Category Archives: Star Clusters

Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae

Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae
The Lagoon Nebula, M8 and the Trifid Nebula

I wish this was first light on the new tube, but my first night out did nothing but knock some of the rust off of my observatory skills.  Still, the new Stellar Vue SVQ 100 APO lived up to its reputation.

The Trifid Nebula at upper left is a fascinating combination or emission nebula (the red), reflection nebula (the blue) and dark nebulae (the dark dust lanes that divide the emission nebula).

The Lagoon Nebula dominates the center of the image and the globular star cluster NGC 6544 peeks in at the bottom, just right of center.

Focus on this image is a bit soft, but, but if you click the image to view it full screen, and then click it again to see it full size, you will see that the stars in the corners are every bit as sharp and round as the ones at the center of the image.  I am very impressed with the optics on this telescope!

This image is a combination of 18 sub-frames of 4 minutes each at ISO 800.  The telescope has a focal length of 580 mm at f/5.8.

Cassiopeia

The constellation Casiopeia with many obvious deep space objects.

My main mount is still not up to speed for long exposure tracking, but I decided to break out the Vixen Polarie and shoot the 35mm lens just so I could shoot something.  I shot at wide open f/1.4, so there is some coma and blurring in the corners, but that stopped me from getting spikes on the stars and allowed 30 second exposures at ISO 400.  I shot a total of 625 exposures, but a lot of that had extreme light pollution from the east horizon at the beginning of the shoot and the west horizon at the end.  I got the best results by just stacking the best 240 from the middle of the night when Cassiopeia was almost directly overhead.  You can easily see the Heart and Soul Nebulae, the PacMan Nebula, and the Double Cluster, as well as other deep space objects.  Don’t just look at this one full screen, zoom it to full size or larger.  Located in the outer edge of the Milky Way, the number of tiny stars in this frame is amazing!

M13 Hercules Globular Star Cluster

Globular star cluster M13, and galaxies NGC6207 and IC4617.  Click the picture for a larger view.
Globular star cluster M13, and galaxies NGC6207 and IC4617. Click the picture for a larger view.

I treated this as a high dynamic range object, alternating 10 minute and 15 minute exposures, but started a little late in the evening, and had a couple of throw-away shots, so only got 5 at each duration.  Still, I not only got more definition than ever in NGC 6207, the galaxy towards the top right corner of the frame, but also a galaxy I didn’t even know about.  IC 4617 is just less than halfway from the top edge of M13 to NGC 6207.

Shot with the 127 mm Apochromatic Refractor (f/7.5, 952 mm Focal length) at ISO 1600.

M45 the Pleiades

M45 the Pleiades
Called Subaru by the Japanese, this group of stars it the tip of one of Taurus’s horns. Click the picture to see a larger version.

I have wrestle with this object many times and never been satisfied with the results…although I must admit, this one is getting closer.  40 exposures of 360 seconds each at f/3.2 and ISO 1600 on the Canon 200mm lens went into this shot.

Shot this on the Sept. 25th, but had problems with the data so just got around to processing it.

IC 405, IC 410 and M 38

IC 410, IC 405 and M 38
Two pretty nebulae and an open star cluster in the constellation Auriga. Click the picture to see a larger image.

IC 405, a.k.a. the Flaming Star Nebula is at top right; IC 410 is bottom right; and open star cluster Messier 38 is at bottom left in this image.  Shot in the wee hours of Oct 1, this image is composed of 43 exposures of 360 seconds each at f/3.2 and ISO 1600 on the Canon 200mm lens.

 

Sadr

Sadr
Sadr, one of the stars of the constellation Cygnus, and surrounding hydrogen clouds and dark dust clouds. Click the picture to see a larger view.

The bright star near the center of this image is Sadr, in the constellation Cygnus, also known as the Northern Cross.  Sadr is the point where the lines of the cross intersect.  It is difficult to make out any details of the dark nebulae in the lower part of the picture, but those dark dust clouds obscure the thick band of Milky Way stars visible in the upper right portion.  Much easier to see are the huge red clouds of hydrogen gas.

This image is a combination of the best 6 of 15 shots of 180 seconds, taken at f/5.6 and ISO 1600 with the 200mm lens.  Images were taken on Dec 26, 2013.

This was among the first images I took with the Atlas mount.  I was still learning how to guide, so the exposure times were not as long as what I take now.  I was also using a light pollution filter, so I couldn’t use the lens at the widest aperture.  I will revisit this target in the future and do much better.

Cygnus

The Constellation Cygnus
The Constellation Cygnus. Click on the picture for a larger view.

The constellation Cygnus, also known as the Northern Cross was my first ever astrophotography target.  This image, taken last night and processed today, beats the tar out of what I spent most of a summer collecting and processing 5 or 6 years ago.  Cygnus lies in the dark dust clouds and bright field of stars of the Milky Way Galaxy.

This image is a combination of 37 images of 300 seconds each, taken at f/4 and ISO 1600 with the 35mm lens.  The pinkish squiggle near center bottom of the frame is the very difficult to shoot Veil Nebula.  Easily seen at left center edge are the North America and Pelican Nebulae.  At this resolution, if I lean my head to the left, I can kind of make out the Pelican shape.

Center of the Milky Way

center of the Milky Way Galaxy
The North parts of Scorpio and Sagittarius surround the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Click on the picture for a larger view.

This is my first image with the 35mm lens on the Atlas mount.  Antares is near the right side of the frame, and the Teapot Asterism fills the lower left corner of the frame (mapped in smaller picture below).  This image is a combination of 10 shots of 600 seconds each at f/5.6 and ISO 800.  The center of the Milky Way galaxy in which we live is just above and to the right of the tip of the spout of the teapot.

The Teapot Asterism
The Teapot Asterism is shown in this small image.

M4

M4 Globular Cluster
Globular Cluster in Scorpius. Click on the picture for a larger view.

This is a combination of 11 images of 300 seconds through the 6″, f/4 reflector at ISO 1600, taken just after midnight on May 3, 2014.

M4 Globular Cluster and friends

M4 Globular Cluster and nearby gas and dust clouds
M4 and nearby gas and dust clouds in the head of the constellation Scorpius. Click the picture for a larger view.

The big ball of stars near the center of this picture is globular star cluster M4.  Used the best 42 exposures of 180 seconds with the 200mm lens at f/2.8 and ISO 800.  Want to revisit this with M4 further to the right so we can see more of the dark dust clouds sticking out from the center of the Milky Way.  Shot on April 6, 2014.