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Because of the current situation, I have, as many of you guys probably have too, spend a lot more time under the stars when possible.
It has literally been over a year since last I was out doing some astrophotography because of work.
So here is my second take after the long break, NGC 3344 (The Sliced Onion Galaxy).
Initially I thought it would be a lot fainter than it was, so it was basically a shot in the dark, of just trying to get back at doing this.
But the final image actually showed a lot more detail than I would've hoped for!
Spring lent a lot of clear night, but those seems to be gone already. I would've hoped for a few more hours to add some more luminance data to it, as I did have to push it quite a bit.
I am not too happy with the shape of the stars either. Guiding was not very stable through the night, even though balance and polar alignment seemed to be good. Might need to update my Celestron PEC data?
Any advice or feedback is very welcome! 🤩
NGC 3344 (Sliced Onion Galaxy)
Luminance - 13x16 min
RGB - 2x16 min each
Flat and Dark calibrated
Total Integration - 5 Hours 4 minutes (LRGB)
Celestron AVX Mount
ZWO ASI 183MM-Pro
Baader 2'' Neodymium Filter
Baader 1,25'' RGB Filters
ZWO Mini EFW
Explore Scientific Coma Corrector
ToupTek Camera G-1200-KMB Mono Guider
Orion Mini 50mm Guidescope
Deep Sky Stacker
Celestron 9.25 at f6.3, SW EQ6R pro, Canon 550 D modded
The galaxy group Hickson 44 in Leo. This is based on 29 x 240 s, plus bias and flats.
Hickson 44 in Leo:
There are some other galaxies near by, some of which are names in this overlay from Astrometry.net:
Overlay from Astrometry, naming the other objects:
The main ones are NGC 3190, NGC 3185, NGC 3187 and NGC 3193. NGC 3190 has a well defined dust lane. NGC 3187 is a barred spiral galaxy with two arms. NGC 3193 is an elliptical galaxy.
The light captured by my camera last night left these galaxies just after the extinction event killed the dinosaurs on Earth.
From APOD: Galaxies, like stars, frequently form groups. A group of galaxies is a system containing more than two galaxies but less than the tens or hundreds typically found in a cluster of galaxies. A most notable example is the Local Group of Galaxies, which houses over 30 galaxies including our Milky Way, Andromeda, and the Magellanic Clouds. Pictured above is nearby compact group Hickson 44. This group is located about 60 million light-years away toward the constellation of Leo. Also known as the NGC 3190 Group, Hickson 44 contains several bright spiral galaxies and one bright elliptical galaxy on the upper right. The bright source on the upper left is a foreground star. Many galaxies in Hickson 44 and other compact groups are either slowly merging or gravitationally pulling each other apart.
This image is based on 19 x 300 s , plus flats and bias. It shows a LOT of galaxies, in a grouping called Abell 1367. In this image you are looking at part of one of the biggest structures in the Universe, the Great Wall.
The Leo Cluster (Abell 1367) is a galaxy cluster about 330 million light-years distant (z = 0.022) in the constellation Leo, with at least 70 major galaxies. The galaxy known as NGC 3842 is the brightest member of this cluster. Along with the Coma Cluster, it is one of the two major clusters comprising the Coma Supercluster, which in turn is part of the CfA2 Great Wall, which is hundreds of millions light years long and is one of the largest known structures in the universe.
The overlay from Astrometry gives some of the galaxies visible in the image.
By Ken Mitchell
For a long time I wanted to shoot this frame, probably from the early days of my astrophotography adventure.
Finally after all these years I managed to get a decent result of the 'stuff' between these two beautiful nebulae. Fairly happy with the image but always looking for improvement.
I hope one day to redo this all with a mono camera and filters.
Apart from NGC1499 , M45 and the Baby Eagle Nebula no idea what else is in the picture. If you happen to have an idea feel free to educate me.
Some info on image and capturing:
Widefield Pleiades to California.
Taken over 2 nights with a total of 11hrs 25min integration.
With a stock Nikon d610 and Nikkor 85mm 1.8 objective.
Tracking was done with the Skywatcher Star Adventurer.
Lights and all calibrations frames were stacked in DSS.
Processing was done in Adobe Photoshop CC using Adobe Raw, GradientXterminator plugin, HLVG plugin, Nik software plugins and Photokemi action set.
I'm tempted to go down the route of getting myself a brand new reflector... My friend's old Meade 114/900 is a good telescope, but I want something of my own and with a bit more light gathering power. To this end, I've been looking at a couple of different models and manufactures.
I must admit, the Skywatcher Explorer 130M floats my boat, as it's motorised with a speed controller.
Any thoughts or observations?🤔
Celestron C8 XLT + extras and SkyWatcher Star Travel 80 (ST80)
I have a Celestron C8 with XLT Starbrite coatings. Will include the full length base plate, both visual and imaging backs, scope rings, front 8" end cap and the finder scope with it. No box I'm afraid. Optics are good and clean, focal length is huge - 2300mm from memory. This lot would cost close to £1300 new and one with less spec went for £750 on fleabay recently. Might be interested in a part exchange or will let it go for £450 collection only.
Also, I have a SkyWatcher Star Traveler 80 - good optics, used as a guide scope - just the scope itself (does not include the barlow in the photo) - now including dovetail bar and scope rings looking at around £50 for it.
I have decided to save up for another refractor, WO, Equinox or even toward an Esprit. However, I would also consider p/ex for an Intel NUC and/or Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox.
Please excuse some of the colours - I used my astro modded 6D which was in the observatory so the "nice" purple is actually black !!
Both these are collection only.