Friday, April 20, 2018

NGC 3344 - Sliced Onion Galaxy

NGC 3344 (a.k.a. Sliced Onion Galaxy) is a barred spiral galaxy located 22.5 million light years away in the constellation Leo Minor. Although it appears to be a relatively isolated galaxy, it is on the Leo branch of the Virgo Supercluster. The image shows the yellowish core which is made up of older stars. Younger blue stars and reddish nebula regions make up the arms but that is beyond my resolving power of my equipment (source: wikipedia, APOD).

To me it does not look like a sliced onion but I am not the person who comes up with names.  Like my images of NGC 2903 and Hickson-44, this object is a stretch with my set up. I imaged this over two nights, the first night being much better.  In fact I was not going to use the second nights data at all but after processing it it did result in a better image.  Also, I logged in more time with Astrophotography Tools (APT) for capturing the image the second night.

Crop 2

Crop 1

 Wide Field

NGC 3344 - Sliced Onion Galaxy
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 04-17-18, 4-18-18
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 (HEQ5)
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 45 x 90s, 37 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 2 C, 4 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hickson 44 Group (Leo Quartet)

The Hickson 44, after Canadian astronomer Paul Hickson, is a group of gravitational bound four galaxies about 100 million light-years away in constellation Leo.  Other names include the Leo Quartet and the NGC 3190 Series. The two spiral galaxies in the center of the cropped image are edge-on NGC 3190 with its distinctive dust lanes, and S-shaped NGC 3187.  The bright elliptical galaxy on the upper left is  NGC 3193 the spiral in the center lower portion is NGC 3185 (source: APOD). On the wide field image NGC 3221 is visible on the left and NGC 3177 is visible on the lower right portion.

When I imaged NGC 2903 five days earlier I thought it would by my limit but it came came out better than I anticipated so I decided on these. I do think these are probably my lower limit.  They are small in my ED80 but much to my surprise, there was some detail in the galaxies including the dust lanes in 3190.  

Cropped

Wide Field

Hickson 44 Group
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 04-10-18
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 (HEQ5)
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: 2 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Sunday, April 15, 2018

First Image Using APT - M44

So what is the significance of showing hastily processed stack of seven 20-second exposures of M 44 on a not so clear night? It is my first image using Astrophotography Tools (APT). Don't get me wrong, I love BYE it is just I want to get some practice using APT in anticipation of running the monochrome camera that I would like to get sometime. Tonight was the perfect night to practice this as got to 70 degrees F (22 C) and there were wispy clouds. Serious imaging was out of the question but playing around with software was fine.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

NGC 2903 - First Galaxy of the Season

NGC 2903 is a barred spiral galaxy about 20 million light-years distant and popular among amateur astronomers.  Being in the constellation Leo, near the top of the lion's head it was in the perfect spot for me to image it. My only problem is the small aperture ED80 telescope.  This is probably my limit for galaxies in fact I was dubious about imaging it but there was not any bigger galaxies that I have not already imaged in the available region so I took a chance.  I am happy with how it turned out considering what I used.  There is more detail than I expected. Also, NGC 2916, listed as a radio galaxy appears on the left side of the image.

The spiral arms are visible along with the details of the bright core and extraordinary dust and gas clouds. NGC 2903 exhibits an exceptional rate of star formation activity near its center.  The size of this galaxy is just a little smaller than our own Milky Way at about 80,000 light-years across making it a good twin of us (source: APOD).

Crop

Wide Field

NGC 2903
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 04-5-18
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 (HEQ5)
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 51 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 4 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Moon 4-1-18

Nearly full moon - 96.7 %


Waning Gibbous Moon
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 4-1-18
Camera: Nikon D3000
Lens: Canon 70-300 mm
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 300mm
f/5.6
Focal Reducer: None
Mount: none
Filter: none
Autoguiding: none
Exposure: 1 x 1/60s
ISO: 200
Temp: 0 C
Post Processing: Photoshop, Astronomy Tools
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

NGC 2539 - The Dish Cluster

NGC 2539 is an open cluster in the constellation Puppis.  The cluster contains hundreds of stars eleven of which are red giants.  The diameter of the cluster is estimated to be 24 light years and it is 4,400 ly from Earth (source: wikipedia).  The name comes from James O`Meara (contributing editor for Astronomy Magazine) although I am struggling to see the 'Dish'.  The bright star, 19 Puppis, located at the edge of the cluster is a foreground star located 477 ly away.  It barely stands out against the background star field even after doing slight curves adjustment around the cluster itself.  It is no wonder this cluster is often over looked as there are many other more impressive objects close by.


NGC 2539 - The Dish Cluster
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 03-19-18
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 Atlas Pro
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR, Baader Neodymium Skyglow 2"
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 44 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 4 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Moon Shots from March 25, 2018

The image below shows the waxing gibbous moon in between three bright stars.  The two north of the moon (near the top) are Pollux and Caster and belong to Gemini while the star south of the moon (near the bottom) is Procyon, the brightest star in Canis Minor.  I was looking for something to image and saw a post in Earthsky of something neat to look at and decided this was it.  The image is a composite of a short 1/1800 second image to get the lunar detail and a long 30 second exposure to get the star field. 

Image 1
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 3-25-18
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Lens: Canon 18-55 mm
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 35mm
f/7.1
Focal Reducer: None
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: none
Exposure: 1 x 1/1800s, 1 x 30
ISO: 400, 800
Temp: -3 C
Post Processing: Photoshop, Astronomy Tools
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/


Image 2
This is the second image I took on March 25. It still shows Pollux, Caster, and Procyon but clouds partially blocked it and produced the halo.  I rotated the image to better frame it.



Waxing Gibbous Moon
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 3-25-18
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Lens: Canon 18-55 mm
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 35mm
f/7.1
Focal Reducer: None
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: none
Exposure: 1 x 1/15s
ISO: 1600
Temp: -3 C
Post Processing: Photoshop, Astronomy Tools
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/


Image 3
This is the third and last image I took on March 25 and is only picture I took through the ED80.  The terminus shows up pretty well and many craters such as Plato near the top just above Mare Imbrium and Tycho on the bottom.


Waxing Gibbous Moon
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 3-25-18
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
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: none
Exposure: 1 x 1/1000s
ISO: 400
Temp: -3 C
Post Processing: Photoshop, Astronomy Tools