My attempts at astro imaging

Posts tagged “astro

First of the new season – NGC891

This is the first image from the winter 2016 season – I swapped over to my SCT, so am now imaging at 2000mm focal length (For comparison, 3x zoom on a digital camera is around 55mm), which is a lot more challenging!

NGC891 is a edge on spiral galaxy around 30 million light years away, in the constellation of Andromeda (The Andromeda galaxy, the furthest object you can see with the naked eye, from a dark site, is only 2m LY away)



Added another 11 x 10min subs from last night, this time I used the Off Axis Guider rather than the separate 70mm frac as a guidescope. Not sure now what image is best!



Added another 4hrs of data to Horsehead, this time in Ha

I really wanted to add some good Ha to this image, so the other night, I managed 12x 20 min subs in Ha, this has really brought out the wispy nebulosity behind the horsehead and generally got rid of a lot of noise, I used the original RGB image for the flame area as this is a different  colour and the Ha just made it all red, so the Ha is really in the Horsehead parts only.  This must be my longest ever imaging run, 4hrs in RGB and 4hrs in Ha!!


I did a bot of LHE in Pixinsight and came up with this version…..


HaRGBHorsehead&Flame - Final Image


Another go at the Horsehead & flame nebulas

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!


LatestVersionwith sharper horsehead

The Horsehead and Flame Nebulas

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….



Hickson 55 Galaxy Group

This is a nice little group of gravitationally interacting galaxies in Leo. The image is 12 x 15min subs, taken with my usual setup of QHY8 ccd on an Altair Astro 8″ F4 Newt, it was giuded by a finder guider (Due to lack of stars in this area of sky I could not use the OAG).  All processing was done in Pixinsight…



M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy

Always a favourite galaxy to image, the Whielpool galaxy is actually 2 galaxies interacting. This was taken on the 17th of feb and is 15 x 10min subs with my Altair F4 newt.  All stacking and processing was carried out in Pixinsight – I managed to get Atois wavelets to actually work and sharpen the image at the linear stage (As well as applying noise reduction at this stage) and this made a huge difference to the finaly ‘crispness’ of the image!M51-with-inset-closeup

M97 and M108

I realy like it when I can get 2 objects in the same field of view and better still when one is inside and one outside the Milky Way.  M97, also known as the owl nebula is a planetary nebuala, the source star shed it’s outer layers when it reached the end of its life around 6000 years ago. M97 is roughly 2600 light years from us.

M108 is a barred spiral galaxy located about 45 million light years from us, both these objects are in Ursa Major.



M101 – Face on spiral galaxy

I have been wanting to do another M101 for a couple of years now – the original one was done with a DSLR a long time ago and I wanted to see if I could improve on it.  So this is 2 nights worth of images, 4hrs in total, mostly in 5min subs but with a few 10 min ones added at the end.  The usual scope – Altair 8″ F4 and camera, QHY8. I guided with a finder guider as there are not many stars in this area for the OAG to work on. I also applied PEC to this image, after using the new auto PEC feature in EQMod.

I was hoping for a little more in the way of detail but I suppose it’s not bad for only an 8″ scope in the UK skies that we have!

M101 is a nice face on spiral galaxy in the constellation of Ursa Major and is 21 million light years from us, discovered in 1781 but the famous Charles Messier.


First post in 2012 – IC410

This was actually taken before the end of the year but I never got round to processing it – it is very faint and could do with more time on target but you make do with what you have eh?  Its around 3hrs in 15min subs, with my Altair 8″ F4 Newt and QHY8, guiding was with an OAG and Lodestar. All stacking and processing done in Pixinsight.

So, what is IC410????  It’s an area of glowing hydrogen gas, the reaosn it’s glowing – there is a cluster (NGC1893) that is exciting the gas with the energy from it’s hot young stars.  IC410 is in the constellation of Auriga (The charioteer) and is nice and high in the sky at this time of year making it a perfect winter target. The most interesting thing in the image is the ‘Tadpoles’, these objects are around 10 light years long and are created by the stellar winds and radiation from the cluster – the tails point directly away from the clusters central star.


The Jellyfish nebula


Well, this aint good!  It is only 7 subs of 15mins each and judging by how faint the signal is I think I need at least 3 times the amount of data….. Still, an image is an image!  Due to the lack of signal and subs I have not pushed things too far, did a bot of star reduction and noise reduction but thats about it.  The scope was a William Optics 70mm with a TeleVue flattener on it – this works a lot better than the William Optics FF Mk2 that I own (The TV is borrowed from a fellow amateur).  If you look back through this blog you will find another image of this target taken a couple of years ago with a Skywatcher Ed80, this gives a closer in view of the nebula but alas it is also lacking in data – Need to make a note to go back and do this ‘properly’ next time!!!

So, the Jellyfish nebula – as can be seen this is a huge mass of glowing hydrogen gas, it’s a supernove remnant in Gemini roughly 5,000 light years from us.  Estimates vary between 3,00 and 30,000 years for the date of the supernova.