April 29, 2017
A month or so ago I was working my way visually through the Virgo Galaxy Cluster. M88 was one of its easiest to see. Of course, in my 8" f/5 reflector, M88 appears visually from my backyard as an oval smudge, brighter toward the smudge's center. But I knew M88 was a grand spiral, so I wanted to return for a better look with the camera. Here is the image: 14x720" with the SXVF-H9 through the CFF 290 Classical Cassegrain at around f/8.
OK, it's not like I've never shot this before, but the air was very still Monday morning between 12 and 2. M88, my first target, had drifted behind a tree, and M13 was ideally placed. Just Lum here, no color, but this is 14x240" taken with the SXVF-H9 through the CFF 290 Classical Cassegrain at f/7.93. Of course, if I were in a darker location, I could muster more contrast and probably even more stars; this image was processed to maximize the number of stars seen (including without blowing out any of them) from my backyard.
April 9, 2017
This globular cluster in the constellation Hercules shines from outside our galaxy, though it is still gravitationally bound to the Milky Way. NGC 6229 is almost 100,000 light years away! That is about twice as far as NGC 5466. This image is 9x480" with the SXVF-H9 through CFF 290 Classical Cassegrain at f/7.93.
The great northern grand spiral galaxy, M101, glows just north of the Big Dipper's handle in Ursa Major. This is 11x720" with the SXVF-H9 through CFF 290 Classical Cassegrain at f/7.93. M101 is just about 21 million light years away.