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Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/12/18 in all areas

  1. 25 points
    A surprise clear sky tonight pursuaded me to get the 12 inch dob set up. Wispy cloud now and then but the impromptu session delivered some good galaxy viewing in the Coma / Virgo area and also Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and Draco. Nice run down (or is it up ?) the Markarian's Chain with 11 galaxies showing then headed up for the Black Eye Galaxy and others in Coma B. Back to the fringes of our own galaxy for the Messier 3 globular cluster (Messier's first actual discovery apparently). On to Ursa Major practically overhead so M51 was showing two strong cores and more than a hint of spiral structure. M101 also showing well as a large somewhat unevenly illuminated patch with hints of a knotty structure. Ursa Minor and Draco revealed more galaxies (didn't note which I'm ashamed to say) but the Cat's Eye Nebula looked very bright and sharply defined with it's central star gleaming. Hercules had cleared the conifers so M13 and M92 globulars could not be ignored. Both looking wonderful at 199x and 265x - close to their photographic images with the 12 inches of aperture. Backing off the magnification a little to catch galaxy NGC 6207 in the same field of view as M13. Finished the session with the good old Ring Nebula as Lyra moved out of the Bristol skyglow and finally a Summer favourite - Albireo in Cygnus, with strongly contrasting coloured stars despite it's relatively low altitude. Post-session Googling found this very recent Sky & Telescope piece on the Markarian's Chain which might be helpful for those who wish to explore this rich area of the sky - and now is the time to do that ! https://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/yanking-markarians-chain/
  2. 23 points
    Last weekend I went on a trip to a UK bortle 2 location and because I wanted the Blue Horsehead Nebula so much I decided to give it a try. Eq3 Pro, Canon 700D astro modified Samyang 135mm f2 @ f2.8, IDAS LPS-D1 clip in filter, QHY5 guide camera, 9x50 finder-guider, QhyCCD polemaster. Location: Woodland Caravan Park, Pontarfynach, Wales, Bortle 2 Date: 05.05.2019 The image is the result of 21x180sec ISO800 exposures stacked and calibrated in DSS and processed with Photoshop CC 2019 and Lightroom CC. Emil
  3. 20 points
    This is the 2nd shot from my recent trip to the dark sky location . approx 51 images stacked @ 20secs a mix of ISO 3200,6500 & 10000 Sonya7RII Tokina F2 20mm Firin Lens Milkyway by Danny Kenealy, on Flickr
  4. 20 points
    Hi SGL folks - I haven't posted for a long while & tbh we haven't managed very much imaging this year for a number of reason so far...equipment hassles but mainly clouds...clouds & more clouds! We had to resort to the venerable ASI224MC last week where the seeing was pretty decent - here's an image from that morning (26th March) as well as a 24-frame reversing animation using WinJupos to interpolate additional frames to complement the number of captures we actually took by making additional frames from adjacent captures... We also lashed out & bought a Stellarvue 10x60 finder scope & mounted it on a SkyWatcher adjustable alt/az guidescape mount which is secured via a dovetail bar & clamp to an extra "rail" I constructed from 3mm thick folded aluminium -this device to come in useful for hunting down Neptune more easily later in the year. Lastly I converted an old aluminium pier with detachable legs to accept the EQ8 head with a plate I made from a piece of scrap plate aluminium - the ability to break this all down into 4 very light & small pieces (3 legs & the pier column) means it is much simpler & far lighter/easy to take with us & assemble...the 3 self-levelling adjustable height feet I purchased for the legs makes levelling the entire setup much simpler, it's a veritable breeze now & weighs so much less than the very heavy stock steel EQ8 tripod! Hopefully the animated gif won't need clicking on to start its motion!
  5. 18 points
    Between work/family/really poor cloud cover when I might have gotten out, the sad fact is that this was my 1st night out this year with my 15"! It has been eating me to see the darkness eroding away and we have the daylight saving time change coming up next weekend... so I was like a kid getting out last night - it was a beautifully clear blue sky all evening. With my recently washed mirrors, I threw the scope in the car and headed for a little spot on the coast 10mins from my house. Hmmm... "ceilings" of fog were appearing in my headlights as I drove down - I feared this but kept going. When I got to my spot I was dismayed by a security light on a house maybe 400m away which seemed to be aimed at me, and there was a whitish glow to the sky due to new cursed LED lighting in a nearby town catching the thin fog. This was not going to be a night of great transparency or contrast, but hey I just wanted to use my scope! With a tinge of sadness, I noted Orion low in the west - i never really got to study it this year. First target: M81 in the 17E, and swapping to the N31T5 for M81/M82. Hmmm transparency and contrast really wasn't great as expected, but still the views felt rewarding. On to the Sombrero, M104, with the 17E, and that dramatic dust lane! I swung over to the Black Eye, M64, with the characteristic dark patch showing. Then I tried for the Antennae Galaxies, NGC4038/39 - quite low in the haze, but could detect the two cores - a first time on this target for me, so chuffed! After a brief look at M90, I went for the Siamese Twins galaxies NGC4567/68, with NGC4564 nearby. Another first for me, and I definitely need to revisit in better conditions - looked really good Then it was up to Makarian's Chain and panning around noting so many galaxies, without trying to figure out their names or list them. It is just amazing to be viewing a multitude of galaxies in the same FOV around Virgo/Coma B. Next I went for the Spindle NGC3115, and then the beautiful edge-on, the Silver Needle NGC4244. At this stage it was increasingly foggy, and I wanted to get back to my wife, and not be too late. So I started to pack up and switched on my large white torch - wow - I was choked in fog: it's amazing I saw anything!! Short and sweet session, only an hour long and not fully dark adapted, plus not ideal conditions, but hey, I got out and got to use my scope and saw a few galaxies!! Glad I did it One thing is clear though: I need to find a better relatively local spot to observe from - the light pollution is getting too bad...
  6. 17 points
  7. 16 points
    I haven't come across this rather small and distant galaxy (NGC3294), so I thought I would give it a go ! At a distance of about 98 million light years, NGC3294 is located in the constellation Leo Minor. From Earth it occupies c2 x 1 arc minutes of sky, so its apparent size is quite small. It's a spiral galaxy with a slight bar at its center. I also captured a few other background galaxies, which I've annotated below. I picked out one of the background galaxies NGC3304 (top left) for a separate crop since it looked a rather interesting bonus capture. I could only find one estimate its distance (c300 million light years), so it was pleasing to have captured a little detail. The LRGB image below represent 16 hours integration time and was taken with my Esprit 150. Alan LIGHTS: L:39, R:19, G:18, B:20 x 600s, DARKS:30, BIAS:100, FLATS:40 all at -20C. Wide field Wide field (annotated) NGC3294 (crop) NGC3304 (crop)
  8. 16 points
    Did some more galaxy hunting over the last two nights with the Esprit 150 on the Mesu 200. Here are 5 hours spent on this triplet using the ASI071 (OSC) (62 x 5 min, gain 200, offset 30, -15°C). The moon was out but on the other side of the sky so it did not cause any gradients. However, seeing was not the best. I post both the full frame and a rotated crop. I think I am now getting to the lower size limit of what can be successfully imaged with a 6" refractor with a 1050 mm FL, at least with this pixel size (4.78 um). In any case we are also rapidly running out of astrodarkness up here.
  9. 15 points
    Waiting for darkness , had a shot at the terminator. Rock steady at x240. Looked like a quad bike had been driving over some of it. Lovely to pick out rills and wrinkles. Huge owl landed on a nearby chimney top. Then went searching neighbour's conifer , probably scared a blackbird who flew out in alarm, well dark. Well being Sqm 19.05. Very bright view of NGC 3242 "ghost of Jupiter" in Hydra, really is ghostly. Tried NGC 5856, came across a multiple +6 star, that's it. Eventually ended up with a lovely view of M5 in Serpens Caput. Lovely to resolve the outer, a concentrated core appears in one of the largest and oldest of globular clusters (13 B.years). Back to binaries as the sky stayed bright with the setting moon. Alkalurops in Bootes gives a lovely triple , the B splits to give 1.8" split. Delta Bootis although wide foes give a yellow and blue. Have at look at Y Canum venaticorum (" La Superba") it's a bright red glowing coal just now. In Hercules , tried for IC 4593 a +10.8 planetary Nebula, which blinked well in the star field . Also caught a brighter planetary ,NGC 6210. Almost got caught up in deep sky, before returning to the challenging red supergiant Rasalgethi and bright Sarin. Some joy in seeking out the faint companions. Got chilly and dome high light cloud moved in . Another thrilling session under clear skies ! Nick.
  10. 15 points
    I have used the Esprit 150 to hunt galaxies again, now between clouds over two recent nights. This time aiming at M100 and 32 neighboring galaxies, being inspired by the recent refractor images posted by @ollypenrice and @Tom OD. I spent quite some time on finding a framing that would include as many galaxies as possible. Not sure it was the estetically most pleasing framing as it left the centre rather empty, but why not. I was slightly surprised by how small M100 is. Smaller than some NGC galaxies that I have recently imaged. Camera was ASI071 (an APS-C sized OSC) set at gain 200, offset 30, -15°C. Totally 85 x 5 min (so just over 7 hours) stacked in PI and processed in PS. Mount: Mesu 200. I also post an annotaded version made in PI.
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