M98 Galaxy

Messier 98 is a spiral galaxy located in constellation Coma Berenices. This galaxy is easy to find, because it is located only 6° to the east from the bright star Danebola. M98 is approximately 44 million light years away and it has a blue shift. This means that it is approaching us at about 140 km/s. This means we have still some time till the collision occurs.

Technical details:

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
Aperture:254 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
Camera:ZWO ASI071MC Pro
Corrector:GPU
Filters:UV IR cut
Exposure:54xRGB 300s
Date:2018-04-17

NGC2903 Galaxy

NGC2903 is a spiral galaxy located in constellation Leo and it is approximately 30 million light years away from Earth. This galaxy is in many ways similar to our home galaxy Milky Way. For example the diameter is 80 000 light year, which is slightly smaller than the diameter of Milky Way.

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
Aperture:254 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
Camera:ZWO ASI071MC Pro
Corrector:GPU
Filters:UV IR cut
Exposure:40xRGB 180s
Date:2018-04-13

 


M49 Galaxy

Messier 49 is an elliptical galaxy belonging to the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. Magnitude 8.4 makes this galaxy the brightest in whole Virgo Cluster. Due to its brightness, it’s possible to observe it just by using binoculars. Distance of M49 from Solar system is 52 million light-years.

The picture is a stack of 40 photos with exposure time 5 minutes each. This means more than 3 hours of exposure time.

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
Aperture:254 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
Camera:ZWO ASI071MC Pro
Corrector:GPU
Filters:UV IR cut
Exposure:40xRGB 300s
Date:2018-04-11

M100 Blow dryer galaxy, NGC 4312 Galaxy

Messier 100 is a spiral galaxy sometimes called Blow Dryer Galaxy. It is located in constellation Coma Berenices and it is approximately 55 million light-years far from Earth. The diameter is 107 000 light-years, which makes it comparable to our home galaxy Milky Way. M100 is accompanied by small satellite galaxies NGC4323 and NGC4328. Bigger galaxy on the left is called NGC4312.

Finally, nice weather arrived and what else to photograph during the spring than some galaxies in the Virgo Cluster. The picture is a stack of 40 images, 5 minutes exposure time each. The star shapes are not as they should be. I was testing new camera ZWO ASI071 MC Pro and I placed UV IR cut filter far from the sensor, in order to avoid reflections. The filter is not perfectly attached, so probably it’s tilted. I will have to improve that.

Technical details:

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
Aperture:254 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
Camera:ZWO ASI071MC Pro
Corrector:GPU
Filters:UV IR cut
Exposure:40xRGB 300s
Date:2018-04-06

M95 Galaxy

Messier 95 is a spiral galaxy, which is located in constellation Leo. It is 38 million light-years away from Solar system and it belongs to a group of galaxies with M96 and M105. M95 belongs between the galaxies intensively studied by Hubble Space Telescope, in order to determine Hubble’s constant. Collected results were adjusted with help of satellite Hipparcos and the distance of this galaxy was estimated. The galaxy is drifting away from us by speed 766 km/s.

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
Aperture:254 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
Camera:ZWO ASI071MC Pro
Corrector:GPU
Filters:UV IR cut
Exposure:18xRGB 180s
Date:2018-03-29

M96 M105 NGC3384 NGC3389 Galaxies

Four bright galaxies in one shot! M96 on the lower left, which I already captured last year. At that time I didn’t know, that there are other galaxies, which can fit into the field of view of my camera. These are: M105 circular, lowest in the galactic triangle, MGC3384 – right in the galactic triangle and NGC3389 – left one in the galactic triangle. These galaxies are located in the constellation Lion and they are visible during the spring. Therefore I call the spring the season of galaxies. The weather last year was much better and I captured many of them. For instance here or here or here or here or here.

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
Aperture:254 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
Camera:ZWO ASI071MC Pro
Corrector:GPU
Filters:UV IR cut
Exposure:30xRGB 180s
Date:2018-03-21

M50 Open cluster

M50 is an open cluster located in constellation Monoceros, visually not far from the brightest star Sirius. It was catalogued by Charles Messier in 1772 and it’s approximately 3000 light-years away from Earth. The latest research was conducted in 2012 and confirmed that the cluster contains 508 stars – you can try to count them.

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
Aperture:254 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
Camera:ZWO ASI071MC Pro
Corrector:GPU
Filters:UV IR cut
Exposure:25xRGB
Date:2018-03-21

Moon – Waxing Crescent

After long period of bad weather, I had the opportunity to take the telescope out and enjoy the clear skies. In the early evening, waxing crescent was setting down, so I took the opportunity and pointed my newton on the Moon. The illumination was only 34%, which means that as soon it gets dark, the Moon is not far from horizon and you have to capture it through thick layer of turbulent atmosphere. The picture is a stack of 700 frames.

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
Aperture:254 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
Autoguiding-
Camera:ZWO ASI 071
Corrector:GPU coma corrector
Filters:UV IR cut 2"
Exposure:8x1000 frames, best 700 selected
Date:2018-03-21

NGC281 Pacman nebula

NGC281 is a HII region, which reminds a head of the main character in very popular game from nineties. It is located in constellation Cassiopeia and it 9500 light-year far from us. This nebula was discovered long time ago by Edward Emerson Barnard and it is possible to observe this nebula by reasonable sized telescope under dark skies. Well, I wouldn’t see probably anything, because I live in light polluted area, therefore I had to use narrow band filters, which block the light pollution.

The picture is composed out of 66 narrow band exposures, which means slightly more than one hour per channel. First one is bi-color composition of hydrogen and oxygen, the others are in Hubble palette (hydrogen in green, oxygen in blue and sulfur in red).

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
Aperture:254 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingTS 60 mm, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:Moravian instruments G2 8300M @-30C
Corrector:GPU coma corrector
Filters:Baader narrow band
Exposure:8x22xHa, 22xOIII, 22xSII 180 s, bin 1x1,
Date:2018-01-13

 


IC1848 Soul nebula

Soul nebula is a beautiful HII region, where new stars are being born. It’s located in constellation Cassiopeia and it’s 7500 light-years from Earth. The nebula has neighbor Heart Nebula (IC1805). One can say that in this constellation the heart and soul are close to each other.

As usual, I used narrow band filters to capture this spectacular nebula. It didn’t fit into ma field of view; this means I would need shorter focal length.

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 150/600 mm
Aperture:150 mm
Focal length:438 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingTS 60 mm, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:Moravian instruments G2 8300M @-30C
Corrector:ASA 0.73 reducer
Filters:Baader narrow band
Exposure:8x77xHa, 77xOIII, 77xSII 180 s, bin 1x1,
Date:2017-11-23

IC5070 Pelican nebula

Pelican nebula is large cloud of hydrogen gas, where many stars are being born, located in constellation Cygnus (Swan). The nebula is approximately 2000 light-years away from Earth. If you use bit of an imagination, you will be able to see the pelican in the dark cloud surrounding the brighter center of the nebula – good luck with searching.

The picture was taken completely by narrow band filters. The first one is in “fake” Hubble palette and second one as a bi-color image (Ha in red channel, OIII in green and blue channel).

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 150/600 mm
Aperture:150 mm
Focal length:438 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingTS 60 mm, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:Moravian instruments G2 8300M @-30C
Corrector:ASA 0.73 reducer
Filters:Baader narrow band
Exposure:8x32xHa, 32xOIII, 32xSII 180 s, bin 1x1,
Date:2017-12-15

Neptune

Since Pluto is no longer a planet, the privilege to be the last planet of the Solar System belongs to Neptune. Neptune is after Jupiter and Saturn the third most-massive planet. It has approximately 17 times more mass than Earth. One year on Neptune takes 164.8 years, because the distance between Sun and Neptune is 30 times longer than between Earth and Sun. The planet got its name from Roman mythology, specifically after the god of the sea – the mighty Neptune.

Neptune cannot be spotted by a naked eye, therefore one needs telescope. Even if you have one and you manage to find it, you will not see any details on Neptune’s surface. You will see just boring small spot.

The picture was taken by my biggest telescope Celestron C14. The focal length 4000 mm was increased by 1.6 Barlow lens to 6400 mm. The seeing was, as usual, very bad, therefore there are no details visible and the picture looks not perfectly focused and unsharp. I just wanted to try to capture it and here is the outcome:

Technical details

Telescope:Celestron EdgeHD C14
Aperture:354 mm
Focal length:6256 mm
MountGemini G53f
Autoguiding-
Camera:ZWO ASI228MC
Corrector:Barlow 1.6
Filters:-
Exposure:1000xL (35% used), 610 ms, Gain 353
Date:2017-10-12

IC1396 Elephant trunk nebula

Elephant trunk nebula is visually one of the biggest deep space objects in the sky. It covers more than 6 times the diameter of the Moon. I had to use the telescope with the shortest focal length and use focal reducer ASA 0.73. Recently, I managed to improve the picture quality of this reducer by adjustment of the tilt. The nebula can be located in constellation Cepheus, but it cannot be spotted visually because it’s very dim.

I spent 4 nights capturing these photos. In total, there is nearly 19 hours of exposure time. Probably this is my longest integration time I have ever made. The first picture is in fake Hubble colors, second one in more or less visible spectrum colors.

 

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 150/600 mm
Aperture:150 mm
Focal length:438 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingOrion Mini Autoguider
Camera:Moravian instruments G2 8300M @-30C
Corrector:ASA 0.73 reducer
Filters:Baader narrow band
Exposure:8x125xHa, 125xOIII, 125xSII 180 s, bin 1x1,
Date:2017-10-17

M55 Globular cluster

Messier55 is a globular cluster located in constellation Sagittarius. This cluster is very difficult to photograph from central Europe, because there is located not far from horizon. For example Charles Messier hat troubles to locate this cluster and it took him 14 years to spot it. I made a trip to Gavdos – the southernmost place is Europe. There the cluster was significantly upper in the sky.

M55 is 17600 light-year far from the Solar system, it has approximately 100 light-year diameter and contain 100 000 stars.

Techanical details

Telescope:RC 154/1370
Aperture:154 mm
Focal length:917 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:ZWO 1600 MC @ -15C
Corrector:Astro Physics CCDT67
Filters:UV, IR cut
Exposure:37x 120s Gain 240
Date:2017-09-29

M20 Trifid nebula

Trifid nebula is a combination of emission, reflection and dark nebula – pretty unique. It got its name from 3 dark lines across emission (red) part. The lines are dust clouds blocking the light emitted by ionized hydrogen.  It’s possible to observe this nebula, but one needs dark skies and a telescope with aperture at least 120 mm. The nebula can be found in constellation Sagittarius and it’s 5200 light-years far from Earth.

The picture was taken in Gavdos during my first dark sky chasing. The total integration time is only one hour, which is remarkable for such portable setup.

Technical details

Telescope:RC 154/1370
Aperture:154 mm
Focal length:917 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:ZWO 1600 MC @ -15C
Corrector:Astro Physics CCDT67
Filters:UV, IR cut
Exposure:20x 180s Gain 240
Date:2017-09-23

NGC 7293 Helix nebula

Helix nebula is the closest and the brightest planetary nebula in the sky. It was discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding quite long time ago at 1824 in constellation Aquarius. This nebula is similar to Dumbbell or Ring Nebula, only it’s much bigger and bit closer – approximately 450 light-years.

I took this picture on Gavdos. This nebula was my primary target there, because in Switzerland is located not far above the horizon, therefore I would have to capture it through heavy light pollution. In the southernmost point of European continent was way upper in the sky. I was collecting the light coming from this nebula several nights and it was worth it:

Technical details

Telescope:RC 154/1370
Aperture:154 mm
Focal length:917 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:ZWO 1600 MC @ -15C
Corrector:Astro Physics CCDT67
Filters:UV, IR cut
Exposure:116x 180s Gain 139
Date:2017-09-22

Chasing the darkness in Greece on small island Gavdos

I was always dreaming about dark skies, because I live in sub-urban area with relatively strong light pollution. Two friends returned from Gavdos where they spent their summer vacation and told me that they have never seen so many stars in the sky – at that moment I was tempted. One year later I decided to combine our summer vacation (mid Semptember) with chasing of the dark skies. Swimming, snorkeling, hiking during the day and photographing, observing during the night.

We have been to Greece already, so we knew what to expect – beautiful beaches, people with great hospitality and tourists everywhere. But Gavdos is something different. It is a small island south from Crete. The island is the southernmost point of the entire European continent, which is optimal for astrophotography, because the deep space objects, which are near to the horizon in Switzerland, are 12° upper in the sky. Only few people live on Gavdos, which means there is no light pollution compared to other Greek islands. There are neither big hotels, discotheques nor organized beaches. On the other hand there are places where you can sleep and there are many taverns where you can get something delicious. Moreover in all taverns is a Wi-Fi. Electricity is mostly produced by the solar panels and stored in the batteries and some taverns use generators, so there is electricity available whole night. This means you don’t have to carry heavy batteries to power the mount or camera cooling with you.


M27 Dumbbell nebula

Here comes another comparison between two cameras, telescopes and mounts. ZWO 1600 MC competes with Moravian G2 8300. Ritchey-Chrétien 154 mm competes with Newton 254mm f4 and Gemini G53f is challenged by iOptron CEM25P. I know it is incomparable aperture, price and portability, moreover the integration time is in favour of Newton, but I am very positively surprised by the outcome of the portable setup (ZWO, RC, iOptron). The nebula is logically better captured by the Newton, but RC telescope has definitely more regular star shapes (except the corners, there is quality quite poor).

Brief description of the Dumbbell nebula is here. Upper picture was made by heavy equipment (MII G2, Newton 254mm and Gemini G53f) and the lower picture was captured by portable setup (ZWO, RC 154 and iOptron).

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
RC 154/1370
Aperture:254 mm
154 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
917 mm
MountGemini G53f
iOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingTS 60 mm, FL240 mm, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:Moravian instruments G2 8300M @-30C
ZWO 1600 MC @ -15C
Corrector:GPU
Astro Physics CCDT67
Filters:Baader Ha, OIII, SII
Exposure:46xL 180s bin 1x1, 20xRGB 120s bin2x2
30x 180s Gain 300
Date:2017-08-31

M26 Open cluster

Recently I purchased new travel telescope, the mount and the camera and I decided to make small comparison with my primary equipment. New equipment consist of iOptron CEM25P mount, which is very portable equatorial mount and small (6”) Ritchey–Chrétien telescope. Even the camera is new. ZWO 1600 MC has only 400 grams compared to the old Mii G2, which has 2.5 kg. The reason is that ZWO is color version without filter wheel, therefore narrow band imaging is not possible, but I will use this camera mainly under the darks skies. Detailed review of the portable setup will follow.

Back to the picture, I pointed the telescopes into the constellation Scutum and captured open cluster M26. This cluster is approximately 180 million years old and the light travelled 5400 years from there into my telescopes. The cluster is located in the plane of our home galaxy Milky Way; therefore there are so many stars in the background.

The upper picture was made by my primary setup – Gemini G35f, astrograph Newtonian 254/1000 with GPU coma corrector and MII G2 8300 camera. The lower picture is the outcome of the new setup: iOptron CEM25P, 154/1370 mm RC telescope with focal reducer Astro Physics CCDT67 and ZWO 1600 MC camera.

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
RC 154/1370
Aperture:254 mm
154 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
917 mm
MountGemini G53f
iOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingTS 60 mm, FL240 mm, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:Moravian instruments G2 8300M @-30C
ZWO 1600 MC @ -15C
Corrector:GPU
Astro Physics CCDT67
Filters:Baader RGB
Exposure:10xL 180s bin 1x1, 8xRGB 120s bin2x2
28x 120s Gain 300
Date:2017-08-30

NGC6604 Open cluster

NGC6604 is an open cluster associated with nebulosity. It is located not far from my favorite Eagle nebula in constellation Serpens and it’s 5500 light-years far from the Earth. Since this deep space object is not that high on the skies, I rather used narrow band filters, because this part of the skies is strongly influenced by the light pollution, which is coming from the nearest town. First picture is processed in “fake” Hubble color palette, the second one should more or less look like in “true” color.