My attempts at astro imaging

Posts tagged “messier

M76 – The little dumbbell

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!




Quick M27 (Dumbell Nebula)

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!



M63 – Sunflower Galaxy

It was cloudy all day yesterday, I only looked outside to see if the cat was wanting in and I saw a lovely clear sky, time for Galaxy hunting!

M63, another galaxy like M51 in Canes Venatici around 37,ooo Light years away and was discovered by Charles Messier’s assistant Pierre Mechain in 1779. I got 16 x 10 minute subs, guiding is still pretty ropey and I think I am going to have to take a look at all my cables etc as something is a little loose, also my polar alignment seems to be slightly off……

I ran this image through the image annotation in Pixinsight, just to show off the other distant galaxies in the image.




M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy

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!).


M101 the Pinwheel Galaxy

As last night was lovely and clear I could not resist going out to the Obsy.  It’s just coming into galaxy season now so M101 was the main target of the evening.  I should have used the newt but I gave somebody a loan of my collimator so had to stick with the ZS70.  I think I imaged this years ago when I had a canon 350d, so time to revisit an old friend!

M101 is a face-on spiral galaxy in Ursa-Major (the plough to you and me), its about 21 million light years away, so a lot further out than Andromeda, our next door neighbor at only 2.25 million light years but is around 70% larger.



I also did an annotated version – PGC stands for Primary Galaxy Catalog, you can see I picked up a lot of these faint and distant galaxies, would love to know what the most distant one is!


Andromeda V2 as promised!

I had another go at processing this tonight, when the kids were in bed and I had some free time!  This time round, I did a bit more processing to bring out the galaxy, more saturation and more noise reduction, I think it’s better?  Comments are always welcome 🙂


M27 in Ha

Well, with the full moon about I decided to crack out the Ha filter and try some imaging with my William Optics ZS70, unfortunately the choice of target was not great! I love widefields but this is a bit too wide!  I have had to crop the image to make it presentable, still its good to be back outside in dark skies again…..


M42 HaRGB v2

I re-shot the Ha data as the previous version was pushed way to far (A constant danger with Pixinsight!) and added it to the RGB I shot a few days ago. I am a lot happier with it now, I deliberatly underprocessed it to get a softer and more natural look to it.


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.