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SGL 2024 Challenge 2 - DSO Sky Survey

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Nasa's "Astronomy Picture of the Day" on 23/01/2024  was a remarkable image covering a huge area of sky and revealing a multitude of deep sky objects https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap240123.html

Of course, very few of us have Arizona type night skies but lets see what you can come up with.  This challenge is to capture the night sky and the deep sky objects hiding there.  It can be a single wide field image or a multipanel mosaic.  The only rule is that the same camera and scope/lens should be used throughout.  You can use different filters if you wish.  The judges will be looking at the depth of the image, the sheer number of objects visible and also the aesthetic quality of the image.  You could choose to annotate your image but if you do this please only use annotations which appear when you move you cursor over it.  Part of the fun is for people to see how many objects they can identify for themselves 

If you have any questions about the challenge please message me, please do not start a discussion within the thread


Start date 2nd February 2024

End date 30 April 2024

No entries will be accepted after this date.


As previously the winner and runners up will receive an SGL challenge mug showing their image along with a virtual medal-of-honour for their SGL signature.

Please post entries directly into this thread

To keep the thread manageable for the judges please do not post comments about entries, emoji reactions are welcome of course.



All data must be captured and processed by you (no collaborative entries). 
Data must be captured during the challenge start & end dates. 
Multiple entries are allowed but please make a fresh post within the thread.
Multiple submissions of the same image, processed differently, will not be accepted.


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  • MartinB pinned this topic
  • 1 month later...

I got lucky with the Rosette last week.   Rig;  Esprit100, AZ-EQ6-GT, ASI2600MC & an Optolong L-Ultra under a Bortle7/8.  Processed only with Siril. 


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This is the large scale and wide field version of Abell 1185 which I previously published in the Deep Sky Imaging section (judges, if it is not allowed to enter an image previously posted on this forum, please remove this entry from the competition).

16.5 hours with my MN190 and ASI294MM

Capture dates: March 6 and 7 of this year


Click on the image to show the full size version

You can find the annotated version here:



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Here is my first entry here and hopefully not the last, but the weather has been absolutely shocking of late I think we can all agree on that (those in the UK that is)!

A deep sky survey wouldn't be a deep sky one if Markarians Chain was not entered! As above this is a mere 4 hours of data at F7.5 shot at 180s.

Image captured on the 20th March in a four hour window of no clouds or rain in the whole of March. I spent a while processing this trying to maximise what small integration time I had to work with. 

I am sure someone will do a bit more justice than mine when we finally get some clear nights. Unbelievably a clear night for me tonight, so its M106, so perhaps there will be another image entered Afterall. 




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Here is the Coma Cluster of galaxies, centred on NGC 4889. 7.43 hrs of integration made up of 145 x 2 mins Lum with the Esprit150/QHY268mono and 78 x 2 mins RGB with the Esprit150/QHY268OSC. 80% of the subs were taken with an 80% illuminated moon about 40 degrees away. I haven't yet worked out how to display a mouse hover over annotated image so if you want to see an annotated version, please go to the Deep Sky imaging section.

Calibrated and stacked in APP, processed in PI and Affinity Photo. For the record, I have one reference which says there are 106 galaxies in this cluster.


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Here is another image taken in March I have just completed. I imaged M106 over three nights and used 10 hours of the data collected. Images were 180s long. Hopefully this qualifies within the rules as I do see several distant NGC and PGC catalogued galaxies as shown in the annotation. 

I just realised I didn't specify equipment on Markarians Chain above and it was the same here. Explore Scientific 127ed and I used ZWO2600 MC Pro cooled to -10.  I cropped the image, but the annotated image was the uncropped version. 

Image was captured with 94 - 98% illuminated moon from Bortle 4.5 with no filters 





Thanks Simon 

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Here are a few links of Markarian's chain, centred on Arp 120, "the Eyes". Two consecutive clear nights in Shropshire so managed 143 x 2 mins Lum and 105 x 2 mins RGB with the Esprit 150/QHY268 dual rig. making 8.5 hrs integration.

Calibrated, stacked, LP removal and star colour calibration in APP, processed in PI and Affinity Photo.


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On 02/02/2024 at 10:24, MartinB said:

This challenge is to capture the night sky and the deep sky objects hiding there.


I took it very seriously, my DSOs are literally hidden between the stars... 😉


Bode's Galaxy (M81) & Cigar Galaxy (M82) - 2024.03.28-29

Carl Zeiss Jena DDR F/3.5 @ F/5.6, IDAS LPS-P2, ASI 2600MC-Pro @ EQ5 OnStep GoTo mod;
6h 28m of integration time; Gain 101, Offset 50, -10°C;
ASIair Plus v1, PixInsight, Affinity Photo;
Liverpool, Bortle 9.

AstroBin combined     : https://www.astrobin.com/di138o/G/
AstroBin starless/crop : https://www.astrobin.com/di138o/G/#r0




I just discovered this interesting vintage lens. The Carl Zeiss Jena factory (located in East Germany) started manufacturing this model in 1976, so it's possible that the one is 48 years old. I bought it in excellent condition from our SGL fellow.

Yes, I had to step it down to F/5.6, and yes, I had to use the BlurXterminator plugin to obtain nearly pinpoint stars in corners, but it's not a modern Sigma or Samyang 135mm F/1.8. :) 

I really like natural spikes made by OTAs, if they are sharp and clean (I don't like artificial ones), so I was very intrigued when I saw these spikes for the first time:




I think their odd shape is due to a shape of an iris blades inside the lens (respectively F/3.5 and F/5.6) - they don't even try to pretend to make a round hole. :D I like this oddity.





Edited by Vroobel
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  • 2 weeks later...

Widefield of the Virgo Cluster featuring Markarians Chain  and lots of faint Fuzzies ...

Data aquired on night of 9th April 2024 which was moonless


Imaging Telescopes     William Optics Redcat 61
Imaging Cameras        ZWO ASI2600MC Pro
Mount                         ZWO AM5
Filter                           Optolong L-Quad Enhance 2"
    Adobe Photoshop · Aries Productions Astro Pixel Processor (APP) · Pleiades Astrophoto PixInsight · Russell Croman Astrophotography BlurXTerminator · Russell Croman Astrophotography NoiseXTerminator · Russell Croman Astrophotography StarXTerminator · ZWO ASIAIR

Acquisition details

Dates:                 9 Apr 2024
Frames:               115×120″(3h 50′)
Integration:         3h 50′
Avg. Moon age:     0.85 days
Avg. Moon phase:    0.81%
Pixel scale: 2.585 arcsec/pixel



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A small section of the Coma Cluster of galaxies.

This is 5 hours of RGB data on this galaxy-rich part of the night sky, captured with my MN190 and ASI294MM camera, and processed in Pixinsight. Captured during two clear nights April 11 and April 12.

For the annotated version I used the ngc/ic (pink), LEDA (blue), and GMP (yellow) catalogues. GMP is a compilation of 6724 galaxies in the Coma cluster, published by Godwin, Metcalfe and Peach in 1983. Apparently, this catalogue only goes up to DEC 29o 16'

Some of the most distant galaxies in this image are more than 2 billion light years away from us. I targeted this area because of the interacting galaxies ngc 4922 in the upper part of the image. The tidal stream was just about visible in the captured data.




Edited by wimvb
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Here is a 4 panel mosaic of Caldwell 41, or the Hyades Cluster.

Captured on 30th March when it was already low in the sky, this is a 4 panel mosaic using my ASI 585mc with an Astronomik L2 filter with a Samyang 135 wide open at f/2. Each panel comprises of 30x5s subs at gain 252, under less than ideal conditions, which ironically assisted with emphasizing the brightest stars especially Aldebaran.

Stacked individually in Siril, Mosaic created in ASTAP and then processed with Pixinsight and Blur/Noise XT.



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12 minutes ago, gorann said:

Thanks! @ollypenriceand I are usually mixing focal length in our images, which is against the rules of this particular competition.

Indeed!  However, I've no idea how one might go about making a widefield image from a single focal length. Is it even possible?


Edited by ollypenrice
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12 minutes ago, Elp said:

Surprised there's not more as it's stated in the entry requirements, maybe the weather? What isn't so clear is whether duplicate optics+camera is permissible.

A very good point!  Genuinely duplicate equipment is within the spirit of this challenge and acceptable.

It is important that the thread is kept for image submissions.  I will leave this discussion open for another day and then hide the posts.

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On 31/03/2024 at 21:32, Vroobel said:

I just discovered this interesting vintage lens. The Carl Zeiss Jena factory (located in East Germany) started manufacturing this model in 1976, so it's possible that the one is 48 years old. I bought it in excellent condition from our SGL fellow.

Hi Vroobel,

Just a small note about the lens - you may want to run a Geiger counter over it. Many good-quality older lenses (including Zeiss) contain Thorium in the glass as it improved the optical quality, and emit alpha particles, beta particles and even gamma rays (due to the radioactive decay chain) in varying amounts. As one YouTube video (Radioactive Drew, on a video about radioactive cinema lenses) put it recently, they're generally safe enough to handle but you wouldn't want to sleep with one under your pillow. Most of the radioactive lenses (from cinema projection systems, so quite large) which they tested were pretty safe, but there was at least one which you definitely wouldn't want to be standing next to for too long.

A post on https://lenslegend.com/radioactive-lenses/ seems to say that the main danger that can arise is if the lens is cracked, shattered, etc. and microscopic radioactive fragments someone get ingested or inhaled.

Anyway, I just thought I'd mention it as it doesn't seem to be common knowledge.

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M51 Wide Field

Last image of the season from my Swedish obsy (no more astrodarkness). I did two unconventional things with this image. I used wide field 400 mm focal length RASA, which is rarely used for galaxies except for the few very big ones, and I used a dual-band (Ha + Oiii) filter (since the moon was out). I did manage to capture much of the weak tidal streams around M51, and numerous of the small galaxies in the neighborhood. I had hoped to detect more strong Ha structures but could only find some diffuse and faint dusty structures.

I was inspired by the recent RASA image of M51 by @ollypenrice and tempted to do like him and add long focal length data to M51, but I was rather pleased to see how much detail the RASA could pull out, and by keeping it a pure RASA image I finally had something to contribute to this competition.

Captured with my dual-RASA8 rig on the night 14-15 April. Cameras were ASI2600MC and filter was IDAS NBZ. 62 x 5 min (5.2 h) processed in PI and PS with the XTerminator tools.

Cheers, Göran

20240414 M51 RASA1+2 PS18smallSign.jpg

Screenshot 2024-04-19 at 13.26.24.png

Edited by gorann
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Captured over 3 nights (in February 2024 and March 2024), this is a four pane mosaic of the Virgo cluster.  ~14 hours across the four panes with my Epsilon 130D and 2600MC Pro.  

So much to enjoy when browsing the full size image.  Some more chat/info in the Deep Sky Imaging thread here


Annotated version if you want to look anything up after browsing around the primary image.


Edited by geeklee
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Abell 1656 - Coma Galaxy Cluster and Quasar Hunt

With all the poor weather in the UK so far I had a rare clear night on 9th April 2024 and a New Moon as well. Here is Abell 1656 in Coma Berenices. There are some 100 quasars (green label), a planetary nebula (red label) and too many PGC galaxies to count in this image. Nice to see that I managed to capture some bright pixels for the Quasars as well.

Equipment & Data

William Optics Z103 refractor.

ZWO ASI294mc Pro with Chroma Lum filter.

Sky-Watcher EQR6-Pro mount.

161 x 120" subs, Gain 121, Offset 30, Sensor temp -10 c, Bin 1x1


Abell 1656 - Coma Cluster.jpg




Edited by Hughsie
added label colours
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