Month: July 2020

M4 Globular cluster

Messier 4 (left side of the picture) is a globular cluster located in the constellation Scorpius, close to the brightest star of this constellation Antares (right side). This cluster is the closest one to the Solar System, due to its “short” distance of 7200 light-years and it contains several tens of thousands of stars. There is another globular cluster on the bottom side of the picture NGC 6144. The star Antares is classified as a red supergiant, with a diameter several times bigger than the Sun, which makes it one of the largest know stars. it is only 550 light-years away, which means M4 and Antares are close only visually, but in reality, there is a very long distance between them.
If any brighter star is photographed by the Newtonian telescope, the diffraction cross appears due to the so-called “spider vanes” holder of the secondary mirror. If the spider vanes are not perpendicular to each other (like in my case), the diffraction pattern makes multiple ugly lines. This means I will have to correct it, as soon as I get back from Fuerteventura.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure44x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-07-23

NGC6357 Lobster Nebula

Lobster Nebula is a HII region (giant cloud of excited hydrogen gas) located in the constellation Scorpius. The nebula rises only 8° above the horizon in Central Europe, which means, it is submerged in light pollution caused by nearby towns, villages, or cities. The situation is completely different on the Canary Islands, where the nebula rises 27° above the horizon. Therefore, this nebula was the primary target of my expedition to Fuerteventura. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and strong winds caused bad seeing and didn’t allow me to capture more frames. So, next time it will be better.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure40x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-07-22

M24 Sagittarius Star Cloud

Messier 24 is a spiral arm of our galaxy located in the constellation Sagittarius. The region is heavily populated by the stars, which makes you think how big our home galaxy Milky Way is. I captured it already a few years back, but it would be a pity not to recapture this magnificent star cloud again with a slightly shorter focal length and under the dark skies of Fuerteventura.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure75x120s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-07-21

IC 4304 Rho Ophiuchi Nebula

Rho Ophiuchi is a triple star system (on the left side of the picture) in the constellation Ophiuchus. The light from the stars is partially absorbed by the gas, which makes the blue reflection nebula visible. A smaller reflection nebula called IC 4603 is located on the right. The picture shows just a small frame of the significantly bigger nebula, called the Rho Ophiuchi complex, which combines star Antares, globular cluster M4, and many more reflection, emission, and dark nebulae. In order to capture the whole complex, one has to use a significantly shorter focal length, like 130 – 200 mm.

The picture was taken under the dark skies of Fuerteventura and it’s a stack of 73 pictures, 3 minutes each, which makes the total integration time 219 minutes.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure73x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-07-21

M7 Ptolemy cluster

Messier 7, sometimes called the Ptolemy Cluster, is an open cluster located in between constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius. The cluster is visually located on the galactic plane of the Milky Way, therefore there are many stars in the background. The cluster is badly visible from Central Europe. Much better opportunities to observe or photograph this cluster have astronomers or astrophotographers in southern countries. My last attempt to capture it in Greece was constantly disturbed by the weather, therefore when I was again in the South, specifically at Fuerteventura, I didn’t hesitate and recapture this beautiful cluster.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure64x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-07-21

M8 Lagoon Nebula, M20 Trifid Nebula

These two magnificent nebulae are located visually close to each other in the constellation Sagittarius. This means we are looking in direction of the galactic core of the Milky Way. Trifid Nebula (up left) is a combination of a reflection nebula (blue part), a dark nebula (brown clouds), an emission nebula (red part), and a star cluster. On the other hand, the Lagoon nebula (right side) is an emission nebula – a giant cloud of ionized HII gas. Due to very low southern declination, it’s very difficult to photograph these deep space objects from my home place in Central Europe. Therefore every time I travel south, I take the opportunity and recapture these nebulae. My first attempt of M20 was done with focal length 917 mm, the second one with 630 mm and now I used a gentle focal reducer. Focal length 570 mm allowed me to fit both nebulae into the field of view of APS-C sensor size. The picture is an integration of 213 minutes, taken under the dark skies of Fuerteventura.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure71x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-07-18