M35 Shoe-Buckle Cluster

Messier 35 an open cluster located in constellation Gemini. The cluster is approximately 2800 light-year far from Earth and it contains roughly 200 stars.

Second open cluster NGC 2158 is located in the background (upper right part of the picture). I didn’t know that there is another cluster in field of view. If I would know it, I would change the composition of the picture.

This cluster was the last one out of four captured during single night. In the early morning I slewed to M35 and went to sleep. The camera captured 56 exposures, 3 minutes each, before the dawn arrived. This means nearly 3 hours of total exposure time.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorTS-Optics 2" 3-element MaxField
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure56x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2018-11-18

 


M38 Open Cluster

Messier 38 is an open cluster located in constellation Auriga. It has diameter 25 light-years and it’s approximately 3500 light-year away from Earth.

I managed to capture two open clusters this night already (M39 and M34) and there is still one to go (M35). Therefore I didn’t dedicate a lot of time on M38 – this means that the picture is an integration of one hour of exposure time.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorTS-Optics 2" 3-element MaxField
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure20x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2018-11-18

M34 Open Cluster

After capturing M39 I slewed the telescope to another deep space object. Specifically to an open cluster Messier 39. This cluster is located in constellation Perseus and it is approximately 1400 light-years away from Earth and it has diameter roughly 24 light-years.

The picture is a stack of 72 two minute subframes, which means 144 minutes of total integration time.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorTS-Optics 2" 3-element MaxField
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure72x120s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2018-11-18

M39 Open cluster

Messier 39 is an open cluster located in constellation Cygnus and it’s only 825 light-year away from Eartch. The cluster is visually located on the galactic plane of the Milky Way, therefore there are so many stars in the background.

I already captured M39 two years ago, but with different camera and different coma corrector. This time I used slightly bigger sensor and brand new corrector TS MaxField. This corrector should reduce the focal length by 5% and also due to the larger sensor I got bigger field of view compared to my previous picture. However, the corrector is not capable of eliminate the coma fully and in the corners are the stars elongated. I spent some time by adjusting the tilt, but this obviously didn’t solve the problem. This means that the only corrector which is capable of eliminating the comatic aberration fully is Explore Scientific HR CC.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorTS-Optics 2" 3-element MaxField
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure58x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2018-11-18

Here is the analysis of the curvature by CCD Inspector. I already adjusted the tilt by integrated push-pull screws on ASI071, but there is still some room for improvements.


Chasing darkness in Schwarzwald

My second expedition after the dark skies (this year) led us to Germany, specifically to Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in the state of Baden-Württemberg. We rented a small cabin for a weekend and I took the same equipment which I took to Milos, i.e. telescope newton 150/600 mm, mount iOptron CEM25P and ZWO 071 Pro camera.

As soon got dark, the Milky Way showed up. I measured SQM and it reached 21.1, which is not spectacular, but far better compared what I have at home.

The equipment was working perfectly, but the dew started to form on the secondary mirror, because the cabin is close to river Breg, which means a lot of humidity. I never had dew problems with Newtonian telescope up to now. Lessons learned – I need a dew shield. I managed to capture only M74 Galaxy and M78 Nebula.

Anyway, I also managed to capture wide angle photos with my Pen-F and Fish eye lens.

Here are the star trails – exposure 30x30s:

And here is the Milky Way – exposure 1x30s ISO 3200 f1.8:


M74 Phantom Galaxy

Messier 74, sometimes called Phantom Galaxy, is a galaxy located in constellation Pisces. This galaxy has two prominent spiral arms and it is typical example of a spiral galaxy. The distance 35 million light-years from Earth has been estimated, therefore what we are looking at here is 35 million year old picture.

The photo was taken in Schwarzwald under decent dark skies and it’s an integration of 45 photos, each 3 minutes exposure, i.e. more than 2 hours of exposure time in total.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure45x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2018-10-12

 


M2 Globular Cluster

Messier 2 is a globular cluster located in constellation Aquarius and it’s approximately 37’000 light-year away from Earth. It’s one of the biggest known globular cluster, because it contains approximately 150 000 stars and it has 175 light-years in diameter. After Crab Nebula M1, this cluster is the second object of Messier’s catalogue of deep space objects.

This picture was the second captured object (after M71) during one night and it’s an integration of 3 hours of exposure.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-15C
CorrectorTS-Optics 2" 3-element MaxField
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure60x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2018-10-04

M71 Globular cluster

Messier 71 is a globular cluster located in constellation Sagitta. The cluster is located approximately 12 – 13 thousand light-years from earth. The classification of M71 as a globular cluster was questionable for a long time, because it lacks central star concentration and therefore it was considered as an open cluster. The diameter of this cluster is only 27 light-years, which is very low value for globular cluster.

Well I am back in light pollute sub-urban area. I can use bigger and heavier telescope, but I am missing dark skies of Milos. The picture is an integration of 38 pictures, with exposure time 3 minutes. Total exposure time was approximately 2 hours.

I managed to test new TS-Optics 2″ 3-element MaxField Newtonian Coma Corrector, which should be 2” version of Wynne corrector. It should have significant advantage compared all 2” coma correctors on the market: it reduces focal length by 5%, should correct full frame CCD (we will see about that) and it should have very low vignetting. I will have to extend my World Wide Coma Correction exercise.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-15C
CorrectorTS-Optics 2" 3-element MaxField
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure38x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2018-10-04

Chasing darkness in Greece – Milos

My second expedition after dark skies led us to beautiful island Milos. It’s mid-size island in Aegean see and it belongs to group of islands called Cyclades. The port and whole night life (bars, restaurants, discotheques) are located on the northern part of the island. We stayed on the other part of the island, where are empty, not organized beaches and mainly very low light pollution. To travel there is not straight forward, because Milos has very small airport. Therefore we had to fly to Santorini Island and from there take a ferry to Milos.


NGC6871 Open Cluster

NGC6871 is an open cluster located in Cygnus, has less than 50 stars and it is 5135 light-years from Earth. Constellation Cygnus is visually located on the galactic disk of the Milky Way; therefore there are many stars in the background. Particularly interesting are the dark nebulae, surrounding the cluster.

Picture was taken under dark skies of Milos Island and in total, it’s an integration of on 63 minutes.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure21x180s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-15

M70 Globular cluster

Messier70 is a globular cluster located in constellation Sagittarius. The cluster is at a distance approximately 29’300 light-years from the Solar System. Neighbor cluster M69 was captured during the same night.

M70 is the 15th globular cluster captured by me on Milos Island – mission accomplished.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure37x60s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-15

 


M69 Globular Cluster

Messier69 is a globular cluster located in constellation Sagittarius. It is approximately 29’700 light-years away from Earth. Together with Messier70 are close to galactic center of Milky Way (distance between them is 1’800 light-years) and there were two last deep space objects captured on Milos Island. These two were the last missing Messier objects, which I wanted to capture and I was very happy that I managed.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure37x60s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-15

 


M45 Pleiades

Messier 45, sometimes called Seven Sister, Pleiades or Subaru, is an open cluster located in constellation Taurus. The cluster contains many hot blue stars and it’s characterized by reflection nebulosity. The cluster is easily visible by naked eye and therefore it has been used in mythology of many cultures around the world.

The picture was created by stacking of 80 pictures with total integration time 4 hours. In order to capture the nebulosity properly, the light pollution should be minimal, which I manage to experience during our trip to Milos Island. Unfortunately, the mount was not cooperating and in declination axis occurred oscillations due to backlash. Therefore the stars are bit oval. Maybe it’s time to upgrade the mount and pick something backlash free. I would select something portable like Astrotrac 360 or Avalon Instruments M-Zero.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure60x180s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-15

 


IC5146 Cocoon Nebula

IC5146, sometimes called Cocoon Nebula, is an emissive nebula located in constellation Cygnus. Central star in the nebula is responsible for the excitation of the surrounding hydrogen gas. On the picture is also captured dark nebula Barnard 168, which creates the strip and it looks like the Cocoon Nebula has a tail.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure43x300s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-13

M23 Open Cluster

Messier 23 is an open cluster located in constellation Sagittarius not far from the star Polis (µ Sgr). Visually it’s surrounded in rich star field, because in this direction are located star clouds of Milky Way. The cluster contains approximately 150 confirmed members and it’s about 2000 light-years away from the Solar System.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure23x120s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-13

M20 Trifid Nebula M21 Open Cluster

Messier 20 (called Trifid Nebula) has been captured by me already on Gavdos. This year I had a telescope with shorter focal length, therefore I managed to capture two objects of Messier’s catalogue on one shot. Specifically it’s mentioned Trifid Nebula and M21 Open Cluster (down left from the nebula). The nebula has been already described in my previous post and it’s located not far from M8 Lagoon nebula. The cluster M21 contains approximately 60 stars and it’s characterized by quite dense core, where the distance between neighboring stars is only one light-year.

The picture was taken under dark skies of Milos Island and it’s an integration of only 54 minutes of exposure time.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure18x180s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-13

NGC6946 Fireworks Galaxy, NGC6939 Ghost Bush Cluster

NGC 6946, sometimes called Fireworks Galaxy, is a beautiful spiral galaxy located between constellations Cepheus and Cygnus. It is approximately 22.5 million light-years away from Earth and it’s a part of Virgo Supercluster of galaxies. The name didn’t get from the shape, but due to frequent explosions of supernovae.

Next to the galaxy is located NGC6939 Ghost Bush Cluster, which is a part of our own Galaxy, therefore the distance from earth is “only” 4000 light-years.

The picture is the last one from the day. I slewed to target, switched on auto guiding and went to sleep. Therefore the picture is an integration of 73 photos, each 5 minutes long, i.e. 6 hours of total time. This is probably the picture with the longest integration time from Milos.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure73x300s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-10

 


M28 Globular Cluster

Messier 28 is a globular cluster located in constellation Sagittarius. Center of Milky Way takes care about the background, which is filled by many stars. The cluster is 17900 light-year away from the Solar system and it has diameter approximately 60 light-years.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure25x120s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-10

M25 Open Cluster

Messier 25 is an open cluster in constellation Sagittarius. It’s approximately 2000 light-years from Earth and it contains 50 brighter star and probably few tens of dimmer stars. The background in illuminated by many stars, because this cluster is located in direction of the galactic center of the Milky Way.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure21x180s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-10

M33 Triangulum galaxy

This is third galaxy captured on Milos. First I was not able to resist and captured Andromeda, second one was Barnard’s galaxy and third one is this one M33 galaxy in constellation Triangulum or simply Triangulum galaxy. Andromeda galaxy (biggest), Milky Way (second biggest) and Triangulum (third biggest) form local group of galaxies. M33 has diameter approximately 60 thousand light-year, which makes it half size of the Milky Way and the light from there has been traveling roughly 3 million years.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length660 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure43x180s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2018-09-10