August 25, 2012

NGC 185, M51, M16 - Smalls

We've had clouds and clouds lately.  I'm starting to chew on old data.  Two are new images to the blog, however.
This is NGC 185, a satellite galaxy of the great Andromeda Galaxy, M31.  NGC 185 appears to be full of older, yellow stars and not much action, but a dark lane also appears across the galaxy's face.  Astronomers looking very closely have discovered blue star clusters in the galaxy.  There is new stellar life there yet!  I believe I took this image with the Orion ED80 in January, 2010.

M51 is a spiral galaxy that is best positioned for imaging in winter and spring.  This is a re-process of data gathered with the Orion 10" f/4.7 Newtonian in March of 2011.

This is my last data from Three Rivers.  The nebula is M16, the Eagle Nebula.  The eagle shape is hard to see in the image, as the data is not deep.  But if you look closely you can see in the heart of the nebulosity the pillars of creation made famous by the Hubble Space Telescope.  This image was shot with the SV80ED, mounted on the EM-10, unguided.  It is a stack of forty 3-minute images.

All of these images were taken with the SXVF-H9C.

August 15, 2012

vdb152 or Ced 201, in Cepheus (19 July 2012)

Cederblad 201 or van den Bergh 152 (the nebula is listed in at least these catalogs) consists mostly of a long, wide trail of gas and dust, but the end of it is bathed in the reflected starlight of the bright, blue star passing by.   Imaging this nebula was one reason to go to the Three Rivers Foundation site.  This kind of dim starlight reflection and the dusty red-brown gas behind it can only be captured well and quickly from a very dark site.

This image is only 5x20'.  It was taken very early in the morning on the 20th of July.  I thought I was going to get some more time the next night, but clouds moved in.  So I was able to get no more luminance and took no color data.  Fortunately, there are many images of vdb152 around the web.  The color data you see above was donated generously by Bob Fera.  The Feras' lovely image, which I think has the best color balance of any for this object, can be found here (just scroll down through the great images till you find it).  Through the magic of Registar and Photoshop, I can superimpose just the color from the Feras' image over my own grayscale image.  Thanks to the Feras.

Here is my data in grayscale:

The optics on the 6" have gone slightly out of alignment.  It is time to take the scope apart and put it back together squarely.

Telescope: Orion 6" f/5 Imaging Newtonian and Astro-Tech Coma Corrector (eff. at f/5.5)
Camera and Exposure: SXVF-H9 (5x1200'), Alnitak Flat-man flats
Filter: Astronomik Lum
Guiding: SX Lodestar and SX OAG
Mount: Takahashi NJP
Software: Nebulosity, Maxim DL, Registar, Photoshop CS3
Location: 3RF's Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus, Crowell, TX