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Found 22 results

  1. From the album: Kevin Hurleys Deep Space Objects

    M65, M66 and NGC 3628 - The Leo Triplet. Photographed on May 14. Skywatcher 150P with a Nikon D3200 at prime focus. EQ3-2 mount with RA motor drive (no guiding). 19 subs at ISO 800 - 30s each. Aligned and stacked in Deep Sky Stacker to give resulting 4min 30s exposure. Processed in Startools to crop, bin, stretch and colour balance. This was my second time around to process this image - starting to get the hang of Startools now.
  2. AKB

    2x9x60s LeoMosaic

    From the album: 20170402 EAA

    Two panel mosaic made with Microsoft ICE. 2 x 9 x 60 seconds.
  3. Coco

    LEO TRIPLET

    From the album: Coco'c Mono LRGB

    28 Lum 600 second 1x1 20 Red 300 second 2x2 20 Green 300 second 2x2 20 Blue 300 second 2x2 Stacked in Astroart , tweaked in Pixinsight & Photoshop..
  4. IanL

    Leo Triplet

    From the album: Deep Sky

    Imaging: Sky-Watcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro, Sky-Watcher 0.85x Reducer, Canon EOS 500D (Unmodified), Hutech IDAS LPS P2 2", APT Guiding: Orion ST80, QHY 5, PHD guiding Mount: Sky-Watcher NEQ6, EQMod, AstroTortilla Processing: PixInsight Dates: March 2, 2013 Lights : 19 x 600" ISO 400

    © Copyright Ian Lauwerys, All Rights Reserved.

  5. After a day of mixed weather skies looked very clear Thursday 11/3 so headed out around 9pm to take advantage of a moonless night. Walking in straight from bright lights seeing & transparency were looking good - double cluster & beehive were naked eye visible with direct vision and some Messier dustiness in Auriga with an averted view. I had a vague plan to have a proper go at the Leo Triplet & had spent a bit of time on stellarium to plan how to star-hop in via Chertan & L73. First though I North aligned SynScan on Sirius and Mars (the top 2 suggestions thrown up by the app) & slewed to the the Pleiades to check alignment, which was good. Couldn't resist having a look at the double cluster from there which was so crisp and deep, then via M34 also looking good, to M42 (of course). The Orion nebula was the best I've seen it yet, looking directly at the Trapezium I could see 5 stars & real cloudy swirls above and below, panning upward there was a hint of dust in the running man area, couldn't discern the running man shape, but haven't seen this much before. Moving on up, Sigma Orionis was such a perfect little system & I toyed with the idea of binning galaxy hunting altogether and going after some close Doubles - Sirius even looked quite steady. I resisted as dark adaption was by now starting to work, before leaving the area though I had a quick go at finding M79, a low-down globular in Lepus most of which constellation was just about visible merging into the LP above the centre of town to the South. I keyed it into the GoTo & was surprised by a short slew to the E. Looking in the eyepiece I saw...something, very faint, grey glow around two dim fuzzy stars with a hint of dark lane between, not the expected Globular - checking again it turned out that I had entered M78 by mistake but there it was, a bonus nebula - not visually spectacular but nice to find & fascinating to look-up later. I made a quick sketch to confirm and tried for M79, but no, far too low by now. I figured night vision was by now good enough to have a crack at the Leo Triplet and took a GoTo to Regulus & centred. I had manually added Chertan and 73 Leonis to the app and duly centred them to get the best possible local alignment. Putting L73 in the top L of the field I should be able to pick up M66 bottom right. I couldn't be sure so moved in a pattern around & picked up a fuzz patch. Small adjustments gave me a field with two luminous patches to L & R with a star at the top, I couldn't work this out and they were faint enough to be on the borders of imagination. Everything passed behind a bank of thin cloud for a few moments and I used the time to sketch (incredibly roughly) what I had seen so far. As the cloud cleared away it weirdly helped confirm that the two luminous patches were absolutely real & I gave them a bit more concentrated attention with averted vision. As I did so a third area top R of field made itself vaguely apparent. My expectation management on galaxies is now starting to get a bit more realistic so I let this one sit for a while and added its general position to my sketch. Still baffled by the field related to what I was sure was L73 I made as good a sketch as I could of both the EP & finder fields for later confirmation ( struggling with glasses on/off, red headtorch & not wanting to fire up the bright phone app as magnitude was so marginal). I took a last long look and resolved to figure it out with the atlas & app back home. I later realised that what I had done is, after panning around, manage to confuse the star L73 with a fainter close by star (HD98388-apparently) and had absolutely been looking at all three galaxies in the Leo Triplet - the sketch, although crude, gave me no doubt that I had landed in the right spot this time, just the satisfaction was deferred until I was back inside - something I am fast learning goes with the territory of galaxy hunting with a small scope! 36 Million light years though, a new personal space-travel record I moved on to other Leo Messier galaxies & took a quick look at M95 & M96 which I found relatively easily, a dim pair of headlights but no detail, then wandered across to Makarian's chain and marvelled at the sheer number of little fuzzy signatures that wouldn't resolve to points. Concentration was waning a bit by this stage so I decided to save trying to identify precisely what I was seeing to another night when I could be out later and see them higher out of the murk. I finished with the Mak back on M81 & 2 which looked bright by comparison and gave hints of some spiral & shading detail on this night of exceptional transparency - amazing crisp view with them both in the widest field the Mak can deliver (just over 1 degree with a 24mm Baader Hyperion fixed, 63x). As I packed up the scope the naked eye panorama was just fab and seemed after so much dim fuzzy concentration, incredibly bright. I finished with a 15 minute tour of open clusters with a pair of 10x50s that was really stunning. So many stars in the double cluster, the Alpha Perseii , Pleiades, Hyades & Orion's belt just gorgeous whilst the Beehive lived up to its name like a swarm of fireflies. Starting to enjoy galaxy hunting for its own sake but for sheer beauty the binoculars had it tonight. A great couple of hours that left my mind in time & space for a long while after I got back. M78: Leo Triplet:
  6. I shot luminance for this trio of galaxies in December and after two clear nights in January I managed to get RGB as well. Larger image can be found in my blog: https://www.evenfall.space/post/galactic-waltz Gear: SkyWatcher Esprit 100mm f/5.5 ASI1600MM-C EQ6 guided with ASI224MC TS Optics LRGB filters. L: 196x120s, R: 60x120s, G: 72x120s, B: 60x120s. Total integration time approx. 13 hours.
  7. The Leo Triplet - a target that I needed to image again as previous efforts haven't really done it justice. This is the most successful attempt so far, largely thanks to the ZWO ASI1600MC Pro camera and by giving it plenty of exposure with not too much gain making for a smoother background and bringing out dust lanes and other details in the galaxies. 014 x 090 second exposures at 161 Gain cooled to -20°C 081 x 090 second exposures at Unity Gain (139) cooled to -20°C 010 x 120 second exposures at Unity Gain (139) cooled to -20°C 016 x 180 second exposures at Unity Gain (139) cooled to -20°C Total integration time = three hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds 149 x dark frames 116 x flat frames 200 x bias/offset frames Captured with APT Guided with PHD2 Processed in Nebulosity, Fitsworks, and Photoshop Equipment Telescope: Sky-Watcher Explorer-150PDS Mount: Skywatcher EQ5 Guide Scope: Orion 50mm Mini Guiding Camera: ZWO ASI120MC Imaging Cameera: ZWO ASI1600MC Pro Baader Mark-III MPCC Coma Corrector Light pollution filter
  8. Leo Triplet (M65, M66, and NGC 3628), The Leo Triplet is a small group of galaxies about 35 million light-years away in the constellation Leo. large version at astrobin https://www.astrobin.com/391520/ Date: 4th January and 2nd February 2019 Mount: Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro Telescope: Orion 10" f/3.9 Newtonian Astrograph Camera: Nikon D5300 self modded full spectrum Total exposure: ~3 hours Subs : 300sx36, Flats, Bias, Darks ISO: 400 Guide Scope: Orion 50mm Guide Cam: ASI120MM Filter: Optolong UV/IR cut Corrector: Baader MPCC Mark III Coma Corrector Capturing: digiCamControl Guiding: PHD2 Stacking: Deep Sky Stacker Processing: Pixinsight/Photoshop Location: Ridiyagama, Sri Lanka thank you and clear skies.
  9. I wasn't going to share this, but what the heck. The winter of discontent continues, so i guess even this little data has to constitute an image these days. After what seemed like an age of night after night of clouds, we had a rare few hrs of clear skies one night last week. So i managed to grab a whopping 9 x 7 mins of the Horsehead Nebula before it disappeared behind the neighbor's house. I then needed something else to aim for, so i brought up the Leo Triplet Sequence in SGP and managed to nab about 2.75 hrs in total, before the clouds returned. It really, really needs double, if not triple this amount, so i wasn't really intending on processing this tbh. I was really just messing about in APP and PS testing several things out, so there was no proper workflow being adhered to. I took an Auto DDP stretch out of APP and quickly processed it in PS, without much care. I noticed it was lacking in colour, so i thought this would actually be a good candidate to try out some ArcSinh Colour-Preserving stretches, so i took another linear stack and used Mark Shelley's excellent PS method for doing the colour-preserving stretches. Lo and behold, i ended up with a stack that was very rich in colour, so much so in fact that the sky background had also mottled up pretty bad. So i used a mask to only apply the rich colours to the stars and galaxies of the original image, and it made a HUGE difference. It was only at this stage that i suddenly thought i might as well actually go ahead and make an image out of it. I really want to stretch it more, but it just can't take it. There's just not enough data, end of story. In fact i may have already stretched it too far as it is. The background is a tad lower than i would have liked as well, but it was needed to help suppress the noise. I've ran quite a bit of NR too, more than i'm usually comfortable with, and it's still noisy. I know what the answer to that is of course, more data! ? (not likely). I do quite like the colours though ? Feedback welcome. 24 x 420s (2.75 hrs) 80ED (x0.85), D5300, HEQ5-Pro, IDAS-D1. Resized to 66% to help hide some of the warts!
  10. While waiting for the sky to clear here in Sweden and galaxy season to start I have been fiddling around with data from last season. The first one is M51 data from Ole Alexander Ødegård (aka Xplode) that I added to some wider star field data that I had. I like the feeling of space around the galaxy while there is some rather nice detail that allows a zoom in. Altogether 4 h of data, most of it from Ole's TS 12" Imaging Newtonean (f/4) with a modded Canon 6D. The other is my own Leo Triplet data, and only about 1 hour of it but I think it turned out rather ok (5" ES Apo with a Canon 60Da). Comments are always welcome of course Cheers
  11. Had a good night last night: M101 Pinwheel Galaxy and M66 Leo Triplet Both 20 x 180s Light, 20 Flats, PHD2 guiding using Altair GP-CAM, Nikon D3200 prime focus I didn't notice the cover wasn't fully on so the darks were spoiled, so will have to do them again once the temp is down to -1C tonight. This will help the re-processing to reduce the noise and there are hot pixels in there. But I'm happy with the light frames.
  12. Well not strictly a first attempt but the first time I've really made a note of what I'm doing and also a had a new toy to play with (6" f5 newtonian) Leo triplet - largely as a test of my new scope. Skywatcher 150pds, Exos 2 (EQ5) unguided, Canon 500d, ISO 800, a single 60 second exposure (I've not got to grips with stacking yet!) Given there's no guiding, no processing, no stacking, it's a cheap mount and it was near to a full moon I'm not too disappointed with that. The next steps are to work out how to process multiple exosures properly and clean up the hot pixels from my camera, rebuild the mount to make it run more smoothly and most significantly piggy back my ST80 so I can use it for guiding.
  13. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, we have finally been able to get our dual rig up and running. The rig consists of two William Optics Star 71s - one is a Mark I (5 element) and the other is a Mark II (4 element). They have identical focal length and FOV. Cameras are a Moravian G2-8300 and an Atik 383L. Filters are Baaders. The rig sits on top of a new SkyWatcher EQ6-R. The object chosen was somewhat random - the Leo Triplet - just to check everything was aligned, orthogonal and so on. This was, in hindsight, not the best choice since the Triplet soon started dipping into the light polluted part of my sky. I got only a hint of the tidal tail - possibly because of the LP, possibly because I stuck (mostly) to 5 minute exposures as I was testing the rig. On the second night I did get some 15 minute luminance exposures, but I did not get sufficient (I think) to bring out the tail. I am grateful to @swag72 on two counts. Firstly, she talked me into keeping the faith with the Star 71s (I was going to get an Esprit 80 and work around the different FOVs). Secondly, she suggested I try the (relatively inexpensive) EQ6-R (I had been thinking about an Avalon). Data: Luminance: 44x300" bin 1x1 Luminance: 10x900" bin 1x1 Red: 15x300" bin 1x1 Green: 15x300" bin 1x1 Blue: 15x300" bin 1x1 This amounts to 9 hours 55 minutes captured over 2 (and a bit) indifferent nights - at present I am only getting around 4 hours of 'Astro dark' per night. [EDIT: Please note there are (hopefully) improved versions a couple of posts below.]
  14. I hope you all have been able to take advantage of the last few clear, if a bit murky nights :-) I did, and after reminding myself how to use my equipment (by aligning on a random star I thought was Regulus and spending an hour switching on/off again LOLOL) ........I managed to get some "ok" images of the the Leo Triplet - an object I've always liked for its eerie looking galaxies, their foggy arms hiding some sinister alien civilization, plotting their course for the Milky Way...lol This is the first time I've imaged this object with my mono camera (ASI1600MM) I always thought mono imaging was going to be such a pain having to wait numerous nights before I got enough data - but it really piles up fast once you get going doesn't it!? Fantastic - 3.4hrs in two nights - smooth. Here's my contribution - no need to critique - I know they're pretty much poop compared to most I've seen on here - the skies weren't great, and its the best I could do LOL Details Object name Leo Triplet Object ID M65, M66 and NGC 3628 Date(s) 21 and 24 March, 2017 Telescope Altair 115mm Camera ASI1600MM Luminance 8x5 min / 30x2 min / 1.6 hrs Red 7x5 min / 35 min Green 6x5 min / 30 min Blue 8x5 min / 40 min Ha 0 Oiii 0 Sii 0 Total time 3.4 hours Frames 0 Processing PixInsight / fully calibrated lights / Levels / Curves / SCNR only Notes The skies were not outstanding on either night of imaging this object. I am surprised at how good it turned out considering this. There is an awful lot of vignetting on the luminance subs which was improved by reducing the exposure time from 300 to 120 seconds. Alignment of the mount was problematic each night – because I kept aligning on the wrong star! Really must remember that when looking for a 1.4 magnitude star you WILL know it when it appears in on the screen – brighter than anything else besides another <1.4 magnitude star! :-)
  15. .... Or so it seemed there were certainly enough horses around me! The clouds decided to budge outta the way at 11ish but I was still a bit busy sorting some things out and finished up by midnight. Work the next day though so I was left with a dilemma... Well, common sense prevailed so I went out to do some astronomy! However, keeping it reasonably sensible (for a change) and rather than a standard marathon session I promised my good Wife I'd be out for only a short while. To keep things simple I packed my 80ed and camera tripod for an uber quick setup with only a couple of EPs - My 36mm Baader Aspheric and SW 22mm. This was going to end up a bit more a test really of what the 80ED can do with a little bit more darkness and more importantly further away from local LP and at least get out after the disappointment of Monday night's rubbish night where I packed up early having seen naff all due to rubbish transparency and woeful dew. I walked a bit further instead of going to my allotment which is reasonably dark and opting instead to go with my lightweight setup to Common Ground close by but at least going a little further away from light pollution. It does indeed make a difference! iPhone app SQM reader gave a reading of 20 and pretty sure I can improve on that going further out to the west (got a couple of locations earmarked that I can possibly cycle to just need to work out the logistics of carrying the scope). I entered the Common gates around 00:45 and there were quite a few horses mulling about doing whatever it is horses do at that time of night. Actually there were loads of them. I made may way through them without trying to startle them and made my way to the highest point at a reasonable distance away from them. After spending all of 1 minute setting up (gotta love a grab n go setup) - on to M101. Directly above me proved to be rather a challenge with such a setup and my 80ED focuser is starting to slip (need to tighten it up a bit) but really it is not too happy about gripping a 2" diagonal and a hefty 2" eyepiece. It was just about managing with the Baader EP but the SW 22mm was a no go (it's reasonably heaver) Perhaps for the future I'll stick to just taking my plossls and Orthos! Star hopped from Mizar following the line of bright stars 81, 83, 84 and 86 Uma directly to M101. Bang! There is was... M101: Thought this would be a challenge with the limited aperture but to be honest it showed much more clearly with the 36mm EP that I've ever seen it with the C8 in my allotment. A decent sized core surrounded by light haze. I tried my 22mm and managed to get it to hold for a little while with the thumbscrew tightening the focuser but it was still slipping if I didnt hold the whole thing up. With the 22mm (very briefly) I could make out a considerably brightening of the area and slight patchiness in contrast. It was too frustrating though to keep going so I went back to the lighter 36mm and observed it a while taking in the view before moving on to M97 and M108 M97 No filter required it was just about visible direct vision but much better with averted vision showing a small circular bit of fuzz. M108 a small fine light area the shape of it showing more easily with averted vision as an extented oblong however I could not see any detail outside of the core. M65 / M66 distinct spiral galaxy form long oblong both showing a considerably brighter central core with the 36mm. Fascinating to see them within the context of such a large FOV. With the 22mm the area outside the core was more more visible with the main core fading slightly away. NGC 3628 to make up the Leo triplet. Just visible with averted vision but a tricky customer! Long ghost like apparition that soon faded from view. Pleased to have got this one though with the 80mm frac! So my mission is to find a place where NGC 3628 is visible direct vision easily with the 80mm Close to mag 6 NELM required? I had a quick scan around Cygnus... So many stars! The Milky Way looked absolutely astounding with the wide field view of the 80mm scope and 36mm EP. I could not see the Veil with it but then I had no filter with me and it was still rather low down. Naked eye the Milky Way was just about visible although this should be better in a month or so. I spent a little while just bombing around the area of the Milky Way with a big cheesy grin on my face. Well that was it it was close 1:45am and I packed up my stuff. Not too far away I noticed I was being observed myself by 4 horses. I'd just got everything stuffed into my back pack and scope in its bag and they decided to make a bee-line for me. Good job I'd decided to pack up as possibly horses and optical equipment don't mix terribly well. Still, It was a shame to have to go on such a wondrously clear night that wasn't freezing but I think I may now make another trip further out to get even darker.
  16. Finally a multi clear night run here on the coast! I love being able to leave everything set up for days and really getting some quality photons. This beautiful and favorite triple threat of mine is getting a bit to far west to image proper for me so I thought I'd give it a go now while I can. I was only able to get about 8-10 keepers a night with just about 40 minutes of imaging till a tree started showing but luckily those came out great. Not as clear as predicted but well worth the effort. I wanted about 40 pictures and was able to capture 25 keepers so I'll take it. Lots of satellites showing up around this area of the sky just to make things interesting of course. Lost a few there. Here's the final results of the Leo Triplet. PHD2 guided 25-300 second lights @ ISO 800 15 darks 30 flats and 40 bias frames. Stacked in DSS and then levels abd curves in PS and a final tweek in LR Let me know what you think of the processing.
  17. Hi! My first post so I'm little nervous ;-) I'm still a beginner but I decided to show my work. Here are my photos taken in last 1,5 year with Nikon D7200, Sky Watcher 150/750 (Newton) telescope with Baader MPCC on HEQ5 SynScan mount with self-made bluetooth adapter and ASCOM jolo-focuser guided with 50/172 guider scope and QHY5LII Now I'm working on better post-processing and calibration of my photos... M51 20x300s ISO1600, 3x dark M97&M108 12x300s ISO1600, 3x dark NGC6960 20x300s ISO1600, 3x dark NGC7023 11x300s ISO800, 3x dark Leo Triplet 12x300s ISO800, 3x dark Best regards! Tomek
  18. The weather has been settled for the last 5 days or so, with pleasant Spring sunshine on most days. The ongoing battle of lighter evenings, resulting in later nights conflicting with 6 am wake up calls for dog walks mean that at the moment, opportunities for observing have to be carefully selected. The day and night of 18th April had an excellent forecast. Barely a cloud crossed the sky all day, but the breeze was very evident. I set up the dob out the back garden just after the sun set. The astronomy forecast was looking good with wind slightly decreasing through the night. Whereas the wind can prove to be a nuisance with seeing conditions sometimes, it does keep the dew away from the optics and Telrad. First task when I went outside was to line up the Telrad which I did on Jupiter. However, I noticed some very strange 'smearing' in the bright image. A collimation check with the laser collimater showed that the secondary was way out of line. Thankfully, one of the original upgrades I did on the scope was to fit thumbscrews to the secondary to make collimation much easier. Less than 2 minutes later, I was all aligned, up and running and ready for a great nights observing. The constellation of Leo had already risen high enough in the sky for me to see it in its entirety. There are two well known collections of galaxy target to look at in Leo. Both of them can be found across the belly and body of the lion. My first objects to look at were the Leo Triplet of M65, M66 and NGC 3628. The galaxies clearly through the eyepiece of the telescope. The moonless night and very good seeing conditions meant that they were easily picked out against the darker background of the night sky. The Leo triplet were one of the first collections of galaxies I looked at through the new dob, and at over magnitude 9 shows what the scope is capable of. It gives an excellent benchmark. The other well know collection of targets in Leo that were next on my list were part of the Leo group of galaxies, M95, M96, M105 and NGC 3384. These are two spiral galaxies and two elliptical galaxies. The 4 targets were a little too big to fit in a single field of view using the 32mm Panaview eyepiece. I made a brief sketch in my notebook which showed M95 as I looked at the collection was just above and left of the field of view as I looked through the eyepiece. At first, I didn't really know for sure what target was what, especially taking into account the strange things two mirrors and a bunch of lenses in the eyepiece does by flipping the image back and forth. However, from the sketch in the notebook, and using Stellarium, I was able to confirm the targets after the session. Up until that point, the session had been spent re-visiting targets that I had seen before. With nothing planned for Sunday, and good clear weather forecast all night, I knew that I could take my time. This proved to be a good thing given the amount of light pollution caused by the neighbours insecurity light in his back garden. I knew that it would be a test of will and patience, From my semi-reclined position, slumped in my camping chair next to the scope, I decided that I plenty of both. During that time, I noticed the constellation of Virgo had also climbed above the roof tops and was now easily view-able. I set about looking through my Telrad charts and star atlas to look for more targets. The first new target for the night was M100. It's a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Coma Berenices just above Leo and Virgo. Though slightly less well known than the other constellations to many, it is the home to another vast array of targets, many of which are beyond the limit of even the SBT! Taken from my notes from the evening... "Faint but with defined almost perfect round core in centre". The core was easily picked out against the smudge of the rest of the structure, in turn showing up nicely against the blackness of the surrounding sky. M99 is another spiral galaxy in the same constellation. It's is of higher magnitude than nearby M100 meaning that it appears dimmer through the eyepiece. Again, back to the notes from the evening... "Slightly dimmer than M100. Appears smaller too. Possibly see structure @25 mm but hard to say for sure." For this target, I changed the to the 25 mm BST eyepiece. I expected to lose some of the brightness of the structure, but I couldn't really detect any loss in quality of the image. It is a target that I would like to return to in the future and spend more time observing at different magnifications. Now, onto the highlight of the observing night for me. My notebook gives a little description of what it was like. But, there was so much more going on in the eyepiece. I had switched back to the 2 inch Panaview eyepiece ready to start observing around Virgo. "Virgo - wow! Counted 9 other galaxies + possibly more! Just amazing. Problem with big dob here - too much to see." The three constellations of Leo, Virgo and Coma Berenices hide vast riches of galaxies and other targets. A positive treasure trove of targets for galaxy hunters with big light bucket gathering dobsonians. So, here's the list of targets I think I observed. It's very hard to be absolutely sure at my skill level, without the help of a computer or Go To abilities to positively confirm the targets, but I've done the best I can. M88, M86, M84, M87, M89, M90, M59, M58, M60 and M91. This is certainly an area of the sky that I will be revisiting at the earliest opportunity. Also, hopefully, skies will be clear at Astrocamp in May and I shall spend a good chunk of time observing around these constellations from there too. It really is tricky to convey how crammed this area of the sky is with targets, many of which are observable using my 12 inch dob, but a majority of which are beyond the ability of even that scope I think. Leaving that plethora of targets, I decided to try to hone in on single targets again. So, I started to track down M49, another elliptical galaxy in Virgo. "To cap off an awesome part of the session! Very nice elliptical galaxy. Slightly brighter than the others in the Virgo cluster than I have seen tonight." Though in the same constellation as the others, I could see that the galaxy is a little more detached from many of the other targets. One of the features to keep an eye out for this month is the path of Jupiter passing close by to my next target, M44, or, The Beehive Cluster. It is a target I have visited through the scope many times before, mostly with the 150p. It is a vast open cluster with very bright stars. Conditions were very good. Dark and clear enough so that I could just make out the cluster naked eye. It was sure an awesome site through the 2 inch EP and the dob. "M44 - Beehive Cluster. First time @32mm. V-bright and rich cluster. Poss naked eye tonight..." Leaving M44 behind, I tracked down another cluster. This time the globular cluster of M53. It's much more condensed that M44, but is still very bright and pretty. I decided to stay with the 32 mm EP, but I think with the 18 mm BST I should be able to resolve many more individual stars next time I come across the target. The cold was starting to penetrate through the layers. I had dressed more for a Summers evening observing session than a Spring session. The night time temperatures reminded me that we have barely said goodbye to Winter. I was having such a good session that I didn't want to stop, but I was starting to get a bit cold. It's not often I get the chance to have a fully free session with no considerations for the next day. A couple more targets to finish off and that would be me done for the night. M65 is known as The Black Eye galaxy and takes its name from a very distinctive small black area of dust and gas close to the brighter core of the spiral galaxy. This is sometimes said to be visible in smaller amateur scopes. I'd like to think that I could make out the black eye, but with my own tired eyes, it was hard to confirm. It's a cracking little target though! The final target of the session proved to be a bit of mystery until the following morning. Whilst having a final 'look and nudge' with the dob around Coma Berenices, I came across a very thin and really pretty target. It was surely another elliptical galaxy, but I didn't know what one. That area of the sky only has limited stars of naked eye visibility, so I struggled with the Telrad to identify what it was I had seen. It was all the more tricky when I take into consideration how many potential observable targets there are in that section of the sky. I ended up resorting to drawing what I saw in the field of view on the eyepiece. I was using the 2 inch panaview 32 mm, so I decided to draw around the eyepiece cap that then give me the template to draw in what I was saw. I estimated the target to be above magnitude 9 which I was able to do by comparing what I been looking at throughout the session. I sketched in the main target and relative size. Next, I added the stars that I was able to pick out with ease and put them in their relative positions. I hoped that this would be enough for me to use Stellarium and its ocular feature to pick out the features I had recorded in the sketch. The next morning, I fired up Stellarium and started to browse around the constellation of Coma Berenices. I knew that that target was reasonably significant due to its magnitude and size, so it ought to be listed and perhaps photographed too. After a while, I found what I was looking for, but as it turned out, there is no picture in my version of Stellarium of the target. What I had stumbled across is designated NGC 4565 and C38 - The Needle Galaxy. It's a sideways on spiral galaxy which appears very long and thin. A bit more time looking for images on line confirmed what I had sketched whilst at the EP. With fingers beginning to go numb, and the task of having to transport the SBT back out to the garage, it was time to close the session. It's been the best session for quite a while. For once, free time, weather and opportunity have all come together in my favour. Until next time! Thanks for reading. Tony
  19. Hi, Took this photo of the Leo Triplet during march 2015. The main problem for me to photo in LRGB is the bad light poluttion that I have in my backyard. Photo information: Luminance 18 pics X 15 min. Total Luminance exposure: 270 min RGB: 7 pics for each color channel x 5 min per picture. Total color exposure: 105 min Telescore: Skywatcher P250 F/4.8. Camera: QSI583 Mount: ASA DDM60 (No Guiding) Filters: Astrodon Gen2 LRGB http://www.flickr.com/photos/101543943@N04/17222658636/ Thanks for watching Haim
  20. We all know that data is king in this game and that less is hardly ever more. But....when the prevailing conditions are in your favour, ie, you happen to find yourself under some of the darkest skies in Europe and your host for the week is a certain Mr O Penrice, interesting things can happen! And so it was on the day of our arrival at Les Granges. We were greeted by clear skies and the promise of some class A photon gathering. I'd decided to image the Leo trio as it was an object I'd never captured and I knew it would be a good fit for my Tak 85 at native FL coupled with my Atik 460. I'd framed the image up to centralise the galaxies in the field of view and the first 10 minute sub looked very nice. It was at this point though that Olly glanced at my capture screen and floated the idea that I might like to try for the extremely faint tidal tail emanating from the Hamburger galaxy. The carrot was dangled and I didn't really need to think twice, as I reframed to push the galaxies down the FOV in the hope of bagging the tail. But, 10 minute exposures were not going to do the trick here, so I took Olly's advice and upped the exposure to 30 minutes in luminance. Everything came together well and the Tak/Atik combo did it's thing. Approaching cloud and a rising moon however brought proceedings to a premature end though with the following data captured: 4 x 30 mins Luminance 4 x 3 mins in each of RGB Cloudy skies since have meant plenty of time to process this data which Olly expertly executed entirely, using Astro Art 5, PixInsight, Registar and Photoshop. This is the end result and is an outcome we're extremely happy with, given the low integration time. Simon
  21. Here's my attempt at SN2013AM, since I am on holiday this week and the skies have decided to clear for a few days, worryingly atypical! Of course after a nearly fault free imaging run last night, I am now having some kind of software/mount/usb issue tonight and it's a complete bust as a result (Camera keeps disconnecting from APT, mount keeps disconnecting from EQMod, cannot diagnose problem at all; have restarted everything several times, pulled and checked every cable, etc.) Anyway, on to the good stuff. The first inset is M65 from 2nd March this year 19 x 600s. The second is from last night (1st April), 10 x 600s. The main image is a restack of 29 x 600s from 2nd March and 1st April; the extra data makes it much cleaner. SW 80ED DS Pro, Canon EOS 500D Unmodified, APT Orion ST80, QHY5, PHD Guiding NEQ6 Pro, EQMOD, AstroTortilla PixInsight V1.8RC5
  22. Some real beautiful nights here at last wish the mount was up to snuff but managed a few. let me know what you think these were taken with a 1971 Super Takumar 200mm f4 quite the pawn store prize at only 50 bucks! 25 stacks of lights 10 darks in DSS and final edit in CS5
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