Deep Space Objects

These images are heavily compressed to make them download more quickly - if you would like to see the full size hi-res version please visit my Flickr album or click on any of the images below.

Many people when seeing these images ask - 'what is it' - followed by 'how big is it' and 'how far away is it'. I have included some relevant information about each image.

All these images were taken from our back garden on the West Coast of Scotland from 2013 onwards.

25th April 2020 - M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy. Definitely the last image of this season. Just 90 mins of Luminance binned 1x1 and 20 mins each of RGB binned 2x2. There is less than 2 hours of astronomical darkness now - so that's it now until late August. Short exposure time makes the image more 'noisy' and my telescope is not really suited to imaging galaxies so this is heavily cropped which again increases the noise.

The Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as Messier 101, M101 or NGC 5457) is a face-on spiral galaxy distanced 21 million light-years (six megaparsecs)[3] away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. Discovered by Pierre Méchain on March 27, 1781, it was communicated to Charles Messier who verified its position for inclusion in the Messier Catalogue as one of its final entries.

20th April 2020 - The Leo Triplet - a cheeky three hours on the Leo Triplet. 1 hour each of RGB binned 1x1. I have never tried imaging in >25kts of wind before but the Mesu mount barely flinched. That's probably it for this season - more to come in September!

The Leo Triplet (also known as the M66 Group) is a small group of galaxies about 35 million light-years away[5] in the constellation Leo. This galaxy group consists of the spiral galaxies M65, M66, and NGC 3628.

18th April 2020 - Markarian's Chain - I had packed up my gear for the summer but the promise of 5 nights clear skies with no moon, no wind, no clouds etc and not having to get up for work in the morning prompted me to drag it all out of hibernation and get cracking! This is just 90 mins of Lum and 20 mins each of RGB binned 2x2. The plan was to spend two or three nights on this target but a bad dose of Hay Fever and not being able to see properly put paid to that! So its noisy and lacking depth but in terms of numbers of Galaxies in one frame its tremendous value for money. 4" frac, Atik 16200. Fully calibrated with darks, bias and flats and processed entirely in Pixinsight.

Markarian's Chain is a stretch of galaxies that forms part of the Virgo Cluster. When viewed from Earth, the galaxies lie along a smoothly curved line. Charles Messier first discovered two of the galaxies, M84 and M86, in 1781. The other galaxies seen in the chain were discovered by William Herschel[1] and are now known primarily by their catalog numbers in John Louis Emil Dreyer's New General Catalogue, published in 1888.[2] It was ultimately named after the Armenian astrophysicist, Benjamin Markarian, who discovered their common motion in the early 1960s.[3] Member galaxies include M84 (NGC 4374), M86 (NGC 4406), NGC 4477, NGC 4473, NGC 4461, NGC 4458, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435. It is located at RA 12h 27m and Dec +13° 10′.

The bright members of the chain are visible through small telescopes. Larger telescopes can be used to view the fainter galaxies.[2]

That's all now for the 2019/2020 season - a complete washout. I am currently trying to make an 'All Sky Camera' which should image the entire sky and take 45 second images from dusk to dawn then stitch them together to make a time lapse of the entire night which should capture aurora, meteors and any visiting aliens ;-) These will be posted on the Widefield page.

20th/21st March 2020 - The Rosette Nebula. This image was gathered partly at the end of November (Luminance) and unbelievably we didn't get another clear night until the end of March! The colour data was gathered on the 20th and 21st March 2020. I ended up with just 80 mins of luminance and about 2 hours of RGB colour binned 2x2 so this image is very short of data and therefore isn't up to my normal standard but I was determined to finish it before packing up for the summer.

The Rosette Nebula (also known as Caldwell 49) is a large spherical H II region (circular in appearance) located near one end of a giant molecular cloud in the Monoceros region of the Milky Way Galaxy. The open clusterNGC 2244 (Caldwell 50) is closely associated with the nebulosity, the stars of the cluster having been formed from the nebula's matter.

The cluster and nebula lie at a distance of some 5,000 light-years from Earth[3]) and measure roughly 130 light years in diameter. The radiation from the young stars excites the atoms in the nebula, causing them to emit radiation themselves producing the emission nebula we see. The mass of the nebula is estimated to be around 10,000 solar masses.

28/9th November 2019 - The Tadpoles and friends. Tadpoles - large nebula at the bottom (IC410) and the Spider Nebula - middle right (IC417) and the Fly - top edge of the image (NGC1931). 3 hours Ha and 2 hours each of SII and OIII - all binned 1x1. Tak 106 with Atik 16200. Fully calibrated and processed in Pixinsight. To be honest I am really disappointed with the framing - I think I was trying to squash too much in the frame - I should probably have concentrated on the Tadpoles in the centre of the image.

The two 'tadpoles' can be seen in the blue core of the nebula - they look small in the image but each one is about 10 light years long.

17th November 2019 (Below) The Elephants Trunk Complex (IC1396) - Takahashi 106, Atik 16200, Atik EFW3 filter wheel, Baader 2" narrowband filters, Mesu 200 mount guided with SW ED72 and ASI 290 mono. Software - SGP, PHD2, processed In Pixinsight and fully calibrated with darks, bias and flats. 3 hours Ha - 2 hours Oiii and 2 hours Sii all binned 1x1 - Processed in Hubble pallet using Pixinsight. Very poor seeing and 72% moon.

The Elephant's Trunk Nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust within the much larger ionized gas region IC 1396 located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth.[1] The piece of the nebula shown here is the dark, dense globule IC 1396A; it is commonly called the Elephant's Trunk nebula because of its appearance at visible light wavelengths, where there is a dark patch with a bright, sinuous rim. The bright rim is the surface of the dense cloud that is being illuminated and ionized by a very bright, massive star (HD 206267) that is just to the east of IC 1396A. (In the Spitzer Space Telescope view shown, the massive star is just to the left of the edge of the image.) The entire IC 1396 region is ionized by the massive star, except for dense globules that can protect themselves from the star's harsh ultraviolet rays.

The Elephant's Trunk Nebula is now thought to be a site of star formation, containing several very young (less than 100,000 yr) stars that were discovered in infrared images in 2003. Two older (but still young, a couple of million years, by the standards of stars, which live for billions of years) stars are present in a small, circular cavity in the head of the globule. Winds from these young stars may have emptied the cavity.

The combined action of the light from the massive star ionizing and compressing the rim of the cloud, and the wind from the young stars shifting gas from the center outward lead to very high compression in the Elephant's Trunk Nebula. This pressure has triggered the current generation of protostars.[2][3]

30th October 2019 - The Soul Nebula - IC1848 - (Below). Tak 106, Atik 16200, Baader narrowband filters, Mesu 200 mount. Guided with SWED72 and ZWO290 mono. Fully calibrated with darks, flats and bias. 2 hours each of Ha, Sii and Oiii. Processed entirely in Pixinsight.

Westerhout 5 (Sharpless 2-199, LBN 667, Soul Nebula) is an emission nebula located in Cassiopeia. Several small open clusters are embedded in the nebula: CR 34, 632, and 634[citation needed] (in the head) and IC 1848 (in the body). The object is more commonly called by the cluster designation IC 1848.

Small emission nebula IC 1871 is present just left of the top of the head, and small emission nebulae 670 and 669 are just below the lower back area.

The galaxies Maffei 1 and Maffei 2 are both nearby the nebula, although light extinction from the Milky Way makes them very hard to see. Once thought to be part of the Local Group, they are now known to belong to their own group- the IC 342/Maffei Group.

This complex is the eastern neighbor of IC1805 (Heart Nebula) and the two are often mentioned together as the "Heart and Soul".

28th October 2019 - (Below) The Witch's Broom and surrounding area - NGC6960 - also known as the Veil Nebula - Takahashi 106, Atik 16200, Atik EFW3 filter wheel, Baader 2" broadband filters, Mesu 200 mount guided with SW ED72 and ASI 290 mono. Software - SGP, PHD2, processed In Pixinsight and fully calibrated with darks, bias and flats. 3 hours Ha - 2 hours Oiii all binned 1x1 - Processed in HOO pallet using Pixinsight.

The Veil Nebula is a cloud of heated and ionized gas and dust in the constellation Cygnus.[4]

It constitutes the visible portions of the Cygnus Loop,[5] a supernova remnant, many portions of which have acquired their own individual names and catalogue identifiers. The source supernova was a star 20 times more massive than the Sun, which exploded around 8,000 years ago.[4] The remnants have since expanded to cover an area of the sky roughly 3 degrees in diameter (about 6 times the diameter, or 36 times the area, of the full Moon).[4] The distance to the nebula is not precisely known, but Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) data supports a distance of about 1,470 light-years.[2]

27th October 2019 - (Below) The North America Nebula - NGC7000 - Takahashi 106, Atik 16200, Atik EFW3 filter wheel, Baader 2" broadband filters, Mesu 200 mount guided with SW ED72 and ASI 290 mono. Software - SGP, PHD2, processed In Pixinsight and fully calibrated with darks, bias and flats. 3 hours Ha - 2 hours Oiii and 2 hours Sii all binned 1x1. A lot of low whispy cloud and poor seeing. Processed in 'Hubble' pallet. This needs reprocessing when I have time - all the brightest stars in the middle have 'Raccoon Eyes' !

The North America Nebula is large, covering an area of more than four times the size of the full moon; but its surface brightness is low, so normally it cannot be seen with the unaided eye. Binoculars and telescopes with large fields of view (approximately 3°) will show it as a foggy patch of light under sufficiently dark skies. However, using a UHC filter, which filters out some unwanted wavelengths of light, it can be seen without magnification under dark skies. Its prominent shape and especially its reddish color (from the hydrogenemission line) show up only in photographs of the area.

The portion of the nebula resembling Mexico and Central America is known as the Cygnus Wall. This region exhibits the most concentrated star formation.

The North America Nebula and the nearby Pelican Nebula (IC 5070) are parts of the same interstellar cloud of ionized hydrogen (H II region). Between the Earth and the nebula complex lies a band of interstellar dust that absorbs the light of stars and nebulae behind it, and thereby determines the shape as we see it. The distance of the nebula complex is not precisely known, nor is the star responsible for ionizing the hydrogen so that it emits light. If the star inducing the ionization is Deneb, as some sources say, the nebula complex would be about 1,800 light-years' distance, and its absolute size (6° apparent diameter on the sky) would be 100 light-years.

The nebula was discovered by William Herschel, from Slough, England, on October 24, 1786 or by his son John Herschel before 1833.[4]

20th October 2019 - The Pleiades - M45 - Takahashi 106, Atik 16200, Atik EFW3 filter wheel, Baader 2" broadband filters, Mesu 200 mount guided with SW ED72 and ASI 290 mono. Software - SGP, PHD2, processed In Pixinsight and fuly calibrated with darks, bias and flats. 5 hours exposure @ -30º - 3 hours Lum binned 1x1 and 40 mins each RG and B binned 2x2.

The Pleiades (/ˈplaɪ.ədiːz, ˈpliːə-/), also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45, are an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue and luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Reflection nebulae around the brightest stars were once thought to be left over material from the formation of the cluster, but are now considered likely to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium through which the stars are currently passing.[7]

Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades were probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula.[8] Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.[9]

21st September 2019 - The Heart Nebula - imaged over 19th and 20th Sept. in Ha, Sii and Oiii - 10 x 900 second subs of each. Takahashi 106 - Atik 16200 - EFW3 with Baader 2" filters, guided with SW ED72 and ZWO290 mono mounted on a Mesu 200. Sequenced with SGP, guided with PHD2, processed with darks, bias and flats in Pixinsight. Post processed in the SHO (Hubble) style and HOS. Battled against wind and high cloud but for the first image of the year and a new camera I am quite satisfied with this one - particularly the Hubble pallet version.

The Heart Nebula, IC 1805, Sharpless 2-190, lies some 7500 light years away from Earth and is located in the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. It was discovered by William Herschel on 3 November 1787.[1] This is an emission nebula showing glowing ionized hydrogen gas and darker dust lanes.[2]

The very brightest part of this nebula (the knot at the western edge) is separately classified as NGC 896, because it was the first part of this nebula to be discovered.

The nebula's intense red output and its configuration are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars near the nebula's center. This open cluster of stars known as Melotte 15 contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, and many more dim stars that are only a fraction of our Sun's mass.[1]

7th April 2019 - Last year I was approached by the Astronomer Royal for Scotland - Professor John Brown OBE - asking if he could use some of my astro images in a book he was writing and I agreed (Obviously!!)

The 'Scotland on Sunday' (our equivalent of the Sunday Times) ran a story today about the book and the paper has also used one of my images.

Attached are two scans - one of the full text and one of the full photo as it is slightly bigger than A4.

Fame at last! It's only taken 60 years!

POSTSCRIPT - I was informed on the 17th November 2019 that Professor Brown had died suddenly the previous day. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

25th - 30th January 2019 - below - M42 - the Orion Nebula Imaged over 3 nights in between the rain and snow showers. Shocking transparency and seeing. 3 hours in 300 sec subs Lum binned 1x1 and 1 hour in 120 sec subs of RGB binned 2x2 for the main image and 20 mins in 10 sec subs binned 1x1 and 10 mins in 5 sec subs binned 2x2 for the core. Takahashi 106 EDX IV with Atik 460. Both images fully calibrated with Darks, Bias and Flats and processed in Pixinsight.

The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way, being south of Orion's Belt in the constellation of Orion.[b] It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. M42 is located at a distance of 1,344 ± 20 light years[3][6] and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 light years across. It has a mass of about 2,000 times that of the Sun. Older texts frequently refer to the Orion Nebula as the Great Nebula in Orion or the Great Orion Nebula.[7]

The Orion Nebula is one of the most scrutinized and photographed objects in the night sky, and is among the most intensely studied celestial features.[8] The nebula has revealed much about the process of how stars and planetary systems are formed from collapsing clouds of gas and dust. Astronomers have directly observed protoplanetary disks, brown dwarfs, intense and turbulent motions of the gas, and the photo-ionizingeffects of massive nearby stars in the nebula.

31st January 2019 - below - The Rosette Nebula A rare night - no moon - no wind - great transparency and average seeing and -9.7º C. 3 hours Lum binned 1x1 and 1 hours RGB binned 2x2. Every sub passed the 'SubSelector' test in the processing programme - a first for me! Takahashi 106 EDX IV, Atik 460 EX mono camera. Proudness rating 8/10

The Rosette Nebula (also known as Caldwell 49) is a large spherical H II region (circular in appearance) located near one end of a giant molecular cloud in the Monoceros region of the Milky Way Galaxy. The open clusterNGC 2244 (Caldwell 50) is closely associated with the nebulosity, the stars of the cluster having been formed from the nebula's matter.

The cluster and nebula lie at a distance of some 5,000 light-years from Earth[3]) and measure roughly 130 light years in diameter. The radiation from the young stars excites the atoms in the nebula, causing them to emit radiation themselves producing the emission nebula we see. The mass of the nebula is estimated to be around 10,000 solar masses.

A survey of the nebula with the Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed the presence of numerous new-born stars inside optical Rosette Nebula and studded within a dense molecular cloud. Altogether, approximately 2500 young stars lie in this star-forming complex, including the massive O-type stars HD 46223 and HD 46150, which are primarily responsible for blowing the ionized bubble.[4][5] Most of the ongoing star-formation activity is occurring in the dense molecular cloud to the south east of the bubble.[6]

A diffuse X-ray glow is also seen between the stars in the bubble, which has been attributed to a super-hot plasma with temperatures ranging from 1 to 10 million K.[7] This is significantly hotter than the 10,000 K plasmas seen in HII regions, and is likely attributed to the shock-heated winds from the massive O-type stars.

8th Jan 2019 - below - The Pleiades (Seven Sisters)

Last night was only the third night this season that I have seen any stars! Lots of cloud, really bad seeing, windy but beggars cant be choosers and I am getting stir crazy !!! This was 5 hours of data but due to clouds and mist I have deleted well over half the subs. All that remains is about an hour of Lum binned 1x1 in 300 second subs and 20 mins each of RGB binned 2x2 in 120 second subs. 4" frac, Atik 460 ex mono camera, guided with PHD2. Fully calibrated and processed in Pixinsight. Not one I am proud of !!

The Pleiades (/ˈplaɪ.ədiːz, ˈpliːə-/), also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45, are an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue and luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Reflection nebulae around the brightest stars were once thought to be left over material from the formation of the cluster, but are now considered likely to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium through which the stars are currently passing.[7]

Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades were probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula.[8] Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.[9]

18th November 2018 - (Below) - Iris Nebula. 2 hours Luminance in 300 second subs binned 1x1, 1 hour each RGB in 120 second subs binned 2x2. Tak 106, Atik 460, EFW3 Baader broadband filters, guided with PHD2. Fully calibrated and processed in Pixinsight.

The Iris Nebula, also known as NGC 7023 and Caldwell 4, is a bright reflection nebula and Caldwell object in the constellation Cepheus. NGC 7023 is actually the cluster within the nebula, LBN 487, and the nebula is lit by a magnitude +7 star, SAO 19158.[1] It shines at magnitude +6.8. It is located near the Mira-type variable star T Cephei, and near the bright magnitude +3.23 variable star Beta Cephei (Alphirk). It lies 1,300 light-years away and is six light-years across.[2]

(Below) 16th and 17th November - An attempt at the central section of the California Nebula in narrowband from Friday and Saturday night. Truly awful seeing - like looking through boiling water. Very windy and really not one I am proud of but it was the first clearish nights this season and beggars can't be choosers !! Tak 106, Atik 460 Mono, EFW3 with Baader NB filters, guided with Evostar and Atik GP. 4 hours each Ha, SII and OIII in 600 second subs. Fully calibrated and processed in Pixinsight.

The California Nebula (NGC 1499) is an emission nebula located in the constellation Perseus. It is so named because it appears to resemble the outline of the US State of California on long exposure photographs. It is almost 2.5° long on the sky and, because of its very low surface brightness, it is extremely difficult to observe visually. It can be observed with a Hβ filter (isolates the Hβ line at 486 nm) in a rich-field telescope under dark skies.[1] It lies at a distance of about 1,000 light years from Earth. Its fluorescence is due to excitation of the Hβ line in the nebula by the nearby prodigiously energetic O7 star, xi Persei

(also known as Menkib, seen at center below it in the inset at right)

.[2]

The California Nebula was discovered by E. E. Barnard in 1884.

(Below) The Elephant's Trunk Nebula (IC 1396) - 3 hours Ha 2 hours Sii and 2 hours Oiii all in 600 second subs. Takahashi 106 EDXIIII, Atik 460 EX mono camera, Baader 2" narrowband filters in Atik EFW3, guided with Evostar 50 and Atik GP using PHD2 mounted on an Avalon Linear Fast Reverse. Fully calibrated with Darks, Flats and Bias and processed in Pixinsight using the SHO Hubble pallet.

(Below) Pacman Nebula or more properly NGC281 - from 27th October 2018. 2 hours Ha, 1.5 hours SII, 1.5 hours OIII. Takahashi 106EDXIIII, Atik460EXMono, Atik EFW3, Baader 2" Narrowband filters, Avalon Linear Fast Reverse mount guided by Evostar and Atik GP with PHD2. Fully calibrated with darks, bias and flats and processed in Pixinsight in 'Hubble Palette' with tweaks in Photoshop. Quite 'noisy' in places - could do with about triple the data but its a start!!

NGC 281, IC 11 or Sh2-184 is a bright emission nebula and part of an H II region in the northern constellation of Cassiopeia and is part of the Milky Way's Perseus Spiral Arm. This 20×30 arcmin sized nebulosity is also associated with open cluster IC 1590, several Bok globules and the multiple star, B 1. It collectively forms Sh2-184,[3] spanning over a larger area of 40 arcmin.[4] A recent distance from radio parallaxes of water masers at 22 GHz made during 2014 is estimated it lies 2.82±0.20 kpc. (9200 ly.) from us.[5] Colloquially, NGC 281 is also known as the Pacman Nebula for its resemblance to the video game character.

6th September 2018 (Below) - Had a pop at the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules (M13) last night - nearly didn't bother - high cloud turned into low cloud and mist - truly awful seeing and frost on the observatory when I packed up - but when needs must!!! 20 x 300 sec Luminance binned 1x1 and 20 x 120 seconds each of RGB binned 2x2. Tak 106, Atik 460 EXM, EFW3, Baader LRGB filters on an Avalon Liner Fast Reverse mount guided by Evoguide50 with Atik GP and PHD2. Processed entirely in Pixinsight. Its VERY noisy and not one I am proud of.

M13 is about 145 light-years in diameter, and it is composed of several hundred thousand stars, the brightest of which is a red giant, the variable star V11, with an apparent visual magnitude of 11.95. M13 is about 22,200 light-years away from Earth.

It wasn't until 1779 that the single stars in this globular cluster were resolved. Compared to the stars in the neighborhood of the Sun, the stars in M13's stellar population are more than a hundred times denser. They are so densely packed together that they sometimes collide and produce new stars. The newly-formed, young stars, so-called "blue stragglers," are particularly interesting to astronomers.[12]

28th August 2018 - M31 - Andromeda Galaxy - (Below) thankfully some sort of real darkness has returned and this evening I took the opportunity of a semi clear night albeit spoiled by high cloud and an almost full moon to get the mount polar aligned. This normally takes a couple of hours for really accurate drift alignment but it all went well and within 20 mins the mount was aligned to <2 arc seconds (that's 1/1800th of a degree!) - I took the opportunity to test the new scope and see if I could achieve focus as I had never used this scope before. Everything went really well so I took 20 x 3 min subs binned 1x1 of Lum and 10 x 2 min subs binned 2x2 each of RGB. Given the short exposure time and the dodgy sky I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the images so I stacked and processed them. Below is the result - compare it with the image directly below it - same target taken with my old setup 4 years ago. I think that answers the question - is a Takahashi telescope worth the money?? Hopefully you can tell which is which !!

Technical data - The Andromeda Galaxy (/ænˈdrɒmᵻdə/), also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224, is a spiral galaxy approximately 780 kiloparsecs (2.5 million light-years) from Earth.[4] It is the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way and was often referred to as the Great Andromeda Nebula in older texts. It received its name from the area of the sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda, which was named after the mythological princess Andromeda.

Andromeda is approximately 220,000 light years across, and it is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and other smaller galaxies. Despite earlier findings that suggested that the Milky Way contains more dark matter and could be the largest in the grouping,[12] the 2006 observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope revealed that Andromeda contains one trillion (1012) stars:[11] at least twice the number of stars in the Milky Way, which is estimated to be 200–400 billion.[13] The mass of the Andromeda Galaxy is estimated to be 1.5×1012 solar masses,[9] while the Milky Way is estimated to be 8.5×1011 solar masses.

The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are expected to collide in 4.5 billion years, eventually merging to form a giant elliptical galaxy [14] or perhaps a large disc galaxy.[15] The apparent magnitude of the Andromeda Galaxy, at 3.4, is among the brightest of the Messier objects,[16] making it visible to the naked eye on moonless nights,[17] even when viewed from areas with moderate light pollution.



July 2018 - In case you were wondering why this page hasn't been update for a good while its because this far north (57º) we don't have any real darkness between roughly April and August !! I must be one of the very few who were happy to reach the Summer solstice and rejoice that the nights will soon be drawing in !! The next images with my new scope should start to appear around the middle of August.

23rd March 2018 - M3 - Globular Cluster (Below). Last night I was really only expecting to fine tune my new guide scope in between the gaps in the clouds but as the night wore on there were significant spells of reasonably clear sky so I pointed the scope at this Globular Cluster. The colour data is very poor but the Luminance wasn't bad so I spent a couple of hours processing what I had. I gathered 20 x 300sec Lum binned 1x1 and 10 x 120 sec each of RGB binned 2x2. Equipment used - Explore Scientific 210mm f3.8 carbon astrograph, Explore Scientific coma corrector, Atik 460 EX mono camera, Aitk EFW2 filter wheel and Baader filters, SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6-GT mount guided by the new Skywatcher EvoGuide and Atik GP Cam running PHD2. Fully processed in Pixinsight and and fully calibrated with Darks, Bias and Flats.

Messier 3 (M3 or NGC 5272) is a globular cluster of stars in the northern constellation of Canes Venatici. It was discovered by Charles Messier on May 3, 1764,[8] and resolved into stars by William Herschel around 1784. Since then, it has become one of the best-studied globular clusters. Identification of the cluster's unusually large variable star population was begun in 1913 by American astronomer Solon Irving Bailey and new variable members continue to be identified up through 2004.

Many amateur astronomers consider it one of the finest northern globular clusters, following only Messier 13.[1] M3 has an apparent magnitude of 6.2,[4] making it a difficult naked eyetarget even with dark conditions. With a moderate-sized telescope, the cluster is fully defined. It can be a challenge to locate through the technique of star hopping, but can be found by looking almost exactly halfway along an imaginary line connecting the bright star Arcturus to Cor Caroli. Using a telescope with a 25 cm (9.8 in) aperture, the cluster has a bright core with a diameter of about 6 arcminutes and spans a total of 12 arcminutes.[1]

This cluster is one of the largest and brightest, and is made up of around 500,000 stars. It is estimated to be 8 billion years old. It is located at a distance of about 33,900 light-years away from Earth.

26th Feb 2018 - M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy - (Below) Through the mist and murk, -9º but no frost or dew but the moon blazing away at 90% of full and quite windy with occasional snow flurries (a perfect night for imaging!) I gathered 24 x 300sec Lum binned 1x1 and 20 x 120 sec each of RGB binned 2x2. Equipment used - Explore Scientific 210mm f3.8 carbon astrograph, Explore Scientific coma corrector, Atik 460 EX mono camera, Aitk EFW2 filter wheel and Baader filters, SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6-GT mount guided by the new Skywatcher EvoGuide and Lodestar running PHD2. Fully processed in Pixinsight and and fully calibrated with Darks, Bias and Flats.

The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194, is an interacting[7] grand-design[8] spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus[9] in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy.[10] Recently it was estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years from the Milky Way,[3] but different methods yield distances between 15 and 35 million light-years. Messier 51 is one of the best known galaxies in the sky.[11] The galaxy and its companion, NGC 5195,[12] are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars.[13] The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understand galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.

21st Feb 2018 - (below left) I finally managed to get the RGB to go with the Luminance from 7th Jan - another week and I would have to wait for another year ! 22 x 300 second Luminance, 12 x 120 seconds each of RGB. Equipment used - Explore Scientific 210mm f3.8 carbon astrograph, Explore Scientific coma corrector, Atik 460 EX mono camera, Aitk EFW2 filter wheel and Baader filters, SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6-GT mount guided by new Skywatcher EvoGuide and Lodestar running PHD2. Fully processed in Pixinsight and and fully calibrated with Darks, Bias and Flats. Click on the image to see the Hi - Resolution image - there is a lot going on in this patch of the sky!!!

The Cone Nebula is an H II region in the constellation of Monoceros. It was discovered by William Herschel on December 26, 1785, at which time he designated it H V.27. The nebula is located about 830 parsecs or 2,700 light-years away from Earth. The Cone Nebula forms part of the nebulosity surrounding the Christmas Tree Cluster. The designation of NGC 2264 in the New General Catalogue refers to both objects and not the nebula alone.

The diffuse Cone Nebula, so named because of its apparent shape, lies in the southern part of NGC 2264, the northern part being the magnitude-3.9 Christmas Tree Cluster. It is in the northern part of Monoceros, just north of the midpoint of a line from Procyon to Betelgeuse.

The cone's shape comes from a dark absorption nebula consisting of cold molecular hydrogen and dust in front of a faint emission nebula containing hydrogen ionized by S Monocerotis, the brightest star of NGC 2264. The faint nebula is approximately seven light-years long (with an apparent length of 10 arcminutes), and is 2,700 light-years away from Earth.

7th January 2018 - Above right - An unexpected gap in the clouds allowed the gathering of a few Lum subs of the Cone Nebula. Only managed to get 12 x 300 second subs with the the Luminance filter before the clouds rolled in and a blizzard started ! Next clear night I hope to gather the balance of the Lum subs and all the RGB to make a full colour image. Equipment used - Explore Scientific 210mm f3.8 carbon astrograph, Explore Scientific coma corrector, Atik 460 EX mono camera, Aitk EFW2 filter wheel and Baader filters, SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6-GT mount guided by converted finderscope and Lodestar running PHD2. Subs stacked in Pixinsight and stretched - no processing applied but fully calibrated with Darks, Bias and Flats.

26th January 2018 - Below - The Rosette Nebula (NGC2237) imaged on 25th January 2018 in LRGB - 75 mins of Luminance binned 1x1 and 20 mins each of RGB binned 2x2. Very poor seeing. Taken with my new scope (Explore Scientific 210mm f3.8 carbon fibre astrograph) which has been returned after warranty repairs - it works properly now! Equipment used - AZ-EQ6 - GT mount, Atik 460 EX Mono camera and Atik EFW2 loaded with Baader Broadband filters. Guided with converted finderscope and Lodestar camera. Processed entirely in Pixinsight.

Technical data - The cluster and nebula lie at a distance of some 5,000 light-years from Earth[3]) and measure roughly 50 light years in diameter. The radiation from the young stars excites the atoms in the nebula, causing them to emit radiation themselves producing the emission nebula we see. The mass of the Nebula is estimated to be around 10,000 solar masses.

A survey of the nebula with the Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed the presence of numerous new-born stars inside optical Rosette Nebula and studded within a dense molecular cloud. Altogether, approximately 2500 young stars lie in this star-forming complex, including the massive O-type stars HD 46223 and HD 46150, which are primarily responsible for blowing the ionized bubble.[4][5] Most of the ongoing star-formation activity is occurring in the dense molecular cloud to the south east of the bubble.[6]

A diffuse X-ray glow is also seen between the stars in the bubble, which has been attributed to a super-hot plasma with temperatures ranging from 1 to 10 million K.[7] This is significantly hotter than the 10,000 K plasmas seen in HII regions, and is likely attributed to the shock-heated winds from the massive O-type stars.

7th January 2018 - (Below) The Horsehead and Flame Nebula - taken 6th Jan. 20 x 300 seconds of Ha and just 10 x 120 seconds of RGB binned 2x2 as these targets set behind the house! The mono image (top) is just the Ha layer and the colour image (below) is with the RGB added (it does weird things to the star colours and shapes - more effort required to process it better! Taken with the SW ED80, AZ-EQ6-GT mount and Atik 460EX Mono camera an Baader RGB and Ha filters. I think I prefer the mono image. This will be the last image taken by me with the SW ED80 as I have sold it. My new scope is away for warranty repairs but should be back next week.

The Horsehead Nebula (also known as Barnard 33) is a dark nebula in the constellation Orion.[1] The nebula is located just to the south of the star Alnitak, which is farthest east on Orion's Belt, and is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The nebula was first recorded in 1888 by Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming on photographic plate B2312 taken at the Harvard College Observatory.[2] The Horsehead Nebula is approximately 1500 light years from Earth. It is one of the most identifiable nebulae because of the shape of its swirling cloud of dark dust and gases, which bears some resemblance to a horse's head when viewed from Earth.[3]

The Flame Nebula, designated as NGC 2024 and Sh2-277, is an emission nebula in the constellation Orion. It is about 900 to 1,500 light-years away.

The bright star Alnitak (ζ Ori), the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion, shines energetic ultraviolet light into the Flame and this knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there. Much of the glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine. Additional dark gas and dust lies in front of the bright part of the nebula and this is what causes the dark network that appears in the center of the glowing gas. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula.

At the center of the Flame Nebula is a cluster of newly formed stars,[2] 86% of which have circumstellar disks.[3] X-ray observations by the Chandra X-ray Observatory[4][5] show several hundred young stars, out of an estimated population of 800 stars.[6] X-ray and infrared images indicate that the youngest stars are concentrated near the center of the cluster.[7][8]

6th January 2018 - Whilst imaging last night I ran the subs through 'Blink' in Pixinsight to check the quality and noticed what looks like a star moving and tracing the shape of the letter B. Nothing else was moving in the frame. This is a brief movie taken with a phone camera of the computer screen so the quality isn't great but you can clearly see what looks like a star buzzing about. See below.

27th December 2017 - below - M81 and M82 (two for the price of one!) My new scope is away for warranty repairs so the old ED80 was pressed into action. 5 hours integration half of that was LUM binned 1x1 and the rest RGB binned 2x2. Full set of calibration frames - Flats, Darks and Bias - processed in Pixinsight. ED80 - Atik 460 EX Mono, Atik EFW2, Baader LRGB filters, SW AZ-EQ6-GT mount, guided with converted finderscope and Lodestar.

Messier 81 (also known as NGC 3031 or Bode's Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away, in the constellation Ursa Major. Due to its proximity to Earth, large size, and active galactic nucleus (which harbors a 70 million M[6] supermassive black hole), Messier 81 has been studied extensively by professional astronomers. The galaxy's large size and relatively high brightness also make it a popular target for amateur astronomers.[7]

Messier 82 (also known as NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy or M82) is a starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. A member of the M81 Group, it is about five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way and has a center one hundred times more luminous than our galaxy's center.[6] The starburst activity is thought to have been triggered by interaction with neighboring galaxy M81. As the closest starburst galaxy to Earth, M82 is the prototypical example of this galaxy type.[6] SN 2014J, a type Ia supernova, was discovered in the galaxy on 21 January 2014.[7][8][9] In 2014, in studying M82, scientists discovered the brightest pulsar yet known, designated M82 X-2.[10][11][12]

12th November 2017 - (Above and below) -The Elephants Trunk Nebula (IC 1396) - 3 hours Ha 2 hours Sii and 2 hours Oiii all in 300 second subs. ES 210mm f3.8 astrograph, Atik 460 EX mono camera, Baader narrowband filters in Atik EFW2, guided with ST80 and Lodestar using PHD2 mounted on a SW AZ-EQ6-GT. Fully calibrated with Darks, Flats and Bias and processed in Pixinsight using the SHO Hubble pallet below and HOO pallet above.

The Elephant's Trunk nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust within the much larger ionized gas region IC 1396 located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth.[1] The piece of the nebula shown here is the dark, dense globule IC 1396A; it is commonly called the Elephant's Trunk nebula because of its appearance at visible light wavelengths, where there is a dark patch with a bright, sinuous rim. The bright rim is the surface of the dense cloud that is being illuminated and ionized by a very bright, massive star (HD 206267) that is just to the east of IC 1396A. (In the Spitzer Space Telescope view shown, the massive star is just to the left of the edge of the image.) The entire IC 1396 region is ionized by the massive star, except for dense globules that can protect themselves from the star's harsh ultraviolet rays.

The Elephant's Trunk nebula is now thought to be a site of star formation, containing several very young (less than 100,000 yr) stars that were discovered in infrared images in 2003. Two older (but still young, a couple of million years, by the standards of stars, which live for billions of years) stars are present in a small, circular cavity in the head of the globule. Winds from these young stars may have emptied the cavity.

The combined action of the light from the massive star ionizing and compressing the rim of the cloud, and the wind from the young stars shifting gas from the center outward lead to very high compression in the Elephant's Trunk nebula. This pressure has triggered the current generation of protostars.[2][3]

29th October 2017 - the Pacman Nebula (Above) or more properly NGC281. Imaged with an ES 210mm f3.8 carbon fibre astrograph using an Atik 460 EX Mono camera, Atik EFW2 filter wheel and Baader narrowband Ha, SII and OIII filters all binned 1x1. 4 hours Ha, 1.5 hours of SII and OIII all in 1800 second subs. Fully calibrated with Darks, Bias and Flats. Processed using the Hubble Pallet in Pixinsight. Mount used - AZ-EQ6-GT, guided with Skywatcher ST80 and Lodestar.

All 3 images are from the same data - the top image is in 'Hubble Pallet' where Sulphur (SII) is mapped to the Red channel, Hydrogen (Ha) is mapped to the Green channel and Oxygen (OIII) is mapped to the Blue channel. The middle image is in HOO pallet where Hydrogen (Ha) is mapped to the Red channel and Oxygen (OIII) is mapped to both the Green and Blue channel. The bottom image is in HOS pallet where Hydrogen (Ha) is mapped to the Red channel, Oxygen (OIII) is mapped to the Green channel and Sulphur (SIII) is mapped to the Blue channel. Just different representations of the same data in colours our eyes can understand.

NGC 281, IC 11 or Sh2-184 is a bright emission nebula and part of an H II region in the northern constellation of Cassiopeia and is part of the Milky Way's Perseus Spiral Arm. This 20×30 arcmin sized nebulosity is also associated with open cluster IC 1590, several Bok globules and the multiple star, B 1. It collectively forms Sh2-184,[3] spanning over a larger area of 40 arcmin.[4] A recent distance from radio parallaxes of water masers at 22 GHz made during 2014 is estimated it lies 2.82±0.20 kpc. (9200 ly.) from us.[5] Colloquially, NGC 281 is also known as the Pacman Nebula for its resemblance to the video game character.

E. E. Barnard discovered this nebula in August 1883, who described it as "a large faint nebula, very diffuse." Multiple star 'B 1' or β 1 was later discovered by S. W. Burnham, whose bright component is identified as the highly luminous O6 spectral class star, HD 5005 or HIP 4121. It consists of an 8th-magnitude primary with four companions at distances between 1.4 and 15.7 arcsec. There has been no appreciable change in this quintuple system since the first measures were made in 1875.

26th October 2017 - Above - First light with my new scope - the Iris Nebula - Explore Scientific 210mm f3.8 carbon astrograph - 60 mins LUM 1x1 and 10 x 3 mins each of RGB 2x2. Seeing reasonable to poor and quite windy - 50% moon. Quite happy for a first outing!

(Above) M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy. See what happens when two galaxies collide !!! Taken over 24th and 25th March 2017 - 25 x 80 seconds each of RGB and 25 x 240 seconds Lum - lots of high cloud passing across making it look like its in soft focus - next year I will add a couple of hours of luminance data to sharpen it and add considerable detail. Heq5, ED80, Atik 460EX mono, Baader LRGB filters, Atik EFW2 filter wheel, Moonlite stepper focuser. Processed in Pixinsight and Photoshop. That's it now for the Summer !!

The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194, is an interacting[7] grand-design[8] spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus[9] in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy.[10] Recently it was estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years from the Milky Way,[3] but different methods yield distances between 15 and 35 million light-years. Messier 51 is one of the best known galaxies in the sky.[11] The galaxy and its companion, NGC 5195,[12] are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars.[13] The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understand galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.

(Above) The Needle galaxy (NGC4565) from 21st and 22nd March 2017 - RGB one night and Lum the next. Awful seeing and transparency - lots of high cloud - windy too ! 25 x 80 seconds each of RGB and 20 x 240 seconds lum. Atik 460 EX, HEQ5, SW ED80, Baader LRGB filters, processed in Pixinsight and touched up in Photoshop. Not something I am proud of but that's it now until September - no real darkness after this weekend this far North at anything like a sensible time (57º North) - have a nice summer!!

NGC 4565 (also known as the Needle Galaxy or Caldwell 38) is an edge-on spiral galaxy about 30 to 50 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices.[2] It lies close to the North Galactic Pole and has a visual magnitude of approximately 10. It is known as the Needle Galaxy for its narrow profile.[4] First recorded in 1785 by William Herschel, it is a prominent example of an edge-on spiral galaxy.[5]

NGC 4565 is a giant spiral galaxy more luminous than the Andromeda Galaxy.[6] Much speculation exists in the literature as to the nature of the central bulge. In the absence of clear-cut dynamical data on the motions of stars in the bulge, the photometric data alone cannot adjudge among various options put forth. However, its exponential shape suggested that it is a barred spiral galaxy.[7] Studies with the help of the Spitzer Space Telescope not only confirmed the presence of a central bar but also showed a pseudobulge within it as well as an inner ring.[8][8]

NGC 4565 has at least two satellite galaxies, one of which is interacting with it.[9] It has a population of roughly 240 globular clusters, more than the Milky Way.[

Above - final version of the narrowband image of the Wizard Nebula in Hubble palette. Below the same image in a different palette and one of the single Hydrogen only images (mono). Atik 460EX camera - Skywatcher ED80 telescope - 15 hours exposure over 3 nights.

Technical data - Located 7200 light years away, the Wizard Nebula, surrounds developing open star cluster NGC 7380. Visually, the interplay of stars, gas, and dust has created a shape that appears to some like a fictional medieval sorcerer. The active star forming region spans about 100 light years, making it appear larger than the angular extent of the Moon. The Wizard Nebula can be located with a small telescope toward the constellation of the King of Aethiopia (Cepheus). Although the nebula may last only a few million years, some of the stars being formed may outlive our Sun.

Above - The Flaming Star Nebula. Atik 460EX - SW ED80 - LRGB - 5 hours exposure.

Technical data - IC 405 (also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, SH 2-229, or Caldwell 31) is an emission/reflection nebula[1] in the constellation Auriga, surrounding the bluish star AE Aurigae. It shines at magnitude +6.0. Its celestial coordinates are RA 05h 16.2m dec +34° 28′.[2] It surrounds the irregular variable star AE Aurigae and is located near the emission nebula IC 410, the open clusters M38 and M36, and the K-class star Iota Aurigae. The Nebula measures approximately 37.0' x 19.0', and lies about 1,500 light-years away from Earth.[2] It is believed that the proper motion of the central star can be traced back to the Orion's Belt area.[2] The nebula is about 5 light-years across.

Above - The Iris Nebula - Atik 460EX - SW ED80 - LRGB - 6 hours exposure.

Technical data - The Iris Nebula, also NGC 7023 and Caldwell 4, is a bright reflection nebula and Caldwell object in the constellation Cepheus. NGC 7023 is actually the cluster within the nebula, LBN 487, and the nebula is lit by a magnitude +7 star, SAO 19158.[1] It shines at magnitude +6.8. It is located near the Mira-type variable star T Cephei, and near the bright magnitude +3.23 variable star Beta Cephei (Alphirk). It lies 1,300 light-years away and is six light-years across.

Above - M31 - Andromeda Galaxy. Probably the second most famous object in the night sky and a favourite subject for astro-imagers just starting out because it is bright and big. It's actually quite difficult to image well , as the outer arms are very faint whilst the central core is very bright (high dynamic range). Hard to believe, that in years to come this massive galaxy will collide with our own (Milky Way) - but don't worry - it wont happen for several billion years.

Technical data - The Andromeda Galaxy (/ænˈdrɒmᵻdə/), also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224, is a spiral galaxy approximately 780 kiloparsecs (2.5 million light-years) from Earth.[4] It is the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way and was often referred to as the Great Andromeda Nebula in older texts. It received its name from the area of the sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda, which was named after the mythological princess Andromeda.

Andromeda is approximately 220,000 light years across, and it is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and other smaller galaxies. Despite earlier findings that suggested that the Milky Way contains more dark matter and could be the largest in the grouping,[12] the 2006 observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope revealed that Andromeda contains one trillion (1012) stars:[11] at least twice the number of stars in the Milky Way, which is estimated to be 200–400 billion.[13] The mass of the Andromeda Galaxy is estimated to be 1.5×1012 solar masses,[9] while the Milky Way is estimated to be 8.5×1011 solar masses.

The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are expected to collide in 4.5 billion years, eventually merging to form a giant elliptical galaxy [14] or perhaps a large disc galaxy.[15] The apparent magnitude of the Andromeda Galaxy, at 3.4, is among the brightest of the Messier objects,[16] making it visible to the naked eye on moonless nights,[17] even when viewed from areas with moderate light pollution.

Above - the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. LRGB image with Atik 460EX and SW ED80 - 3 hours exp. One of the few things I have imaged that you can see with the naked eye!

Technical data - In astronomy, the Pleiades (/ˈplaɪədiːz/ or /ˈpliːədiːz/), or Seven Sisters (Messier 45 or M45), is an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky. The celestial entity has several meanings in different cultures and traditions.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Dust that forms a faint reflection nebulosity around the brightest stars was thought at first to be left over from the formation of the cluster (hence the alternative name Maia Nebula after the star Maia), but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium, through which the stars are currently passing. Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades was probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula.[3] Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.

Above - the Outer Limits Galaxy or more correctly NGC891 - LRGB - Atik 460EX - 6 hours exp. If you look closely (especially in the high resolution version) there are at least 30 other galaxies and nebula visible.

Technical data - NGC 891 (also known as Caldwell 23) is an edge-on unbarred spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda. It was discovered by William Herschel on October 6, 1784. The galaxy is a member of the NGC 1023 group of galaxies in the Local Supercluster. It has an H II nucleus.[3]

The object is visible in small to moderate size telescopes as a faint elongated smear of light with a dust lane visible in larger apertures.

In 1999, the Hubble Space Telescope imaged NGC 891 in infrared.

In 2005, due to its attractiveness and scientific interest, NGC 891 was selected to be the first light image of the Large Binocular Telescope.[4][5] In 2012, it was again used as a first light image of the Discovery Channel Telescope with the Large Monolithic Imager.[6]

Above - the Witches Broom - part of the Veil Nebula. LRGB image Atik 46EX - SW ED80 - 2.5 hours exp.

Technical data - The Veil Nebula is a cloud of heated and ionized gas and dust in the constellation Cygnus. It constitutes the visible portions of the Cygnus Loop (radio source W78, or Sharpless 103), a large but relatively faint supernova remnant. The source supernova exploded circa 3,000 BC to 6,000 BC, and the remnants have since expanded to cover an area roughly 3 degrees in diameter (about 6 times the diameter, or 36 times the area, of the full moon). The distance to the nebula is not precisely known, but Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) data supports a distance of about 1,470 light-years.[2]

The Hubble Space Telescope captured several images of the nebula. The analysis of the emissions from the nebula indicate the presence of oxygen, sulfur, and hydrogen. This is also one of the largest, brightest features in the x-ray sky.

Above - The Cat's Eye Nebula - LRGB - Atik 460EX - SW ED80 - 7 hours exp. My toughest target to date - VERY small and VERY faint.

Technical data - The Cat's Eye Nebula or NGC 6543, is a planetary nebula in the northern constellation of Draco, discovered by William Herschel on February 15, 1786. It was the first planetary nebula whose spectrum was investigated by the English amateur astronomer William Huggins. Demonstrating that planetary nebulae were gaseous and not stellar in nature. Structurally, the object has had high-resolution images by the Hubble Space Telescope revealing knots, jets, bubbles and complex arcs, being illuminated by the central hot planetary nebula nucleus (PNN).[3] It is a well-studied object that has been observed from radio to X-raywavelengths.

Above - the Bubble Nebula - Atik 460EX - SW ED80 - LRGB - 5 hours exp.

Technical data - NGC 7635, also called the Bubble Nebula, Sharpless 162, or Caldwell 11, is a H II region[1] emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia. It lies close to the direction of the open cluster Messier 52. The "bubble" is created by the stellar wind from a massive hot, 8.7[1] magnitude young central star, SAO 20575 (BD+60°2522).[7] The nebula is near a giant molecular cloud which contains the expansion of the bubble nebula while itself being excited by the hot central star, causing it to glow.[7] It was discovered in 1787 by William Herschel.[5] The star BD+60°2522 is thought to have a mass of about 44 M☉.

Above - the Coccoon Nebula - LRGB - Atik 460EX - SW ED80 - 5 hours exp.

Technical data - IC 5146 (also Caldwell 19, Sh 2-125, and the Cocoon Nebula) is a reflection[1]/emission[2] nebula and Caldwell object in the constellation Cygnus. The NGC description refers to IC 5146 as a cluster of 9.5 mag stars involved in a bright and dark nebula. The cluster is also known as Collinder 470.[3] It shines at magnitude +10.0[4]/+9.3[2]/+7.2.[5] Its celestial coordinates are RA 21h 53.5m, dec+47° 16′. It is located near the naked-eye star Pi Cygni, the open cluster NGC 7209 in Lacerta, and the bright open cluster M39.[1][4] The cluster is about 4,000 ly away, and the central star that lights it formed about 100,000 years ago;[6] the nebula is about 12 arcmins across, which is equivalent to a span of 15 light years.[5]

When viewing IC 5146, dark nebula Barnard 168 (B168) is an inseparable part of the experience, forming a dark lane that surrounds the cluster and projects westward forming the appearance of a trail behind the Cocoon.

Above - M42 - the Great Nebula in Orion - probably the best know object in the night sky. It's enormous - bigger than a full moon and very bright. Canon 1100D - SW ED80 - 1 hour exposure. Hard to image due to the high dynamic range - keeping the whispy faint arms without blowing out the central core is a challenge but it is SO beautiful !!

Technical data - The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way, being south of Orion's Belt in the constellation of Orion.[b] It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. M42 is located at a distance of 1,344 ± 20 light years[3][6] and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 light years across. It has a mass of about 2000 times the mass of the Sun. Older texts frequently refer to the Orion Nebula as the Great Nebula in Orion or the Great Orion Nebula.[7]

The Orion Nebula is one of the most scrutinized and photographed objects in the night sky, and is among the most intensely studied celestial features.[8] The nebula has revealed much about the process of how stars and planetary systems are formed from collapsing clouds of gas and dust. Astronomers have directly observed protoplanetary disks, brown dwarfs, intense and turbulent motions of the gas, and the photo-ionizing effects of massive nearby stars in the nebula.

Above - the Dumbbell Nebula - Atik 460EX - SW ED80 - LRGB - 5 hours exp.

Technical data - The Dumbbell Nebula (also known as Apple Core Nebula, Messier 27, M 27, or NGC 6853) is a planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula, at a distance of about 1,360 light-years.

This object was the first planetary nebula to be discovered; by Charles Messier in 1764. At its brightness of visual magnitude 7.5 and its diameter of about 8 arcminutes, it is easily visible in binoculars,[5] and a popular observing target in amateur telescopes.

Above - the Rosette Nebula - OSC Starlight Express - 3 hours exp.

Technical data - The cluster and nebula lie at a distance of some 5,000 light-years from Earth[3]) and measure roughly 50 light years in diameter. The radiation from the young stars excites the atoms in the nebula, causing them to emit radiation themselves producing the emission nebula we see. The mass of the Nebula is estimated to be around 10,000 solar masses.

A survey of the nebula with the Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed the presence of numerous new-born stars inside optical Rosette Nebula and studded within a dense molecular cloud. Altogether, approximately 2500 young stars lie in this star-forming complex, including the massive O-type stars HD 46223 and HD 46150, which are primarily responsible for blowing the ionized bubble.[4][5] Most of the ongoing star-formation activity is occurring in the dense molecular cloud to the south east of the bubble.[6]

A diffuse X-ray glow is also seen between the stars in the bubble, which has been attributed to a super-hot plasma with temperatures ranging from 1 to 10 million K.[7] This is significantly hotter than the 10,000 K plasmas seen in HII regions, and is likely attributed to the shock-heated winds from the massive O-type stars.

Above - the Triangulum Galaxy - Canon 100D - SW ED80 - 50 mins exp.

Technical data - The Triangulum Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 3 million light-years (ly) from Earth in the constellation Triangulum. It is catalogued as Messier 33 or NGC 598, and is sometimes informally referred to as the Pinwheel Galaxy, a nickname it shares with Messier 101. The Triangulum Galaxy is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, behind the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy. It is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed with the naked eye.

The galaxy is the smallest spiral galaxy in the Local Group and it is believed to be a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy due to their interactions, velocities[7] and proximity to one another in the night sky. It also has an H-II nucleus.[8]

Above - M81 - the Triangulum Galaxy - Canon 1100D - SW ED80 - 1.5 hours exp.

Technical data - Messier 81 (also known as NGC 3031 or Bode's Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellationUrsa Major. Due to its proximity to Earth, large size and active galactic nucleus (which harbors a 70 million M[8] supermassive black hole), Messier 81 has been studied extensively by professional astronomers. The galaxy's large size and relatively high brightness also make it a popular target for amateur astronomers.[9]

Above - M81 and M82 - Canon 1100D - SW ED80 - 2 hours exp. The bright spot on the left of the core in the bottom right galaxy is the supernova referred to in the technical data.

Technical data - asaabove plus - Messier 82 (also known as NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy or M82) is a starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. A member of the M81 Group, it is about five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way and has a center one hundred times more luminous than our galaxy's center.[6] The starburst activity is thought to have been triggered by interaction with neighboring galaxy M81. As the closest starburst galaxy to Earth, M82 is the prototypical example of this galaxy type.[6] SN 2014J, a type Ia supernova, was discovered in the galaxy on 21 January 2014.[7][8][9] In 2014, in studying M82, scientists discovered the brightest pulsar yet known, designated M82 X-2.[10][11][12]