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Found 22 results

  1. Kronos831

    M81 and M82

    Here is my sketch of m81 and m82 sketched in good seeing and in my light polluted backyard (Spiral arms fainter than the sketching , could just make them out as a halo outside of the core
  2. Hello folks, for long I have been browsing the internet to find a suitable 10in dob and despite lack of reviews, I have decided to take the plunge with the Bresser Messier 10in Dobsonian. There was some doubt at first, especially when considering the popularity of similar scopes from Skywatcher, Meade and GSO. Even though Bresser is relatively new to the market, it has some clever features: 1. The massive 2.5in hexagonal rack and pinion focuser is very solid and the movement is smooth. Despite being only single speed, Bresser sells an a dual speed 10:1 extension. However, I find the movement precise enough and do not need the extension at the moment. 2. Optical finder scope feels a bit cheap but it is a nice upgrade over the red dot finder I had on my previous scope. 3. Rocker box style base allows disassembling the scope into two pieces (OTA and base). 4. Tube rings allows the scope to be easily balanced when adding weight + after adding a suitable dovetail plate, the OTA can be used on an equatorial mount (if you plan to upgrade to an eq mount, I would consider the 8in model, as an eq mount for the 10in would be expensive). The only negative comments I can give about the scope is the production process. There were some minor issues with the assembly with the scope as parts did not fit properly. First problem was with one hole drilled deeper (loosening the particular screw fixed the issue). Another problem was with the altitude wheel as it made the OTA to pop out from the rocker box. (A loose screw on one of the plastic pads between the box and altitude wheels was causing this. Make sure all these screws are tightened and below the surface of the pads). Lastly, I assume there must have been a mistake in the quantity of items included (I got twice as many screws for the rockerbox and 2 eyepieces instead of one, both were 25mm super plossl but the standard was a 1.25in advertised on the bresser webpage, while the other was a 2in wide angle) I did not have the opportunity to test the scope outside properly due to clouds. Update: 01.06.2017 Had the chance to try it out on the moon and jupiter to a max magnification of around 160x. The results were very sharp and detailed views. Unfortunately, clouds rolled in before it got dark enough to observe DSO's. I am waiting for clouds to clear and a package with a 42mm wide angle eyepiece and a 2in GSO 2x ED barlow to arrive next week.
  3. The Lagoon Nebula ( Messier 8, NGC 6523 ) in the constellation Sagittarious. ( click on image to see larger) The Laboon Nebula ( M8 ) is visible to the naked eye under dark skies from most latitudes except the far north. Seemingly covering an area about three times that of the full Moon, M8 actually covers an area somewhat greater than 110 light years and is around 4300 light years from Earth in the Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm of the Milkyway galaxy. ...... The frames for this image where taken back when I was very new to astrophotography and I was experimenting with camera settings. On this occasion I wanted to see if JPEG images might be easier to process - I was disappointed with the results. Now that I have a bit more knowledge and skill at processing I decided to have another attempt at trying to process the set because I liked the way the JPEG files had retained colour in the stars. I am reasonably pleased with the result; the faint detail in the nebula is not there but I quite like the colours in the centre and in the stars. Details: Messier 8, NGC 6523 - Lagoon Nebula Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian telescope. Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount.Orion auto guider - PHD2. Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector. Nikon D300 (unmodified). 80 x 30 sec ISO 1600 (JPEG) - 31 Aug 14. PixInsight and Photoshop. processed 13 August 2016 Links: https://500px.com/MikeODay http://photo.net/photos/MikeODay
  4. The Eagle Nebula Messier 16 ansd Open Cluster NGC 6611 in the constellation Serpens. ( click on image to see larger ) M16 is around 7,000 light years distant from Earth in the Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm of our Milkyway galaxy and may be part of a larger structure that extends to and includes the Omega Nebula ( M17 ) in Sagittarius. Details: Eagle Nebula - Messier 16 ( IC 4703 ), Open Clusters - NGC 6611 and Trumpler 32. RA ~ 18h 19'm45s Dec ~ -13deg 46' 20" Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian telescope. Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount.Orion 80mm f5 guide scope and auto guider - PHD2. Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector, UHC-S 'nebula' filter. Nikon D5300 (unmodified). Field of view (deg) ~ 1.35 x 0.90. ISO800, 14bit NEF, Long Exp. NR on. 35 x 180sec (1/3 before & 2/3 after zenith) 17 July 2015. PixInsight re-processed 21 Aug 2016.. Links: https://500px.com/MikeODay http://photo.net/photos/MikeODay
  5. Theres one from the 2nd M64, taken through the mak Newtonian, and an atik 314L plus mono. the stack was 14 x 4 mins.........cloud rolled in and spoiled the show after that.
  6. How do you top a night where you observed two quasars and one supernova? You go to a darker location and focus almost exclusively on quasars in the magnitude 13-14 range. On the night of June 14 I drove almost 80 minutes north of Las Vegas to the Paranaugat wildlife Refuge arriving after sunset but well before true darkness set in. A quiet location but for the highway I used to get there - I didn't realize how much traffic this highway received after dark - not a five minute period went by without cars/trucks speeding by washing over my viewing location with their headlights - I got really good at keep my eyes closed to protect my night vision. And it was dark - this was my first Bortle 1 location with the horizon being completely black except for due south where the light dome of Las Vegas glowed dimly on the horizon up to about 10 degrees. The Milky Way was brilliant. Air temperatures dropped from the mid-90s (F) to the mid-80s (F) and winds dropped to nearly nothing in the hour after sunset. Despite being such a dark location my views of galaxies were never 'crisp' - I've had far better galaxy views from other locations (that are less dark) so there must have been a good bit of moisture in the airmass up high. Stars were clear with beautiful spikes coming from the bright ones. Several 'visibility test targets' were jumped through as I was waiting for twighlight to fade. The Hercules Cluster (M15), Alberio, and M92 all old friends revisited. My normal test targets - M65, M66, NGC 3628 - were briefly observed a few times over the course of the night but never impressed (which was disappointing). First hunt of the night was MKN 501 - a mag 14.5 quasar an unknown distance away. I hopped down from Eta Her and found a "V" asterism of roughly mag 8 stars that pointed right to the target area. After camping on a mag 12.6 star I was able to see the faintest galactic haze around a 'star' at the right location - that's the target with the 'star' being the quasar shining bright in the galactic core. Quasar find #5! Staying in Hercules I went hunting for B3 1715+425 - a mag 13.3 quasar listed at 2.1 Gly distant. I found the start of this hunt a challenge as I started star hopping from Iota Her - which was a challenge to find as it's not an overly bright star and doesn't stand out in the finder scope. I could clearly see it naked eye but had difficulty translating that to the finder scope. I eventually did find Iota and star hopped up to the area via a line of mag 5 - 6 stars to M92. I hopped to the correct location, positively identified the mag 8.4 star that was my 'base camp' for this hunt...then could clearly make out the mag 13 and 13.4 stars nearby but the quasar was nowhere to be seen...it was supposed to be sitting between the mag 8.4 and mag 13 stars...but nothing was there. Upped the magnification from 120x to 240x but it didn't help. No joy on this target. I'm thinking my star chart program must have been off in either magnitude of the target or location...because mag 13 targets were easily seen this night. Next I swung the scope over to Draco and PG 1634+706 (A Sky & Telescope target this month) - a mag 14.7 quasar listed 7.6 Gly away (but this month's Sky & Telescope said the distance is most likely incorrect due to time/space expansion). I star hopped over from Pherkhad in Ursa Minor to a grouping of mag 6-8 stars and then down to the target area. Positively IDing the quasar was not that difficult tonight as there isn't much else in the immediate vicinity...but a series of mag 12-14 stars ring the area and were all visible. The quasar stood out as a compact star-like body. Quasar #6! Next down to the tail of Draco for MKN 180 - a mag 14.5 target an unknown distance away. The star hop from the tip of the tail (Gianifar) wasn't too difficult...and I made a postive ID based off where the faint stars were in relation to one another...the quasar formed the corner of a parallelogram with 3 other stars - but it was faint. This was about the faintest target of the night and averted only. Quasar #7. Next moving up Draco's body to PG 1351+640 - a mag 14.3 quasar listed 1.1 Gly distant. A pretty easy star hop and a line of mag 10 stars pointed right to the averted-only quasar. It was faint but there were stars a little further away that were more faint. Quasar #8!! A little further up the body and star hopping over from Ursa Minor led to 3C 305.0 - a mag 13.7 quasar listed at 550 Mly distance. The star hop was the biggest challenge here as so many faint stars were visible it was tough for me to keep track of which star I was really looking at. After about 10 minutes of hunting/checking/moving/hunting/checking/verifying I finally made it to the correct target location and could see a faint star-like object in the faintest of haze - that's the target. Several mag 14.x stars were clearly visibile in the vicinity. Averted vision brought out the most of the haze...but the target was not difficult in these conditions. Mark that as #9!!! Final ultra deep target of the night was IRAS 17371+5615 - a mag 14.0 target listed at 960 Mly. Another challenging star hop trying to pin down faint stars in the head of Draco...eventually did it and camped out on a mag 10.3 star where the quasar was out on a ring of mag 14.x stars in the same EP view. I was able to pin down each of the mag 14 stars with the target quasar being #3 in the line. This was a faint target...but it was there. An even 10 quasars logged! Time to view a few more old friends - M101 with darkness showing between faint farms, M51 which was the only stunning galaxy of the night with the arms showing about as clearly as I've ever seen them, M63 with the bright core and expansive dim glow, and M94 was just a bright core. Then down to NGC 4618 and NGC 4625 - both of which were little more than faint smears. 4618 was clearly brighter and the core stood out well. I finished up my CVn tour with the Cocoon galaxy and companion NGC 4485 - the Cocoon had a bright core and appeared maybe "quarter-on" facing...4485 was non-discript. Their proximity lends itself to interaction but I couldn't see any through the EP. A great, dark night. Very pleased with the very faint targets I was able to pin down. 6 new quasars observed (+1 more missed) and 3 new galaxies. I'm all smiles (well I am now after a decent sleep). Happy hunting.
  7. I'm guessing almost every deep sky observer has had a go at Messier's list at some point, and I'm also sure that all of you have had the odd object that has been frustratingly difficult to observe. Sure as we all start with the wonders of M13, 42, 31, 45, etc, it seems the sky is full of rich pickings... then inevitably, within a few months we find ourselves staring furiously at the area of sky that we 'know' M97 is but even our imagination can't help us now! Persistence pays off eventually, and slowly but surely even the faintest of fuzzies are claimed for our observing journals. That is, until we meet our Messier nemesis (singular or plural!)... regardless of how often we try these stubborn face-on spirals and fiendishly low clusters remain invisible. Do we need more aperture? (possibly ), do we need darker skies? (probably), but either way, persistence must remain our greatest weapon. SO the question is... which Messiers are you missing? or more accurately, which Messiers cause you consistent trouble? I've still got a handful of southern OCs left (good excuse for a holiday to warmer climates me thinks!), but my 'arch-enemy' remains M101. Anyone similar?
  8. From the album: Mike's Images

    The Lagoon Nebula ( Messier 8, NGC 6523 ) in the constellation Sagittarius - by Mike O'Day ( https://500px.com/mikeoday ) The Laboon Nebula ( M8 ) is visible to the naked eye under dark skies from most latitudes except the far north. Seemingly covering an area about three times that of the full Moon, M8 actually covers an area somewhat greater than 110 light years and is around 4300 light years from Earth in the Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm of the Milkyway galaxy. Links: https://500px.com/MikeODay http://photo.net/photos/MikeODay Details: Messier 8, NGC 6523 - Lagoon Nebula. also contains: NGC 6526 NGC 6530 NGC 6533 IC 1271 IC 4678 7SGR 9SGR Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian telescope. Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount. Orion auto guider - PHD2. Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector, UHC-S 'nebula' filter. Nikon D300 (unmodified) (14bit NEF). Field of view (deg) ~ 1.35 x 0.90. 20 x 120 sec ISO400. 26 x 30 sec ISO 1600. 23 x 240 sec ISO 200. PixInsight and Photoshop. 2 August 14 . re-processed 24 April 2016 to include the additional subs ( the first version only made use of the 23 x 240 sec ISO 200 subs ) and putting use the processing lessons I have learnt over the past year.

    © Copyright Mike O'Day 2016 - all rights reserved

  9. The Great Nebula in Orion ( Messier 42, NGC 1976 ) ( tap on image to see larger ) Scrapbook page ... Details: The Great Orion Nebula (Messier 42, Messier 43, NGC 1976 ) in the Orion Constellation RA 5 36 15, DEC -5 26 31 ( 2016.9 ) Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian telescope Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount Orion Short Tube 80mm guide scope & auto guider - PHD2 Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector & no filter Nikon D5300 (unmodified) Field of view (deg) < ~ 1.35 x 0.90 long exp noise reduction on 45 x 120 sec ISO 400, 15 x 60 sec ISO 100, +various short exposures 3 to 15 sec to extend dynamic range for bright stars Pixinsight & Photoshop 28th November 2016
  10. Just in from 30 mins out the back picking clear spots twixt the clouds. Just had to get some starlight!!! Canon 15x50 IS binoculars. MW easily visible from Perseus through to Scutum. Much mottling with dark dust clouds. M26 and M11 and lovely Scutum star cloud and dark nebulae. Barnards 'E' in Aquila. M71, Brocchi's Cluster. A quick branch off to M!3 and M92 in Hercules. M27 aside the Cygnus Rift. NA nebula prominent and the Eastern Veil a faint arc. M39 a triangle and the long dark 'rift' leading towards the Cocoon. Caroline's Cluster, M52, Pacman, NGC 147, M103, NGC63 in Cass, 'cluster central'. M31, 32 and 110. M33, a smudge. M15 a gem in Pegasus. Double cluster and Kembles Cascade a favourite. The stars and objects seemed especially alive tonight Wallowed in the splendour. Hope y'all get your fill of the universe soon! Cheers Paul
  11. The Lagoon Nebula ( Messier 8, NGC 6523 ) in the constellation Sagittarius - by Mike O'Day ( https://500px.com/mikeoday ) ( click on image to see full size ) The Laboon Nebula ( M8 ) is visible to the naked eye under dark skies from most latitudes except the far north. Seemingly covering an area about three times that of the full Moon, M8 actually covers an area somewhat greater than 110 light years and is around 4300 light years from Earth in the Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm of the Milkyway galaxy. Links: https://500px.com/MikeODay http://photo.net/photos/MikeODay Details: Messier 8, NGC 6523 - Lagoon Nebula. Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian telescope. Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount. Orion auto guider - PHD2. Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector, UHC-S 'nebula' filter. Nikon D300 (unmodified) (14bit NEF). Field of view (deg) ~ 1.35 x 0.90. 20 x 120 sec ISO400. 26 x 30 sec ISO 1600. 23 x 240 sec ISO 200. PixInsight and Photoshop. 2 August 14 . re-processed 24 April 2016 to include the additional subs ( the first version only made use of the 23 x 240 sec ISO 200 subs ) and putting use the processing lessons I have learnt over the past year. Here is the previous version:
  12. Finally had the right mix of work trips, dark skies, and time to get out and spend some time under the stars. My 'normal spot' was cloud covered with a second day of thick 'monsoon' moisture pushing into the US SouthWest and hanging out over the mountains. I tried out a new stargazing location 10 minutes from my hotel...it provided good skies to the east and south...north was washed out from local businesses and west had sky glow for quite a while. That said...the Milky Way was beautiful and nearly stretched from horizon to horizon (sky glow to the north stopped it in that direction). Lagoon Nebula/Butterfly Cluster were obvious and M31 was just visible (averted) once it was high enough. So overall conditions were pretty decent. Location: Tehachapi, CA, USA Elevation: ~4300' MSL Time: 21:00-00:30 Observing was done primarily with my 10mm EP for 120x but for some targets i also used the 26mm EP for 46x. UHC filter was used for nebula. I went out with SkyTools3 and sorted my Hershell 400 list to show only objects in SCO and SGR. Here's the list of objects observed from that quick sorting: NGC6451 (Tom Thumb Cluster) - OC - shape looked roughly like a heart NGC6544 - GC - a tight, dusty snowball NGC6520 - OC - looked like a thumb...dark vein in MW surrounding NGC6624 - GC - compact cluster...nearly solid core with dusty 'corona' NGC6553 - GC - faint...somewhat trapizoidal shaped...no detail NGC6569 - GC - even, dirty textured snow ball NGC6645 - OC - nothing memorable...a grouping of stars in the MW...easy find NGC6568 - OC - another bunch of stars a little closer than others...nothing memorable NGC6818 (Little Gem) - PN - a fuzzy star a bit bigger than the rest - perhaps a slight blue hue? NGC6583 - OC - a faint little OC that stood out enough to make me figure out what it was...shaped like a fuzzy triangle NGC6540 - GC - a ghost of a GC...very faint...averted best NGC6558 - GC - small, faint GC NGC6547 - OC - hard to pin down...non-descript but the field was right Then moving over to the Messier List I observed M25 - OC - easy target M55 - GC - not an easy star hop but a nice cluster once there...100+ stars visible M75 - GC - tight GC with a bright core which quickly diffuses to about 3x the core width...a fuzz ball M15 - GC - WOW! Nice GC...bright with lots of tendrils running away from the core M30 - GC - a right GC that looked like it had 2-3 legs coming off it...more like and oC than a GC M72 - GC - dirty snowball...not bright M73 - OC - difficult star hop for me... to see...4 stars(?)...blah. Then I finished the night with two new friends and two old ones: NGC7000 (North American Nebula) - Diff Neb - UHC filter - saw the Gulf of Mexico area pretty easily...haze only in the rest of 'North America' Will have to revisit under darker skies. IC5070 (Pelican Nebula) - Diff Neb - UHC Filter - could just see the largest/brigtest section with averted vision...and just barely. Will have to revisit under darker skies M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) - GX - beautiful first view in months M110 - GX - Andromeda's little partner...pretty M33 (Pinwheel Galaxy) - just searched for it for the fun of it...just faintly visible with no detail. Need darker skies. A very good night by all standards. 22 new finds, a few old friends and I finished the Messier List!!! Yeah! Happy Hunting!
  13. Hello fellow gazers I want to share a little project of mine I started a few days ago. Last week I opened another thread regarding a new EP which I ordered and @YKSE commented on it (again thank you for that! ). I saw his awesome signature and blandly copied it into my signature thinking to myself that I as of now had a Mission... a Mission to see and log all those beautiful clusters, nebulas and galaxies! As a well known sitcom actor would say... "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!" Then I ran into a few problems... first of all... where the hell would I find all the information I would need and secondly, the more pressing problem, how would I keep track of this huge amount of everything?! I really don't know how YKSE is doing it, or even others, but I thought to myself that a good ol' classic excel table would do the trick. I promptly started to gather the four catalogues in question, copied them into an excel tabel an HEY! there are MANY dublicates... Filtering them out isn't that easy since the information I found isn't completely to the point I would need it to be. So after a few days of manual crunching NGC numbers, here the actual result. The list includes a general number of the whole list, NGC / other number, the four catalogues, common name, type, distance, constellation, apparent magnitude and a "best to observe"-tab. To make things a little easier I included the NGC / other number to almost completely eliminate the duplicates. I also included a "best to observe"-tab to simply filter the catalogues by months. This way I can grab the list, filter it and promptly see what I could potentially see and what not. And the most important thing of all? A small cell where I can put an "x" if I've seen whatever I wanted to see. This goes allong with a date and location tab to round everything up. In some separate sheets I created a General Overview, the four separate catalogues and a Constellation sheet where I'll put some valuable information. The General Overview will be a sheet holding the logs information. For example I can immediately check how many objects I've seen of the Messier Objects or the Collinder Catalog and so on. I'll display a simple number like 56 / 110 Messier Objects and include a percentage diagram. To make things a little funnier I'll also add a general counter for the four catalogues, hence the previously mentioned general number of the whole list. After the list is complete I could se myself linking every entry to an online catalogue with more information and pictures for further research. If someone wants this list I'll gladly share it Have a great evening everyone, Abe
  14. Globular clusters, whenever I point my scope towards 95% of them they come out as a hazy patch. The only two globulars I can see kind of clearly are the Hercules cluster and Messier 3 in Canes Venetici. All the rest look fuzzy, What aperture would you need to see them clearly? I have a 4.5" reflector. Thanks Adam
  15. The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy ( Messier 83, NGC 5236 ) in the constellation Hydra. ( click on image to see fuill size ) Messier 83 is a relatively large and bright spiral galaxy visible from southern and mid latitudes. Clearly visible is the central bar with its bright central bulge as well as multiple dark dust lanes and areas of nebulosity in the sweeping arms. At a distance of 15 Million light years, the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, whilst close in astronomical terms, is too far away and hence way too small for my backyard telescope to resolve individual stars; so all of the stars that can be seen are in fact in the near foreground of the image and reside, like us, in the Milkyway Galaxy. Much harder to see are the many far more distant galaxies that look like tiny fuzzy stars in the image. The easiest of which are PGC 724536 and PGC 48132 that appear close together in the centre of the image just to the right of Messier 83. Both are edge on and look like tiny flying saucers. Details: Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian. Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount Orion 80mm f5 guide scope and auto guider - PHD2 software. Nikon D5300 (unmodified) Hutech IDAS D1 filter, 14bit NEF, Long Exp. NR on. 25 June 2016. 17 x 4min ISO400 Pixinsight and photoshop. Links: https://500px.com/mikeoday http://photo.net/photos/MikeODay
  16. Ptolemy's Cluster in the constellation Scorpius ( Messier 7, NGC 6475 ) Scrapbook page ...
  17. Astrophotography Scrapbook Vol. 1 Cover Page Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius ( Messier 8, NGC 6523 ) The Fighting Dragons of Ara ( NGC 6188 ) War and Peace in Scorpius ( NGC 6357 ) Spiral Galaxy NGC 6744 in Pavo Ptolemy's Cluster in Scorpius ( Messier 7, NGC 6475 ) A Million Stars in the Deep South ( NGC 104, 47 Tucanae ) A Wishing Well in Carina ( NGC 3532 ) A Beehive in the Southern Sky ( NGC 2516 ) The Sliver Coin in Sculptor ( NGC 253 ) The Great Nebula in Orion ( Messier 42, NGC 1976 ) A Cluster of Pearls in Centaurus ( NGC 3766 ) - new 5 Dec resources: Scrapbook Template ------------------------------------- When I show my astrophotography images to my friends and family they invariably want to know what they are looking at. This led me to wonder if there was a way I could display my images on a single page together with a few notes on the target object as well as few technical details of the capture for those who might be interested. What I came up with a "scrapbook" like page that combines all of these three elements in a single PDF sheet ( or jpeg image) that ultimately I might combine together to form a PDF book that I can share online or send to friends and family. In the meantime, I thought I might post in this thread each page of my work-in-progress towards volume 1 of my Astrophotography Scrapbook. Any and all comments, observations, suggestions and constructive criticisms will be warmly received. Cheers Mike ps. The pages have been sized to fit full screen on an IPAD
  18. The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy ( Messier 83, NGC 5236 ) in the constellation Hydra. Additional sub-images added ( 9 x 3 min @ ISO 200, no filter ) and colour balance tweaked to remove slight yellow/green tinge. The lower ISO and removal of the LP pollution filter has made it easier to bring out the subtle colours in the stars. ( click on image to see fuill size ) Messier 83 is a relatively large and bright spiral galaxy visible from southern and mid latitudes. Clearly visible is the central bar with its bright central bulge as well as multiple dark dust lanes and areas of nebulosity in the sweeping arms. At a distance of 15 Million light years, the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, whilst close in astronomical terms, is too far away and hence way too small for my backyard telescope to resolve individual stars; so all of the stars that can be seen are in fact in the near foreground of the image and reside, like us, in the Milkyway Galaxy. Much harder to see are the many far more distant galaxies that look like tiny fuzzy stars in the image. The easiest of which are PGC 724536 and PGC 48132 that appear close together in the centre of the image just to the right of Messier 83. Both are edge on and look like tiny flying saucers. Details: Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian. Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount Orion 80mm f5 guide scope and auto guider - PHD2 software. Nikon D5300 (unmodified) 14bit NEF, Long Exp. NR on. 25 June 2016 - Hutech IDAS D1 filter, 17 x 4 min @ ISO 400 28 June 2016 - no filter, 9 x 3 min @ ISO 200 Pixinsight and photoshop. Links: https://500px.com/mikeoday http://photo.net/photos/MikeODay Edited June 27 by mike005
  19. As I was lucky enough to have clear skies on the evenings of the 1st, 2nd and 4th of May, I managed to do a tour of the Messier galaxies in Virgo. It was a real lesson in star hopping for me and making the most of the finder scope and the main telescope, with my 32 mm Plossl, eyepiece to navigate my way around. Stellarium is also a very powerful tool for this - though you still have to think carefully about the change to an inverted view at the telescope. On the 1st May: M59 and M60 I started at Vindemiatrix and tracked to the right using the finder, and referencing relative to the background stars in Stellarium, until I was in the right region for M59 and M60. The pair occupy the same field of view in the 32 mm EP and they appear as faint fuzzy blobs. M58 I tracked along the same line using the EQ5's manual slow motion controls, while viewing as I went along with the 32 mm EP, until M58 popped in to view. It's another faint fuzzy blob (a theme developing here) and it's nicely signposted by a neighbouring faint star which makes a clear marker in the EP. M89 I used the same technique of using the manual slow motion controls and the main telescope again to track diagonally up and to the right. Stellarium, again, was helpful for the line of the track as some unidentified faint stars provided references. The galaxy is another faint fuzzy patch but unmistakable nevertheless. M90 I continued the star hop as before by slewing vertically from M89, against the pattern of faint background stars, to M90. This galaxy did appear more elliptical and extended than the previous galaxies and was, again, very obvious in the EP. M91 The hop to this galaxy was, again, carried out with the slow motion controls. I tracked vertically first to a small "U" shape of stars (with HIP61676 at one end) and from there right to M91. This was clearly visible with the 32 mm EP. M87 I puzzled over how to get to this from M91, without getting lost, and I decided to start afresh from Denebola with the finder. Starting from Denebola I tracked left to the clearly identifiable group containing 6Com. I then tracked down to HIP 60150 (name from Stellarium) and extended a line from it through HIP 60419 and on to M87. I actually blundered into this, which was a very obvious blob in the 32 mm EP, and the nearby Mag 6.25 star clearly marks the galaxy's position and identification as M87 (rather than M84 and M86 which lie close to the track). M84 and M86 I tracked in the appropriate direction (using M87 and the neighbouring star as an indicator for track direction) and I found both galaxies in the same field of view in the 32 mm EP. A pair of Mag 8.05 and Mag 7.65 stars are also in the field of view and form a T shape with the galaxies. On the 2nd May: M88 I managed to overlook this on the previous evening, although it is fairly close in the sky to M91, and I started by tracking from 6Com down to HIP 60150 and then left through HIP 6075 and HIP 60960 to M88. Again I started the hop with the finder and then used the 32 mm EP and the manual slow motion controls on the main scope to do the trickier part of the hop. The galaxy appears as a faint fuzzy patch and is clearly signposted by a faint star, HIP 61170, in the field of view. M49 This galaxy is lower in the sky than the previous set and I started the hop from Vindemiatrix and I used the finder and the recognisable background stars to track to the right and slightly down to rho-Vir and from the there diagonally down and to the right to get to HIP 61103 and the galaxy. M49 appeared fairly bright and obviously elliptical in both the 32 mm EP and my 20 mm EP. M61 Although this is just below M49 in the sky, I found it easier to start a new star hop. To the right of Porrima are the pair of the naked eye stars Zaniah and 13Vir. I used the finder to track from this pair vertically to cVir and I then extend the line up and slightly to the left to find M61. The galaxy is pretty obvious, though fainter than M49, and appears as a faint smudge in both the 32 mm and 20 mm EPs. On the 4th May: M99 There is a very nice marker group of stars forming a T composed of: 6Com, Hip 59941 and HIP 60210 (which for the cross-bar of the T from right to left) and HIP 59941, HIP 60089 and HIP 60150 (which form the stem from top to bottom). These are all eaily seen in the finder which make finding the remaining set of galaxies relatively easy. M99 is just to the right and below HIP 60089 and it appears as a moderately faint fuzzy in the 32 mm EP and just a hint of the spiral structure appears with my 10 mm EP. M98 I slewed back to 6Com just using the 32 mm EP and dual axis motors and M98, which is just to the right of 6Com, was just discernible with the 32 mm EP. The 10 mm didn't reveal much as the galaxy is quite faint. M100 I used the dual axis motors again to slew back through 6Com and across the top (crossbar) of the T through HIP 59941 and HIP 60210 to M100. It appears as a faint fuzzy with the 32 mm EP and the 10 mm EP brings out the core of the galaxy against a faint disc. M85 and NGC 4394 I used the 32 mm EP and the slow-motion manual controls to slew up and slightly to the right through HIP 60313 and then on to 11Com. From there I slewed diagonally up and to the left to this pair of galaxies. It gave good views with the 10 mm EP and the core of M85 was reasonably clear and NGC 4394 looked like an elongated smudge. This, I think, is all of the Messier galaxies in Virgo although M104 (the Sombrero Galaxy) is also considered to be in the Virgo group (though it isn't in all lists). It's a bit low in the sky to view from the usual place I set up the telescope in the back garden but I have observed this with my binoculars. It's very obvious and I find it with a star hop that starts at Spica and then right to the pair of stars Algorab and eta Corvi (which are both naked eye from my garden). From this bright pair. I follow the gentle curve upwards and slightly to the left defined by HIP 61212, HIP 61296 and a couple of small asterisms. M104 is just to the left of the upper, fainter, asterism. I'm hoping to observe this with the telescope at some point but it may need me to take a trip to a suitable site. On the night of the 2nd I also revisted M51 and NGC 5195, which is well placed at the moment and almost vertical. I tried virtually my full set of eyepieces, from the 32 mm Plossl to my 5 mm and, although the cores of the galaxies were obvious with them all, I found that the, as supplied, SW 10 mm EP gave the best views. The bridge between the galaxies was clearly visible as were hints of the spiral arms (there was certainly structure within the halo of glow around the cores). There was also a point of light (star) within the disc of M51 (which is in the 4 o'clock position relative to the core of M51 if the core of NGC 5195 is placed at 12 o'clock) that was clearly visible even with the 5 mm EP. This star shows up in most images of M51, though it is often supressed by histogram stretching. It was by far the best view I've had of M51 and it demonstrared to me the advantage of viewing galaxies when they are close to zenith.
  20. Hi all after a crazy Easter weekend of visiting here there,and every where here's my M104 with the contes and some charcoal for the dust lane ,this was the 18th I thought with it being low but over the forest and no orange glow I put the UHC filter on the ep ,it was rather bright for a change the core seemed bright tonight it's a lot dimmer usually but the UHC seemed to pull it out I also did a bit of the Virgo bowl there's a lot of smudges at around x75 Here's the drawing of m104 I also did a bit of the chain starting at M84 Pat M104 M84
  21. Omega Nebula in Sagittarius ( Messier 17 , NGC 6618 ) ( click on image to see larger ) Omega Nebula in Sagittarius ( Messier 17, NGC 6618 ). Visible to the naked eye the Omega Nebula (also known as the Swan, Horseshoe or Lobster Nebula) M17 is in the Milkyway and is aound 4200 light years distance from Earth. Links: 500px.com/MikeODay photo.net/photos/MikeODay Details: RA 18h 22m, Dec -16deg 10'. Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian. Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount Orion Short Tube 80mm guide scope & auto guider - PHD2. Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector, UHC-S 'Nebula' filter. Nikon D5300 (unmodified). Field of view (deg) ~ 1.35 x 0.90. 37 x 100 sec ISO800. Pixinsight & Photoshop 14 August 2015 re-processed 8 Aug 2016 with current workflow.
  22. After several weeks of not pulling out the scope I was pleased to finally have a chance to hit a clear, dark sky location. Red Rock State Park in California was the location du jour - a Bortle 2 location I hit when ever in this part of the country on business. Conditions were great with temperatures in the low 80s (F) and negligible winds. A light haze lingered on the horizon due to stronger winds earlier in the day. After judging conditions were OK when M65, M66, and NGC 3628 were all visible a great night began. I had wanted to do some deep deep observing so I searched SkyTools3 for quasars within the ability of my scope - the listed came up with a couple that I hadn't heard of before so i got excited. First up was HE 1106-2321 in Crater - listed as a mag 13.7 quasar. Despite not having star hopped in several weeks I found it easiest to hop down from Beta Crt to a mag 8.9 star that served as a base. From there a line of three stars led away to a strong L asterism. The quasar was between the first two in the line...but was FAINT. I had to move magnification up to 240x to pull out the faint photons in averted vision. I was able to get a clear view twice while the scope was slowly moving but upon only viewed faintly a few other times. A mag 13.2 star was more easily visible in the proximity. Next up was moving up to Virgo for SN2012cg. Hopping through several galaxies I was able to find the supernova glowing brightly (may have been a touch brighter than the listed mag 12.0). It overpowered it's host galaxy NGC 4424...with the galaxy's glow only possible with averted vision away from the supernova. The nova is very close to the galactic core. Also in the area NGC 4417 and NGC 4445 were faintly observed - just faint fuzzies. I swung the scope over to UMa and star hopped over to MKN 421 which was supposed to be rather difficult to find because not much is in the local area. But I found a double kite (or diamond) asterism that made locating the quasar pretty easy. The mag 6 stars nearby nearly overpowered the quasar but it was visible with averted vision - not that it was too faint...but the other stars just overpowered it. Taking a break from the ultra deep observing I moved over to Antares and observed M 4 and NGC 6144. M 4 was stunning at 120x looking like the many legs of a spider streaming away from the center point. NGC 6144 is a faint GC that wasn't much more than a grainy cotton ball - I imagine upping the magnification may have given a better view...but I was off again. Next up was the naked eye Lagoon Nebula which glowed very nicely at 120x and 240x. I went with and without UHC filter and was pleased with both views. The dark vein running through the nebula stood out best at 240x but was still visible at 120x. In the vicinity observations included the Omega Nebula (very nice with and without UHC filter), a few open clusters, and even the Ring Nebula which I like best without the filter as I get more color). I split the Double Double while around Vega. The final joy of the night was observing both the east and west parts of the Veil Nebula - just a whisper was visible with an unfiltered view but the UHC filter made it stand out very nicely. I had no idea that this nebula was soo big. Had to go with 46x to see it on any scale. A pretty good night - 2 new quasars, 1 new supernova, and a handful of nebula and faint galaxies. Today I'm off to Las Vegas and if i don't melt in the 100+ (F) heat I hope to put in some Bortle 1 viewing in the desert on Thursday and Friday. My scope has been begging for an even darker location. Could be fun! Happy hunting!
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