Category: Galaxy

NGC 5963 NGC 5965 Galaxies

The spring galaxies in constellation Leo are behind the horizon, but I can prolong the season of the galaxies by pointing my telescope into the constellation Draco. I managed to capture four galaxies in one shot. These two bright ones are called NGC5963 and NGC5965. The white one with spiral arm is 5963 and one with yellow hue is 5965. These galaxies were discovered by William Herschel in year 1788. They might look like neighbors, but it only seems so. One galaxy is 140 million light-years, second one only 40 million light-years away.

NGC 5907 Knife Edge Galaxy

This spiral galaxy is located in constellation Draco and it is 50 million light-year far from Earth. Very impressive picture was made by David Martinez-Delgado here. He managed to capture star stream around the galaxy as a result of tidal forces acting on dwarf galaxy. The simulation here explains what happened. I have to admit, there are no signs of such streams on my picture. This is caused by the fact that I live in light polluted area and I have much smaller telescope.

M63 Sunflower Galaxy

Another captured galaxy this spring. Sunflower Galaxy located in constellation Canes Venatici (hunting dogs) just like M106 or M51 galaxies. M63 has nicely visible spiral arms, it’s 27 million light-years far from us and it’s so called active galaxy, which means that the center of the galaxy is significantly brighter due to presence of supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy.

For this picture I used new astro-camera ZWO 1600 MC, which is one-shot color camera. This means no filter wheel is needed and camera is much lighter than my old Moravian Instruments G2 8300M. The disadvantage of this camera is that it’s not possible to use narrow band filters. However, for RGB the performance is quite comparable.

NGC4565 Needle Galaxy

Needle Galaxy is located constellation Coma Berenices The light from there traveled 40 million years, because the galaxy is approximately 40 million light years from Earth. Actually, what we are looking at is 40 million years old picture. The needle shape is caused by its orientation towards our Milky Way Galaxy (the plane of the galactic disk is perpendicular in our view).

M106 Galaxy

Galactic harvest continues. Here again I focused my scope to previously photographed DSO. The galaxy is located in constellation Canes Venatici (hunting dogs) not far from famous constellation Ursa Major (great bear) and it’s approximately 24 million light-years far from us.

M81 Bode Galaxy M82 Cigar Galaxy

Another galaxy harvest. This time were captured two galaxies in one shot. The spiral one on the right is called Bode Galaxy and on the left Cigar Galaxy. They are located in constellation Ursa Major (Great Bear) and they are proximately 12 million light-years away from us. Even though their centers are quite far from each other (300 thousands light-years), they interact with each other and the smaller one (Cigar) was deformed by tidal forces caused by gravity. Previous picture didn’t reveal such details.

M109 Vacuum Cleaner Galaxy

This spring I am harvesting the galaxies from the sky. After the M104 Sombrero I pointed the telescope into the constellation Ursa Major and focused on M109 Vacuum Cleaner Galaxy, which is located approximately 83 light years from us. Unfortunately, one bright star – Phad was in the visual vicinity and created diffraction spike spreading through the picture. So next time I will change the composition.

M104 Sombrero galaxy

The spring is a season of the galaxies. Winter nebulae are gone and constellations Lion, Ursa Major or Virgo are offering stunning deep space objects. The moon was hidden and the wetter finally good, so I took to opportunity and pointed my telescope into the constellation Virgo and collected some light coming from Sombrero galaxy, which has been on the way 32 million years. This galaxy looks like a Mexican hut, because it’s surrounded by dust belt. This is my second attempt to capture M104. First one, two years ago, was not that successful. Anyway, it’s better than last time, but I still cannot get to the quality of Hubble Space Telescope. However my equipment has better price/performance ratio 🙂

Markarian’s Chain

Only few locations on the skies contain so many galaxies as Markarian’s Chain. It belongs to the Virgo galaxy cluster. The brightest galaxies in the center (M84 and M86) were discovered by Charles Messier already in 1781. The smaller one on the left is called NGC 4388, on the right NGC 4402 and at the bottom NGC 4438. These galaxies are located in constellation Virgo between two bright stars Danebola (constellation Leo) and Videmiatrix (Virgo) and they are 50 – 60 million light-years far from the Solar System.

This picture makes me think how big the universe is. Each galaxy contains billions of stars and there is so many of them…

Even though I used my smallest telescope (focal length 600 mm) the whole Markarian’s chain didn’t fit into the field of view. This means I will do mosaic, but probably next year.

M96 Galaxy

M96 is a spiral galaxy located in constellation Leo. It is approximately 31 million Light-years far from Earth and it has same size and mass as our home – Milky Way. Neighboring galaxies M95 and M105 will be captured next time.

M33 Triangulum Galaxy

Triangulum Galaxy is our neighboring spiral galaxy in distance only 3 Million light years from the Earth. It has diameter approximately 30 light years, which means that it’s 3 times smaller than our home – Milky Way Galaxy. Last year I tried to capture some photons coming from there, but the outcome was not so great, therefore I was waiting one year and here is the outcome:


M101 – Pinwheel Galaxy

Pinwheel Galaxy is similar to our own homeland Milky Way Galaxy. It has 170 000 light years in diameter (it takes 170 000 years till the light from one side reaches the other) It’s 21 million light years from Solar system and located in constellation Ursa Major (Big Dipper or Great Bear).

This galaxy is characterized by high population of H II regions and therefore I adjusted the image acquisition in the way to highlight it. In total I used four nights to capture this image. The Moon was not bothering and surprisingly, the weather was excellent in first half of May.  The first night I used just for luminance channel, second and third one for RGB channels and finally the last one for narrow band image of hydrogen alpha. Ha channel was merged with R channel and therefore the intensity of H II regions was increased. It’s probably my longest total integration time of any galaxy and it was worth it. See for yourself:


M33 Triangulum Galaxy

Triangulum Galaxy is located only 3 Million light years from Earth in the constellation, surprisingly, Triangulum.

Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to take more pictures, because of the shi**y weather in Switzerland. So, this galaxy is subscribed in category re-photo at the end of 2016.


M31 Andromeda galaxy

Andromeda galaxy is the closed galaxy of our home – Milky Way galaxy. The diameter of Andromeda is approximately 220,000 light years; which is twice more than has Milky Way. It’s only 2.5 million lights away and it’s getting closer. The collision with the Milky Way is predicted to happen in approximately 4 billion years.

This DSO is one of the brightest and the biggest, which makes it relatively easy to photograph. This is actually my second attempt of Andromeda galaxy. One year ago with DSLR camera the picture was not looking so great, therefore I was waiting a year and here is the result:

M31 Andromeda galaxy

M51 Whirlpool galaxy

Probably the most photogenic galaxy is called Whirlpool galaxy, located in the constellation Canes Venatici, close to the Big Dipper. It’s approximately 23 million light years from the Earth and its spirals have 43 thousand light years in diameter, which makes it 1/3 of a size of Milky Way. Whirlpool galaxy is accompanied by dwarf galaxy M51b or NGC5195, which is located at the end of the longest spiral.

As usual, I made my first picture of this galaxy by DSLR and I was not quite happy with the quality, therefore I waited one year and repeated with cooled astro-camera and here it is:


M106 Galaxy

This spiral galaxy is located in constellation Canes Venatici (hunting dogs) and it’s approximately 23 million light years away from earth.

Picture is not optimal, during post-processing I notices triangular stars. So next year I will point my telescope to M106 and collect the photons coming from there again.


M104 Sombrero galaxy

This galaxy looks like Mexican hat, therefore it’s called Sombrero. It’s approximately 28 million light years away from Earth, located in the constellation Virgo. Giant cloud of dust surrounds the galaxy and blocks the light coming from the stars located inside the ring. This makes the galaxy very unique and photogenic. In my opinion, the best picture taken by Hubble space telescope is Sombrero galaxy.

The picture I took has not that high quality, because of triangular stars, which are caused by overtightened primary mirror. Probably in 2016 I will have to photograph this galaxy again.


M81 Bode galaxy, M82 Cigar galaxy

This galaxy was discovered by Mr. Bode long time ago in 1774. It’s located 12 million light years from Earth in constellation Ursa Major (Great Bear). This galaxy has a neighbor Cigar galaxy M81 (left).


M66 Leo Triplet

Leo Triplet is small group of 3 galaxies. They are approximately 35 million light years from Earth. Two of them (M66 – top right and M65 top left) were discovered by Charles Messier already in 1780. At that time there was no light pollution, therefore these galaxies were nicely visible. Third one – NGC3628 (left) is dimmer, therefore was hidden till 1784. It was discovered by William Herschel and catalogued by John Louis Emil Dreyer in New General Catalogue (NGC) of deep space objects.