Friday, May 12, 2017

M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy

Well the Sombrero Galaxy (M104 or NGC 4594) was the last image to be processed from images I took over two weeks ago.  Clouds and the moon have temporally put my deep sky imaging on hold.

Sombrero Galaxy is an spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo located 31 million light-years from Earth.  Smaller than the Milky Way, M104 has a diameter of approximately 50,000 light-years and has a bright nucleus. A prominent dark dust lane and a central bulge give this galaxy the appearance of a sombrero.

I am really liking the Synthetic Flat-Layer gradient removal method described by Trevor Jones from AstroBackyard to cleanup the gradients.  Since I do not use flats yet, my stacked image is loaded with vignetting and gradients.  I used to spend an enormous amount of time trying to make a decent image, however, this new method described by Trevor has cut my time in half and produces better results.  Of course using flats will make a world of difference as well but I have not been able to do it properly yet.  I need to see a video of somebody actually doing it in the field.

This represents number 76 on my catalog of Messier objects, only 34 remain.

Crop


Wide Field

M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 4-29-17
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: 54 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 17 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Markarian's Chain

Markarian's Chain is a beautiful string of galaxies that is part of the Virgo Cluster.  It was named after the Armenian astrophysicist, B. E. Markarian, who did extensive research on these galaxies in the early 1960s.  Member galaxies include M84 (NGC 4374), M86 (NGC 4406), NGC 4477, NGC 4473, NGC 4461, NGC 4458, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435

I took full advantage of the one clear night we had last weekend and imaged this object as well as M104, the Sombrero Galaxy.  One of the most interesting members of the chain are the galaxies NGC 4435 and NGC 4438. Together they make up what is known as The Eyes.  At 52 million light years away, the two interacting galaxies resemble eyes intently staring at something or someone.

In just imaging Markarian's Chain, I have manged to capture three more Messier objects for my catalog.

https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/Messier-Objects/

Markarian's Chain

Wide Field, with M87

M84 & M86 Crop

M87 Crop

The Eyes Crop

Markarian's Chain
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 4-29-17
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: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/Messier-Objects/


Captured a Satellite While Imaging Markarian's Chain.  


Captured a Russian Satellite While Imaging Markarian's Chain.
Most people are not aware of how many satellites there are orbiting Earth. I checked Stellarium and it appears that the satellite photobombing my image was Molniya 3-41. It was originally part of a Russian military communications network but since 1967 the Molniya satellites are used for Russian TV.