Had a nice clear night on the 10th Feb, so got out and did some imaging. First up is the Monkey Head Nebula, this is in the constellation of Orion and it does from certain angles look like the head of a monkey! It’s around 6000 light years distant this is a star forming area, Hydrogen gas is glowing, excited by the ultra violet light from hot new stars.
The image is 12x 20 minute subs, or 4hrs total exposure time, I also took some flat frames in the morning and these worked well (I find they can sometimes be a bit hit and miss, I have never really figured out why). The image was stacked and processed in Pixinsight and I rather like it! I used the masked stretch process which maintains the star colours.
After I did the above, it was still clear and I went galaxy hunting…. Makarians Chain of galaxies in Virgo is a favorite of mine, although it’s difficult to bring out any real detail or colour out of galaxies that are as far away as this lot (these are around 60 million light years from us!). This was also shot with 20 minute subs, I left the observatory open all night and managed to get 17 images or 5hrs 40mins in total. As above, all processing etc was done in Pixinsight.