October 25, 2016

Tadpoles and a Double Star in a Tadpole in IC410 (Oct. 2016


This is a closeup of a famous nebular formation in IC410 in the constellation Auriga.  The whole area is filled with glowing hydrogen, but the two brightest parts of the area are shown here, the two tadpoles.  These are caused by energy rushing up against clumps of gas; the collision makes the gas glow.  This is the highest resolution image of the area I've ever taken.  Specifically, I never saw that the second (lower) star of the two in the hood on the right is actually a double star.  Probably most telescopes would show it visually at high magnification, but in a long exposure, only a very long focal length and quite good seeing would show the star's double nature.  I was happy to see it.  This is just 5x600" with the CFF290 Classical Cassegrain through the SXVF-H9 at f/7.93.

NGC 604 in M33 (October 2016)


Here is a grand nebula in another galaxy.  Galaxy M33 is about 2.5 million light years away, about as far as the Andromeda Galaxy.  That's not very far for a galaxy.  M33 is our near neighbor.  This nebula is a huge cloud of glowing hydrogen from which stars are forming.  In the upper right third of the image you can see stars in a curve of one of M33's spiral arms.  These stars are some of the brightest stars in M33. You are literally seeing here light from individual stars and stellar systems in another galaxy. Other nebulae also dot the landscape.

This image is just 12x600" through the CFF290 Classical Cassegrain at f/7.93, with the SXVF-H9 camera.

October 15, 2016

Perseus Galaxy Cluster, at the center (October 2016)


Here is the heart of the Perseus Galaxy Cluster.  How many galaxies can you count in this frame?  I count over 30 without really trying.  The scene is dominated by two particularly large galaxies near the center, NGC 1275 on the left and NGC 1272 on the right.  NGC 1275 is a monster both in size and in character.  Here is my take on the Hubble data of NGC 1275.  The chaos you see in the Hubble data actually lies in front of the galaxy, but the galaxy does have an active black hole at its center and is one of the largest galaxies known.  (You can see some of the chaos in my own image if you look closely, by the way.)  The Perseus Cluster is roughly 230 million light years away.  This image is 12x720" with the SXVF-H9 through a CLS filter and the CFF 290 Classical Cassegrain.  The image is not full size but is not far off.  The moon was up in the southwest at the time, about 70% full, and this image was taken from the suburbs.  I would really like to repeat the experience from a dark site.

M15 (October 2016)


Here is M15 through the CFF290 Classical Cassegrain at f/7.93.  I have shrunk the image somewhat because I was experimenting with focus and collimation, and some of the sub-frames of this object were not as sharp as the later frames.  This is just 12x240" through the SXVF-H9 and CLS filter.

October 2, 2016

NGC 7006, a Far-out Globular (September 2016)


NGC 7006, in the constellation Delphinus, is not even in our galaxy, though it is gravitationally bound to it.  The globular cluster of stars is about 135,000 light years away, in the galactic halo.  In this image, you can see several very distant galaxies behind the cluster.  Many nearer stars appear around the cluster in the image but are actually relatively near to us, in front of it.

I have seen this globular in a 4" refractor from very dark skies, and just barely with my 8" f/5 Newtonian from my light-polluted backyard.  With no telescope have I resolved any stars in it visually.  But here, with the camera, I can resolve many individual stars.  This image is just 10x240" through an Astronomik CLS filter and SXVF-H9 camera through the CFF 290 Classical Cassegrain.

Bubble II, NGC 7635 (September 2016)


Here is another Bubble.  This image is a stack of 7x600" with an H-alpha filter through the CFF290 Classical Cassegrain at f/7.93.  The camera is an SXVF-H9.

I made three mistakes in the version published earlier this month: 1) collimation was slightly off and 2) part of my guide camera was loose.  These resulted in some slightly non-round stars I fixed as well as I could.  This image suffered from none of these.  However, this later image was taken on a night when the seeing was not quite as good.  Still, it's a lot of fun to see this object at this magnification.