July 17, 2010

M19 (7-13-10)

There is little remarkable about this image, but I had never seen M19 before and so took this single frame of about 3 minutes length. M19 is about 28,000 light years distant in the constellation Ophiuchus. This was taken with the AT8RC at f/8.

July 15, 2010

NGC 6528 & NGC 6522 - The Sibling Globs

These two globular clusters appear together in the sky. In fact, they are together! The one on the right lies about 25,400 light years away, and the one on the left 25,700 lights years. They are near neighbors! Both are roughly 2,000 light years from the center of the galaxy. Source. What intrigues me is that they can be seen in a single view through the telescope. They light just north of the star which tips the spout of the teapot that is Sagittarius. It's as if they were two balls of steam puffed out of the teapot itself! Both are reddened and dimmed because they lie in the plane of the galaxy behind a great deal of dust. And, because they lie in the plane of the galaxy, they appear surrounded by stars.

This image is actually two panels combined, taken with the AT8RC through the SXVF-H9C at the scope's native f/8. Processing was done in Neb2, Maxim, and PS CS3 and Photoshop Elements 7 with a Carboni action for star color. Exposure time was a mere 5x3' for each panel.

Another M16 (7-13-10)

This M16 is 27x4' with the SXVF-H9C through the AT8RC at its native f/8. I still have funny star shapes, just a little. I think I have narrowed it down to slight miscollimation. No need to throw out the data, though. What a fascinating object! No filters on this one, either.

I'd be interested to know which of the two versions is preferred. The first image above is truer to actual colors, I believe. The second maximizes the Ha glow.

July 14, 2010

M27 (7-13-10)

This is M27, a large appearing planetary nebula sometimes called the Dumbbell Nebula. I've imaged it before. This image is 33x4' through the AT8RC at f/8 or 1624mm. No filter was used, and the weather was hazy. Processed in Nebulosity 2, Maxim DL 5, PS CS3, and Photoshop Elements 7.

July 8, 2010

Pluto in Barnard 92

The large patch of mostly starless night sky in this image is Barnard 92, a cloud of gas and dust that is nearer to us than almost all the stars in that direction and blocks the starlight otherwise visible. Of course, a few stars are nearer, which is why the patch is not completely devoid of stars. Also, the patch lies beyond our solar system. This image is proof of that fact, because it shows Pluto passing in front of the cloud!
The planet (or whatever Pluto is now considered) is marked. How do I know that is Pluto? Well, compare the image with this one I took two years ago of the same patch of sky. See that otherwise starlike object where it now is? I thought not. Nope, that's Pluto alright, just where Sky & Telescope predicted it would be.
The APOD for July 8, 2010, has a similar image of Pluto cruising in front of Barnard 92. It can be seen here. The APOD image was taken at about the same time as mine.

July 6, 2010

M16 - First Try

This is M16, but there was a problem. For some reason the stars are fan-shaped. I have shrunken the image so that it is not noticeable. I believe a light pollution filter that was not tightly bolted down inside the image train slipped loose and tipped slightly, causing the fan shapes. The M57 image below was taken an hour later with the same setup only tipped straight up toward the zenith. This is only 9x6' worth of data.

Anyway, this stunning nebula is my favorite. I hope to revisit it soon with a tied-down filter!

Ring of Power - M57, Again

This ring is real first light with the AT8RC. I wanted to test out a couple of reducers for it. The weather was clear until 1, and then it clouded over---for just 40 minutes. I was still set up, so I opened the software back up and found a target. This is 16 x 3' with the SXVF-H9C through the AT8RC, processed in Neb2, Maxim, and CS3.