 or Bode's Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major.  It was discovered by Johann Elert Bode on December 31, 1774 and therefore, is sometimes referred to as "Bode's Galaxy".  Messier 82 (also known as NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy or M82) is a galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major.  M82 is about five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way and has a center one hundred times more luminous than our galaxy's center.  In 2014, in studying M82, scientists discovered the brightest pulsar yet known (source: wikipedia).

Although this will not help my overall Messier count since I captured it already, I am much happier
with the results this time around.

Website: https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

The Pair

M81 - Bode's Galaxy

M82 - Cigar Galaxy

M81 and M82
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 3-20-17, 3-22-17, 3-23-17, 3-29-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 68 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: -1.0 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gradient Test With M94

Figure 1 - Processed With Gradient Exterminator

I decided to do a test of removing gradients in astrophotography images using Photoshop as described in a recent post by Trevor Jones of AstroBackyard.com.  In his post, Remove Gradients in Your Astrophotos with Photoshop, Trevor describes a fairly common method of removing gradients using Gradient Exterminator (which I use), but also another method which may give better results in certain cases (Figure 3).

The method involves: 1) Removing the DSO from your image, 2) Creating a synthetic flat frame, and 3) Subtracting the flat frame from your image (Figutre 4).  I am not going to go over the process, Trevor does an excellent job of that and he has a video to go a long with it.  Since I just got done processing M94 as I normally do with Gradient Exterminator and heavy additional processing, I gave the other method a try.  Since I don't use flats (yet), my unprocessed images typically have plenty gradients and not only that, the night I captured M94 the sky looked clear but there must have been some additional moisture or something because many of the subframes were redder than normal.

The results are as follows:

Figure 2 - Minimal Processing (Levels) - Lots of Gradients

Figure 3 - Crop Processed With Gradient Exterminator

Figure 4 - Crop Processed By Subtracting a Synthetic Frame

Conclusions:
As you can see from Figure 2, plenty of gradients and vignetting to start with. The results of processing were good either way at least to me.  The gradients were successfully eliminated in both images and it is arguable which image is better.  So which method involved less processing thus was easier?  I took a while doing the synthetic frame method but that was because I am not familiar with this method not because it is inherently time consuming.  In fact I think this method may ultimately be quicker.  I can see how this method works well for small objects and as Trevor pointed out, not be good for objects which fill up the field of view.

If you have never visited AstroBackyard.com before, I would highly recommend you do.  The site contains easy to follow tutorials and well thought explanations.

https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Thursday, April 6, 2017

M94 - The Starburst Galaxy

Messier 94 (a.k.a. as NGC 4736 or Starburst Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici and lies approximately 14.5 million light-years from Earth.  Compared to the Milky Way, this galaxy is about half the size with a diameter of 50,000 light-years across.  It has a bright nucleus compared to other galaxies and really does have a brownish tint.  Looking at Hubble images you can see a lot of dust within the spiral arms. There is also an outer bluish ring, faint in my image with my little ED80 - larger scopes will do a better job with this, where young massive stars are forming. (source: wikipedia, APOD).

Crop

Wide Field

M94 (The Starburst Galaxy)
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 3-29-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 56 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: -1.0 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Crystals

Neat Science! My students are making crystals in General Science class using salt (NaCl), Copper II Sulfate (CuSO4), or sugar (C12H22O11).  A couple of students mixed the CuSO4 solution which is blue with the NaCl solution which is clear and the result was not a lighter blue solution but rather a deep green solution.

Figure 1:  Blue Solution - CuSO4, Green Solution - CuSO4 + NaCl 

The answer to this mystery is with what happens to the copper ion (Cu2+).  The copper ion gives off a blue color when dissolved, however, when the sodium chloride was added chloride ions (Cl-) reacted with the Cu2+ to form a complex ion, Copper(II) tetrachloro complex (the copper ion surrounded by four chlorides), which is green.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A View From My Observatory

The last few weeks I have been imaging several galaxies in around the Big Dipper region of Ursa Major. There are eleven Messier objects associated within this region and I have captured eight of them but only processed four so far. You may notice the trees in the way. Although I do have open sky off to the south and I have a clear opening to Polaris, directly overhead is a challenge. I have to wait for 'windows' but most are around two hours. The ones that are not are M81 and M82 which are only good for about 30 minutes. I imaged for these for 30 minutes over four nights.

There is no camera attached to the ED80 as it was being used to take this photo. If you look closely at the second star of the handle, Mizar, you can see a smaller companion star, Alcor.



Big Dipper
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 4-2-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a)
Lens: Opteka Fisheye 8mm
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 8mm
f/3.2
Focal Reducer: none
Mount: fixed
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: none
Exposure: 1 x 15s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 5 C
Post Processing: Photoshop, Lightroom

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Leo Triplet

The Leo Triplet (a.k.a. the M66 Group) is a small group of galaxies approximately 35 million light years away in the constellation of Leo.  It consists of the three spiral galaxies M65, M66, and NGC 3628.  From Earth NGC 3628 is on its side and resembles a hamburger and so it is also known as the Hamburger Galaxy.  This galaxy group is very close to the M96 Group captured a couple of days prior.

I collected data over three nights, the first night being the best.  I did a test on the data and decided to share it for anyone who is interested.  As I mentioned the first night (3-22-17) the sky clarity was good. Figure 1 shows a typical sub-frame from that night.

Figure 1 - Decent sub-frame 3-22-17

On day two (3-23-17) I had a mixture of decent sub-frames and some with a small amount of red tint and on day three (3-29-17) most of the sub-frames reddened and it was more severe.  Figure 2 shows a typical sub-frame.

Figure 2 - Typical sub-frame 3-29-17

Obviously the sky was not as good as I had though on the second or third nights so I had a decision that most of have to make, whether to use or not use this data.  I checked the sub-frames carefully in Adobe bridge and deleted any frame with streaking or any other defect (except the red color).  I did two versions with Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) and then processed them in the same way with PS, Astronomy Tools, and LR. Figure 3 shows the Triplet using the 55 frames from 3-22-17 while Figure 4 shows the Triplet with the 111 frames the three nights.

Figure 3 - Processed Image 55 Frames from 3-22-17

Figure 4 - Processed Image 111 Frames from 3-22-17, 3-23-17, 3-29-17

The conclusion, based on my results, is that the additional frames added to thew quality to the image rather than hinder it.  So as long as the frames are sharp (no streaking) and the stars are not masked by clouds or pollution then they are usable, at least for galaxies.

Figure 5 - M65 Crop

Figure 6 - M66 Crop

Figure 7 - NGC 3628 (The Hamburger Galaxy) Crop

M65, M66, NGC3628 (The Hamburger Galaxy)
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 3-22-17, 3-23-17, 3-29-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 55 x 90s, 30 x 90s, 26 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: -1.0 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Messier 96 Group - Leo 1 Group

The Messier 96 or M96 Group (also known as the Leo I Group) is a group of galaxies in the constellation Leo. The group contains three Messier objects M95, M96, and M105 which are shown on the wide field image and a number of other galaxies depending on your field of view (24 total is the high number).  The group is one of many groups that lies within the Virgo Supercluster (i.e. the Local Supercluster). (source: wikipedia)

M95 or NGC 3351 is a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Leo and is approximately 38 million light-years away.  Interestingly, a supernova discovered in M95 on 16 March 2012. (source: wikipedia)

M96 or NGC 3368 is spiral galaxy about the same size and mass of the Milky Way and approximately 35 million light-years away in the constellation Leo.  Variations in ultraviolet emission from the core indicate there may be a supermassive black hole in the center.  Also, a supernova was observed in this galaxy on May 9, 1998. (source: wikipedia)

M105 or NGC 3379 is a elliptical galaxy in the constellation Leo.  It is approximately 37.9 million light years away with a diameter of 55,000 light years. Its the brightest elliptical galaxy in the Leo I group of galaxies and has an estimated mass of 100 billion solar masses. (source: astropixels)

This was captured last week during that cold but clear weather window.  I was not planning to image this but it was visible while I was waiting for other objects to become visible from my location. I was very happy since this was 3 Messier's for the price of 1.  If they were all like this I would be done shooting the Messier Objects by now.  New website: kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com.
    
Wide Field

M95

M96

M105, NGC 3384, NGC 3389

M95, M96, M105
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 3-19-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 42 x 90s (63 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: -2.0 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Friday, March 24, 2017

M106

Messier 106 (a.k.a. M106 or NGC 4258) is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation Canes Venatici.
The galaxy is about 22 to 25 million light-years away from Earth.  The presence of x-rays and unusual emission lines indicate that part of the galaxy maybe falling into a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy.  Also interesting is the presence of dense and warm molecular gas composed of water vapor which give M106 its characteristic purple color (source: wikipedia).

I had a few very clear nights last week, although it was very cold (well below freezing), and was able to capture several Messier Objects around the Big Dipper.  My yard (and astronomy shed) does not have a full view of the sky except facing south so I have windows of opportunity to catch objects.

The marks 61 Messier objects captured do date only 49 to go. Pics can be found on my website at: https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/.

Crop

Wide Field
M106
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 3-19-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 33 x 90s (49.5 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: 0 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

M40 - Winnecke 4

What was Messier thinking? M40 or Winnecke 4 is one of the most bazaar objects that Messier included in his famous catalog of what not to confused with a comet.  Its an optical double star located in Ursa Major.  In actuality Messier was searching for a nebula that had been reported in the area, however, not seeing any nebulae, he included the double star instead. It was subsequently rediscovered by Friedrich August Theodor Winnecke in 1863, hence the other name (source: wikipedia).  At any rate, I was able to add this to my catalog of Messier objects captured with my Orion ED80.

Wide Field

Closeup
M40
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 3-19-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 10 x 90s (15 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: 0 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hoot Hoot - The Owl Nebula and M108 - Surfboard Galaxy

Messier 97 or M97 (a.k.a NGC 3587) is a planetary nebula in the constellation Ursa Major and is approximately 2600 light years away.  It is commonly known as the Owl Nebula since William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, observed the nebula in 1848, his hand-drawn illustration resembled an owl's head.  Its estimated age is 6,000-12,000 years. (source: astropixels and wikipedia)

Messier 108 or M108 (a.k.a. NGC 3556) is a spiral galaxy 100,000 light years across in the constellation Ursa Major and approximately 45 million light years from Earth. (source: astropixels)

Wide Field 

M97 - Owl Nebula


M108 - Surfboard Galaxy
M97 and M108
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 3-3-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 56 x 60s (56 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: 0 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Orion Nebula and the Running Man Nebula

This is my latest rendition of the Orion Nebula (M42), DeMairan's Nebula (M43), and the Running Man Nebula (NGC 1973, NGC 1975, NGC 1977).  I was not planning on imaging Orion this year since I captured it last year, however, there three substantial changes in my equipment since last year. 
1) I had my Canon Rebel T3i (600D) camera modified (Hap Griffin), 2) Astronomik UHC Clip filter, and 3) an Orion 0.8 Focal Reducer.  Although my image last year was good, I was not able to get the Running Man in my image.

M42 and M43 are both diffuse nebulae located in the Orion constellation while the Running Man Nebula is a reflection nebula also in the Orion constellation.  All of these objects are between 1300 and 1500 light-years away.

I collected data over five nights four of them were at the Happy Frog (home observatory) and one evening at Boothe Memorial Park while we were doing work on the Boothe Memorial Astronomical Society Observatory.  On the first couple of nights I did not frame the shot as well as I could have so I collected data over three more nights in order to get the optimal framing for both Orion and Running Man.  The processing was very difficult as I had to align the different exposures and then merge them.  

For aligning the images I used a method described by Trevor Jones from AstroBackyard on his Youtube channel, Astrophotography Tutorial - Create a HaRGB Composite Image.  For merging the the different exposures I used the method from my previous Orion image which was modified from Jerry Lodriguss.

The general procedure is:
1) to open two images to be merged, a short and long exposure.
2) select the short exposure and select all (Ctrl + A).
3) copy (Ctrl + C).
4) open the long exposure and paste (Ctrl + V).
5) select the mask button on the bottom of layers pallette.
6) (Alt + click) on the mask next to the layer 1 button.
7) click on the white mask exposure and paste (Ctrl + V).
8) open the Gaussian Filter under the filters pulled down menu.
9) use 30 pixels for the size.
10) open layer one to see the result.







M42, M43, NGC 1973, NGC 1975, NGC 1977
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT and Boothe Memorial Park, Stratford, CT
Date: 2-18-17, 2-19-17, 2-20-17, 2-26-17, 2-27-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR, Astronomik UHC Clip filter
Autoguiding: QHY-5LM attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: Total 180s (210 min)
2-18-17) 10 x 30s, 16 x 180s
2-19-17) 19 x 5s, 20 x 180s
2-20-17) 10 x 180s
2-26-17) 9 x 180s
2-27-17) 15 x 180s
ISO: 800
Temp: 0 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools

Thursday, March 2, 2017

M109 - Vacuum Cleaner Galaxy

Messier 109 (a.k.a. M109 or NGC 3992) is a barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Ursa Major and is approximately 83.5 Million light-years from Earth, making it the furthest object in Messier's catalog (source: Free Star Charts). The bright star Phecda (bottom cup star of the Big Dipper) makes fing M109 much easier.  For being so far away, it is still a relatively bright object. This was a last minute decision to image M109 and I couldn't pass on the opportunity.  Of course I would have liked to obtain more exposures but my window of opportunity is small due to overhanging trees.

Closeup

Crop 1

Wide Field
M109
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 2-27-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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: 36 x 90s (54 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: 0 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

M93

Messier 93 (a.k.a. M93 or NGC 2447) is an open cluster 3,600 light-years from Earth in the constellation Puppis (source: wikipedia).  I was not originally planning on capturing this particular Messier object anytime soon as is is not visible from my shed (the Happy Frog Observatory), however, it was a clear night and we were doing some work on the Boothe Memorial Astronomical Society 16-in reflector telescope so I took advantage of the open sky.

Closeup





Crop

Wide Field



M93
Location: Boothe Memorial Park Observatory, Stratford, CT
Date: 2-26-17
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
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
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 x 60s (18 min)
ISO: 1600
Temp: 0 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools

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