Sunday, December 28, 2008

2 hours and 40 minutes of the Deer Lick

Just for comparisons sake, I am posting the final results of nearly 2 hours and 40 minutes of integrated imaging time. It is a composite of all the images I have gotten of it so far with the SBIG. I added about 8 ten minute subs from tonight. The arms are still a little fuzzy, but the galaxy is starting to really stand out. Can't hardly tell it was shot through a 6 inch scope, and not something bigger.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

56 Minutes More Minutes of The Deer Lick Group

As another test of my new CCD camera. I turned it once again to NGC 7331. This galaxy is proving to be a very tough target. I shot 8 six minute integrations and added it to what I shot the other night for a total of 56 minutes. All through the SC6 at F6.3 using the SBIG ST7. The core turned out OK, but the arms are still really faint. It needs a lot more integration time. I guess I will have to try again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

First Images From New Camera

This image of M1 "The Crab Nebula" was shot with my new SBIG ST7 CCD camera. I recently sold my largest scope to buy this and enter the world of self-guided CCD's. However, I still haven't gotten all the guide bugs worked out, and for the time being, I am still guiding with a separate camera - my DSI Pro.

This camera works a little different I am figuring out. Most of my other camera's like a lot of stacked medium to short exposures to keep the noise level low. This camera seems to do best with a few stacked long exposures, the longer the better.

Anyway, this image is the result of median stacking 7 three minute images.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

M77 with the 6 inch scope

Here is an image of Messier 77, a strange galaxy with an Active Galactic Nucleus. It is basically considered my most astronomers to be a sort of mini-quasar. It is suspected that it's nucleus contains a very large and active black hole.

I took this image with my Orion DSCI. It is a composite of 17 two minute images, shot guided through my 6" sct at F6.3.

Another Look at the Deer Lick

I took another image of NGC 7331, the Deer Lick Galaxy. I used my Canon DSLR and the little 6" sct. It could use some more integration time, but I got the main part of it. This image was shot guided, and is a composite of about 8 five minute integrations at ISO 1600.

There seems to be some vignetting in the small image that does not show so bad in the full sized image. The SC6 seems to be a bit harder to image with using a DSLR than I care for. I may not use it much for this anymore. Vignetting and spherical errors seem to be the main issues.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Look! It's the Moon...

Bet you didn't know the Moon has colors? Look closely at this image. I shot it with my Canon 300D and my C6 sct.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Oldie I don't Remember Posting...

This time it is the Cocoon Nebula, Caldwell 19, shot with my DSI Pro and the Stellarvue Nighthawk II. No color this time.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another windy image...

I took this shortly after the image of the Crescent Nebula. It is the Crab Nebula, the remnant of an exploded star. At it's core lies a spinning pulsar, belching out x-rays and gamma rays. It is not visible in this image though.

Image shot through my SC6 SCT using my Orion DSCI 1.

A not so clear Crescent Nebula

It was exceeding windy when I did this image the other night. This is a very hard object to image anyway, I will just have to try again.

The Crescent Nebula, NGC 6888, is a shell of gas created by the star near the center. This star is known as a Wolf-Rayet star, a very unusual object and not related to the visually similar planetary nebulas.

Imaged with my SC6 SCT and my Orion DSCI 1. Twenty five 2 and 1/2 minute images median stacked.

Friday, November 14, 2008

An Older Image I Can't Remember Posting...

Here is an older image of M94 I took this summer with my Orion DSCI1 and my SN10. Can't remember if I posted it or not. I don't think I did. Maybe I did, who knows....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Experiments Continue...

It was a full moon, so I decided to see what my Omega OIII filter would do on my Orion DSCI. This is a one-shot color camera, and should show if there was any leaks of any other color frequencies besides the teal color of Triple Ionized Oxygen (OIII) which it was designed to pass. I shot this image through my new Celestron SC-6 at F5, guided by my ST-80. It is 19 ninety second images median combined.

It is a very interesting result, and shows a bit more detail than I expected. It also shows some red leaking through at the Hydrogen Alpha (HA) range, but not a lot. I wonder what several hours worth of images would look like using this filter set-up.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NGC 7331 with SC-6 scope

I shot this image of the Deer Lick Galaxy several nights back to compare with the shot I posted below with the larger scope. The stats are similar, though it was shot guided. My guider was not cooperating well, and as a result, the stars look sort of the same. I guess I will have to try again later. Image shot through my Orion DSCI 1.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More Fun with the New Scope

It is really cold up here in the mountains, like about 14 degrees, so I tried to do a quick imaging session. I am still working the bugs out of my new C6 sct scope, so I picked a few easy targets. I picked M27, because it makes a good target to judge against other scopes, and the galaxy NGC 253, basically because it was there and I was freezing. Both of these shots are done with my Orion DSCI 1 and were guided with my ST80. The guiding was not perfect, because numb fingers don't like to play with guider settings.

The M27 image is about 1 hour worth of composite images. The NGC 253 Image is about 15 minutes worth.
NGC 253 is an interesting object. It is called the "Silver Coin Galaxy" because it looks like a coin on it's side. It is quite large and bright, and can be spotted in binoculars, or if you are really good, youe naked eyeballs. It is found low on the southern sky this time of year. It is amazing that Charles Messier did not discover it back in the 1700-1800's. It is really hard to miss. It was actually discovered much later, around the turn of the century if I remember correctly.

Friday, October 31, 2008

M74 with the Big scope

The spiral galaxy in the image above is known as M74. It is a very nice spiral, but is notoriously difficult to image. It takes a very dark sky to bring out all the details. This image was shot through my SN10, with my Canon 300D. It is about 12 four minute images at ISO 1600, shot guided by a 60mm refractor. I have been doing lots of images with the SNT, since I have had some collimation problems. This is one of the images I used for that, sort of a diagnostic image, if you will.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

First Light for Another New Scope...

Here is the first Image taken with my newest addition, a Celestron SC6, intended to take the place of my M500. I heard they were a little easier to image with, and weighed a bit less. Anyway, here is the result of about 30 each of thirty second L/C/M/Y images all shot unguided, with a .5 focal reducer and my DSI Pro Mono.

Not too shabby for the first time out. I think I will keep it a while.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Deer Lick Group

Yes, I know it is a strange name for a galaxy group, it bears no resemblance to a licking deer. It is named for Deer Lick Gap, if I remember correctly. The Large galaxy is called NGC 7331, or the Deer Lick Galaxy. The other smaller galaxies are all part of the group, but I do not know their names. I took this as part of a test of my scope to make sure I got the focuser squared on straight. I shot it with my Orion DSCI 1, 29 subs all unguided at 30 seconds. It was taken through my Meade SN10 running at F4. The wind was pretty breezy, so my stars look kind of blobby from the scope bouncing around.

I shot it about 20:45 on today's date.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trifid Up Close

The Trifid Nebula is very unique. It has a red portion where stars are actively being formed inside a cloud of heated hydrogen gas, and a cold blue portion where the light is simply reflected from the stars. I have captured most of it in this close up I did with My Stellarvue 80mm refractor, using my Orion DSCI. Once again, I do not remember the stats. I must get better at that. This is from a series of test shots I did to test out using a Minus Violet filter with a one-shot color camera and an achro refractor. It seems to work pretty well, other than a slight color imbalance. Only a few stars are bloaty blue. For the newbies out there, a big blue-violet ring around the bright stars is the bane of an achromatic refractor. A minus violet filter is made to help get rid of it, but they are normally a visual filter and not a photographic filter.

Spiral Galaxy M74

I shot M74 through my little Stellarvue NightHawk II. It came out pretty good for an achro refractor. I used my Orion Deep Space Imager for this shot, and a strong minus violet filter. I do not remember the stats for the image, but I think it was about a dozen 3 minute images. I am pretty sure I guided these shots.

M74 is a very tough target, especially on a night that is not totally dark. It was quite a feat to locate it in a small 80mm scope.

The Cat's Eye

The little blue object in this photo is NGC 6543, otherwise known as the Cat's Eye Nebula. I will let you guess why it is called that. This is not the best image in the world, but it does bring out some of the colors of this rather small object.

I took this with my DSI Pro using CMY filters. It is a composite of around 25 thirty second images for each color channel. I shot it through my MN66 Mak-Newt uniguided.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

M33 Triangulum Galaxy

This galaxy is a big one, located in the constellation of Triangulum. It is visible in binoculars as a hazy round patch about the size of the full moon. It is next to impossible to see in a telescope, unless it is a wide field type. I don't remember all the stats for this image, just that it was taken through my 100mm F6 achro refractor with my Canon 300D DSLR. It was 1600 ISO with 8 minute sub-exposures. Probably around 8-10 frames were stacked for this image, I can't remember.

This galaxy is sometimes called the Pinwheel.

Jupiter with the MN66

I have been vacillating recently over possibly selling the Mak-Newt MN66, and buying a smaller Apo refractor. The MN66 tends to get bounced around by the wind, and ruins more images than it captures. It is very frustrating. I decided to use it tonight for what the scope is famous for, planetary images. The full moon would make deep sky imaging a pain anyway. Time for a break.

I am glad I did. I have not really used this scope much for planets, but that may be changing. This thing is absolutely razor sharp. This image of Jupiter is almost exactly what the eye sees, during periods of clear viewing. Three moons are also visible.

My image does show a bit of atmospheric refraction (the red/blue on the edges of the planet), but this is due to Jupiter's low position in the sky. It has nothing to do with the optics.

I guess the little MN66 stays for a while longer.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Very Full M31

This is one of the better M31 images I have taken. It is 6 ten minute images at ISO 800 taken with my Orion 100mm F6 refractor and my Canon 300D DSLR.

The big spiral galaxy, M31, also known as the Andromeda Galaxy, is our closest major intergalactic neighbor. It is speculated that it is on a collision course with our galaxy, to occur billions of years from now. The two smaller elliptical galaxies are M110 and M32. They orbit around their larger brother M31.

M31 can be spotted by the naked eye very easily, but the sky must be reasonably dark. It is a large hazy patch about the same size as the full moon. This galaxy is located near the square of the constellation Pegasus.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Iris Nebula

This is a relatively obscure nebula, but can be seen in a scope as small as 80mm if you know what to look for. NGC 7023 or the Iris Nebula, as it is commonly called, is a hot blue star surrounded by a dusty dark nebula cloud. The star peeks out at us through a hole in this cloud, giving this deep sky object a unique appearance.

This image is 7 ten minute exposures taken with my 300D through my Orion 100mm F6 achro refractor. All shot at ISO 800. It could use some more exposure time, but my battery died and so far the weather has not cooperated.

A Wide View of the Eagle Nebula

The Eagle Nebula, also known as Messier 16, is a dusty star forming region nestled in the summer Milky Way. It is a large cloud of interstellar dust coalescing into stars, of which the main portion resembles an eagle in flight at first glance. If you look closely, you may just make it out.

I took this through my Orion 100mm F6 achromatic refractor using my Canon 300D DSLR. It is a composite of 4 ten minute sub-exposures at ISO 800.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An Hour of the Veil

I took this several nights back. It is an hour total exposure time, with 8 minute subexposures. All shot at ISO 1600 using my CAnon 300D and my Orion 100mm F6 achromatic refractor. This region is known as the " Witch's Broom" or the "Finger of God" because of it's visual resemblance. It is the remains of the pressure wave from a long past supernova explosion of a nearby star.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lagoon and Trifid

I shot this image of the Lagoon and Trifid Nebula's using the Stellarvue Nighthawk II and my Canon DSLR. I do not remember the statistics, only that it was 6 minute subs at ISO 1600. It illustrates the wide field available with this scope, though there is some definite curvature towrds the extreme edges of the field. It is a FAST achro, after all.

First Light for New Scope

Over the course of my birthday last week, I ended up with a new telescope. A very nice little Stellarvue Nighthawk II 80mm F6 refractor. It is not an Apo, but is a very, very good achromat with a hand figured lens. I shot this image of the Veil Nebula with it. It is 56 minutes total exposure time with 8 minute subs, using my Canon 300D at ISO 1600.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Lagoon Madness!

The madness continues... I shot the Lagoon again, only using the Orion 100mm F6 achro and my Canon DSLR. It is a stack of 5 six minute sub-exposures at 1600 iso, all autoguided by my little 80mm F5 and DSI Pro. The moon was out was really bright. It sort of washed out the image.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Lagoon and Trifid

I did this wide angle shot of thr Lagoon Nebula region with my DSLR and a 135mm lens. It is 12 minutes of exposure time median stacked shot piggyback on my MN66.

Jupiter and Two Moons

This is a bit different for me, I normally don't do planets much. I shot this with a 3x barlow, LPI, and my Intes Micro MN66. Jupiter was a bit low, so there is a bit of atmospheric refraction in the image.

Friday, June 20, 2008

First Light with the MN66

I shot this image of the Dumb-bell Nebula last night under a full moon, and a pretty stiff wind. Other than the colors being a bit washed out, it did not come out too bad. After several false starts, this is the first real image I have made using my new MN66 Maksutov-Newtonian Telescope. It seems to be a decent combo with the Orion CCD.

This image is a 9 minute LRGB composite, guided with the DSI-Pro. (The wind did make some little ovally stars).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Center of the Lagoon

The Lagoon Nebula is a very large star forming region. It is noticeable to the naked eye this time of year as a fuzzy patch near the area where Scorpius meets the Milky Way. I shot this monochrome image of it using my Starshoot camera. The cluster overpowered my poor little achro refractor, and the color version did not turn out quite so well. It is made of a stack of 15 four minute images binned 2x2, deconvolved in MaximDL.

Another View of the Sunflower

While I was taking comparison images with the new camera, I shot this image of the Sunflower Galaxy. Compare it with the earlier ones I did through different scopes with the DSLR and the DSI. I picked up a bit of Chromatic Aberration from the scope I used, a 100mm Orion F6 Achro Refractor. It is a very good scope optically, but it does show some color.

This image is over an hour of combined imaging time, with 3 minute subs. All de-convolved and noise reduced after a median stack.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Ring...

Here is the Ring Nebula, M57. Named for its appearance to a large glowing ring. It is, actually, pretty small through a telescope, but it does look quite a bit like this to the naked eye, with the exception of the red portions. I took this through my SN10 using my Orion DSCI. Ha! it is 57 twenty second images. Came out pretty well except for some weirdness going on with the stars that seems to be a result of the stacking process. This is one of the classic Messier Objects, which most everyone has seen at one point in photographs.

It is, in reality, a star throwing off a massive dust and gas cloud as it dies. If you look close, you can see it in the middle.

The Bad Seeing Continues...

Here is a test shot I did of M82 when I first got the new DSCI Camera. It is 36 images thirty second images binned and an equal number un-binned, deconvolved and resized into this LRGB image. Got a lot of data, too bad it looks like you are looking at it through murky pond water. This is the effect of bad atmospheric conditions.

Still a decent image though.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Murky NGC 2903

I shot this image a few nights back when this galaxy, NGC 2903, was very low in the sky. I had to fight some skyglow and bad seeing. I did not get as much detail out of it as I wish I could have. It is 46 RGB images, and 40 Luminance images stacked and deconvolved. All images shot at 40 seconds each with my Starshoot DSCI 1.

Here is the Luminance image. I rather like it a bit better.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Maxim DL Difference...

I have not used MaximDL alot, but have started now because the new Orion DSCI needs it. I downloaded a copy of the Fat Tail Deconvolution script for it. This is the greatest thing ever! It really does a great job and doesn't add to the image noise. Here are a few images redone that you can compare with the regular Van Cittert method.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

M94 Again!

I re-shot M94 with my new Starshoot CCD, just to compare it with it's cousin, the DSI-Pro. This image is 68 stacked 30 second images with 15 iterations of Maximum Entropy deconvolution. Turned out much different than the DSI version.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy with New CCD

I took this image of the Whirpool Galaxy with the new Orion Starshoot DSCI camera. It is 35 images of 30 second duration using the default camera settings. I got this camera to use as a second guider, but this cam looks like it may be pretty good to use by itself. Much better in my opinion than the DSI one shot color, and it seems to give the DSI Pro a serious run for it's money.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

First Light for New Guide Camera

I picked up several new things here lately. One of which is an old first generation Orion Starshoot DSCI I plan to use for guide cam duty. I have always wanted to play with one of these, but never have.

The moon was full and very bright, so I picked a relatively bright target for it's first shot. I picked the globular star cluster M3. This image is 50 ten second images stacked using the default values of the camera. Focus was off slightly, will have to do better next time.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Scope coming on-line!

This is a very unusual post in that I do not yet have a photo for it. I have traded off the little Intes-Micro M500 Maksutov Cassegrain for its big brother, an MN66 Maksutov Newtonian. The M500 was great, but the MN66 should do a little better for some imaging I would like to try. I will post more when it is finally set-up.

Owl Redux

I redid my photo of the Owl Nebula. The colors are much better now. I don't remember the specs on this image, but I know it was done with my DSI-Pro and CMY filters through my old M500.

Monday, May 12, 2008

M66 - Last with the DSI-C

This is to be my last image with my DSI-Color. I have traded it for an Orion Starshoot. We will have to see how it works out.

This galaxy is M66. It is part of what is known as the Leo Trio. This trio is made up of NGC 3228, M65, and this galaxy, M66. It is a barred spiral galaxy with hints of an active nucleus. My image is 42 thirty second images stacked. Shot unguided.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Globular Cluster M13

Globular Clusters are great orb-like masses of stars in orbit around our galaxy. They are almost like a mini galaxy, only they are made up of typically a single type of star (usually hot blue stars) and they lack any gas or dust. What lies in their center is anyone's guess. If you lived on a planet there, your night sky would be an incredible star filled wonder, and night would probably not be dark like it is here. A large halo of these clusters circles our galaxy, and M13 is one of the more impressive ones.

My image is a stack of about 15 images varying from 5secs to 3 minutes, shot with my Canon 300D at ISO 1600 using my SN-10 telescope.

Messier 100

I took this image of M100 shortly after I did the M104 Sombrero picture. Even with twice the number of subs, the atmospheric conditions had already changed for the worst. This image shows it in it's lack of fine detail. It is a stack of 55 thirty second images with the DSI-C shot through my SN-10.

This galaxy is a fairly reliable producer of supernovas (exploding stars). Several have been recorded, with the most recent being SN2006X in 2006. There is one still visible in this photo. It is called SN1979C, and it is visible below and to the left of the nucleus, near the tip of the bright portion of the lower spiral arm. This is a rare type of supernova that is still glowing brightly nearly 30 years after it was discovered, while SN2006X has long faded. However, you cannot see it with your eyes. You would need X-Ray eyes, as it glows mostly in the X-ray spectrum.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My New Sombrero...

I took this image of M104 "The Sombrero Galaxy" a few nights ago. Seeing was exceptionally good, and I got lot's of detail on the ring structure of this galaxy. No one really knows exactly what kind of galaxy this is, as it has characteristics of both spirals and ellipticals. It appears to be an elliptical surrounded by a spiral ring seen from the edge.

This images is 25 thirty second images stacked from my DSI-C.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Flaming Star, Part 2

I redid my photo of the Flaming Star Nebula that I took with my SN10 and my DSLR. It brought out a lot more detail, but is still not perfect.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Added Some Color to the Eyeball...

Here is my DSI shot of spiral galaxy M94, but this time I added some color data. It is made of 18 frames of 30 sec LRGB with my DSI-C shot through my 10" schmidt-newtonian telescope, unguided. I was going to use the luminance from the earlier DSI-Pro shot, but this one actually turned out a bit better.