The second of this seasons images at 2m with my 8″ SCT. This really needs longer exposure time and lots more subs but an image is an image! M76 is noted as being one of the faintest of all the Messier objects – I have seen it in my 12″ Dob and can confirm, it’s very faint.
M76 is a Planetary Nebula in the Perseus constellation discovered in 1780 by Pierre Mechain. The distance is round 3,400 Light Years from Earth but I cant find a date for the actual superenova that left this remnant behind!
I have been wanting to get my SCT back on the mount for a couple of seasons but never seem to get round to it for some reason or another…. Well last week I finally made the change and am going to be imaging at 2000mm focal length rather than the relatively easier 800mm that my F4 8″ Newt gives me. The scope is an 8″ Meade SCT, that I used to image with before with a F6.3 reducer but then I got hold of the Newt…..
Anyway, this was really meant to be a setting up night, it takes a while (Especially with the small field of view at 2m) to get the GoTo an Plate Solving working – It took about 1.5hrs then I went to take some test shots to see how the guiding was. As can be seen from the image it seems to need a tweak, I always get elongation diagonally across the image and really need to get to the bottom of it but when zoomed out a little it is not too noticeable. So…. I took one 5 min sub, then thought I would let it run at 10 mins but the clouds rolled in and cut the session short, hence the 25mins, 1x 5 min and 2X 10min…
M27, it’s a supernova remnant sitting nice and high inside the summer triangle, makes a nice visual target as well due to it’s size an it’s not too hard to find either. I plan on taking more shots of this before the season is out, would ideally like 3 or 4 hrs on it but for 25mins I think it is passable!
Due to the roof of the observatory at my last place, I could not image this, so the previous attempt was years ago when I had a pier in the back garden.
So, M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy, dont think there is any need to explain the name, fairly obvious from the image! It’s actually 2 galaxies interacting with each other (again, fairly obvious from the image). M51 lies in Canes Venatici not far from the Big Dipper arteism, and is 23 million light years away.
This was taken with the F4 Newt at 800mm focal length, I’m finished for the season with my little 70m frac and am going to try and get some galaxies in before the light nights arrive in the next 6 weeks or so, then the astro season will be over until September or so(although I have an image of M67 an open cluster I still need to post!).
This was taken on the 28th of December, I have wanted to grab another image of the Rosette for years but due to its large size I needed to wait till I got another short focal length refractor. I did take 5 hrs of images in 20 min subs but something went wrong with the guiding after only 4 (That will teach me to check on progress!) so thats all this image is made of. So I need to go back and get more Ha and also grab some RGB – This is in Ha as the moon was around, it also allows me to get a good bit of contrast in the clouds of the Rosette.
The nebula then, the Rosette Nebula lies some 5200 light years from us, it’s not really clouds of course, the cloudy areas are hydrogen gas glowing in a deep red, the gas is excited by the light from the cluster of stars in the centre of the nebula.Star formation is also occurring in the region due to the stellar winds from the same stars.
Hopefully this is just a work in progress and the new year will bring some nice clear nights…..
I was not happy with my last attempt and so went out and re-shot – this time in 15min subs as opposed to 5mins, I also grabbed 4 1/4 hrs worth of data, in RGB only….. I was intending to shoot some more Ha but that will have to wait!
The horsehead nebula is my all time favourite object – it really does look like a sea horse’s head! It’s a very tough target to image and even tougher to see (I have heard of people seeing it visually through 20″ scopes but I think even that is rare and only from very dark and transparent sites). The Horsehead Nebula is a dark nebula, it is just some dust, sitting in the way of the light from a nearby bright star, the Flame nebula is similer, ultraviolet light from the brightest star in the image, is knocking electrons out of the Hydrogen gas and causing it to glow the characteristic red colour.
The Horsehead & Flame nebula is located in Orions belt, the really bright star in the image is the leftmost/bottom of the three stars in Orions Belt – Alnitak.
The imaging kit was my usual setup of F4 8″ Newt, QHY8 and a Lodestar for guiding, I tool about 1hr of RGB in 5 min subs and 2 hrs of Ha data in 10 min subs. I think I really should have gone for more RGB but with the weather here is Scotland you have got to grab the skies while you can and move on to the next target….
I think this will be the last image of the season, I really wanted to get something just to prove the EQ6 was working…… I only got 5 x 5min subs before the clouds rolled in but still I’m happy with it (Other than the not perfect stars due to tube currents). I used Pixinsights HDRWavelets tool to really bring out the stars in the core of the globular.
M13, is the largest globular cluster in the northern hemisphere and really is a wonderful object both visually and for imaging. It’s in the constellation of Hercules and is about 150 light years in diameter and is composed of several hundred thousand stars – image the view from a planet in M13!!!!