Month: May 2022

NGC 2060 Tarantula Nebula

Our galaxy Milky Way is surrounded by two dwarf galaxies. Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) and Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). SMC I captured recently by the relatively short focal length of 250 mm. LMC is much larger, so it wouldn’t fit into the field of view of my 94 mm refractor. However, LMC is full of very interesting objects, just like the Tarantula Nebula. I used the HaLRGB technique to make the nebulosity pop.

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia HaLRGB
Exposure16x180s HaL, 10x180s RGB, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-31

IC 4628 Prawn Nebula

IC 4628, also called Prawn Nebula is an HII region in the constellation Scorpius. Due to very low southern declination, it is badly visible even from southern Europe. A better place to observe/photograph this deep space object is obviously the southern hemisphere. For example in Namibia, where this beautiful nebula rises very high in the sky. The open cluster on the left side is called the Northen Juwel box cluster.

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure39x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-31

NGC 292 Small Magellanic Cloud

Small Magellanic Cloud, shorty SMC, is a dwarf galaxy, which is gravitationally bonded to the Milky Way. It has an irregular shape, which resembles a droplet. Compared to the Milky Way’s size (100’000 light-years in diameter) it’s significantly smaller (7’000 light-years in diameter) and it’s roughly 200’000 light-years far from us.

SMC is visually accompanied by two globular clusters. NGC 104 at the top and NGC 362 at the left side. The clusters are obviously much closer to us than the galaxy.

This galaxy is quite important for astronomy, because Henrietta Swan Leavitt, an astronomer at the Harvard College Observatory, discovered several variable stars in this galaxy. Variable stars change the intensity in periodic cycles. So, based on the apparent brightness of the variable star, the distance can be determined. Since this discovery, mankind can measure the distance between the galaxies.

The picture is a stack of 159 photos, 2 minutes each. This means in total I was photographing this object for 5.3 hours.

TelescopeWilliam Optics RedCat 51/250 f4.9
Aperture51 mm
Focal length250 mm
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
AutoguidingZWO 178MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope 30/130 mm
CameraZWO ASI071 MC Pro @-10 °C
Filtersnone
Exposure159x120s, ISO 1600
Date2022-05-30

NGC 5139 Omega Centauri

NGC 5139 Omega Centauri is the biggest globular cluster in Milky Way. Even though this cluster is approximately 17 thousand light-years away from Earth, it can be seen even by unaided eyes. This is because it contains roughly 10 million stars. I managed to see this cluster in a very dark place in Namibia and I must say, it’s brighter than any other object in the sky.

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia LRGB
Exposure38x180s L, 12x180s RGB, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-30

Milky Way in Namibia

Milky Way is usually visible only if you are in a dark location. For example, there is a desert called Kalahari in Namibia. In this desert, there is an Astro farm Kiripotib. You will see the Milky Way in all its beauty if you get there. We spent several nights just looking at it:

Milky Way formed an arc in the evening spanning from east to west. Later, it rose up and formed a line from south to north. What a fantastic view we had:

LensSamyang XP 14mm f/2.4 @f2.8
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
Exposure50x20s, ISO 1600
Date2021-05-30
LensSamyang 24mm f/1.4 @f2.8
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
Exposure75x12s, ISO 1600
Date2021-05-31

And here is the most complex picture spanning from the Lagoon Nebula on the left to the Carina Nebula on the right. The picture was made as a panorama stitch of 6 photos. Each photo is a stack of 10 images, each 60 seconds long. This means in total I spent only one hour on this photo.

LensSigma 50 mm f1.4 Art @f2.8
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
Exposure60x60s, ISO 1600
Date2021-05-28

IC 2944 Running Chicken Nebula

IC 2944 Running Chicken Nebula is an H II region located in the constellation Centaurus. It’s a galactic neighbor of the Carina Nebula because they both belong to the Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. I must admit that this was my secondary nebula target for my trip to Namibia. Therefore, I didn’t dedicate much time – only 3 hours. However, the details popped out, so overall, I am happy with this “fake” Hubble palette picture.

And here is an even more “fake” picture, where the stars are completely removed. However, the nebulosity gained a 3D-like look.

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure36x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-29

NGC 6752 Globular Cluster

NCG 6752 is a globular cluster located in the constellation Pavo. It contains approximately 100’000 stars and it is 13’000 light-years from Earth. Like most recently captured deep space objects, this cluster is visible only from the southern hemisphere.

My intention was to capture the cluster with the galaxies surrounding it, but since this part of the sky is full of stars, the galaxies are almost hidden.

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia LRGB
Exposure36x180s L, 10x180s RGB, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-29

Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex

The brightest orange star is the Antares, which represents the head of the constellation Scorpius. This star has surrounded all kinds of nebulae – dark, reflection, emission. Basically, nearly all the colors of the universe can be seen here.

TelescopeWilliam Optics RedCat 51/250 f4.9
Aperture51 mm
Focal length250 mm
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
AutoguidingZWO 178MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope 30/130 mm
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
Filtersnone
Exposure60x120s, ISO 1600
Date2022-05-29

NGC 6744 Galaxy

NGC 6744 is a galaxy in the constellation Pavo. The galaxy has beautiful spiral arms, which attracted my attention and I spent 4 hours collecting the light coming from this 28 million light-years distant deep space object.

TelescopeMeade 10"
Aperture254 mm
Focal length2097 mm
MountMK 100K
AutoguidingMGEN 240 mm
CameraZWO 071 @-10°C
CorrectorTS 0.67 reducer
Filtersnone
Exposure78x180s, Gain 95, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-28

NGC 3372 Eta Carina Nebula

Eta Carina Nebula is the southern hemisphere’s most prominent deep space object. In fact, this nebula is the reason why I packed all my portable astro-gear and flew to Namibia. Carina is approximately 4x brighter than the Orion nebula, which could be considered a highlight of the northern hemisphere. Moreover, it’s much larger. The nebula is a combination of emission and dark nebulae, located in the constellation Carina and it’s roughly 8500 light-years away from us.

It was a struggle to get the rig working in Namibia, but after two nights I managed and the next day, when I processed the pictures, a big smile appeared on my face. Well done, mission accomplished.

During our stay at Kiripotib Namibia, the other guest rented a 14.5-inch Dobsonian telescope and allowed us to have a look at the Carina (thank you so much, Peter). It was a simply spectacular view. Such a huge aperture combined with TeleVue eyepieces – WOW effect was there. Moreover, the Dobsonian had a filter wheel with OIII, UHC, and H-beta filters. Just by turning it, one could see a completely different nebulosity. I was really happy to see this beautiful deep space object with my own eyes.

Here is the processed picture in the Hubble color palette.

Here I completely removed the stars by StarNet++

And here is bi-color version (R-Ha, G-OIII, B-OIII)

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure87x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-27

Saturn

I have been chasing this planet for a very long time. Saturn is the most beautiful planet in the Solar System and yet I haven’t been able to photograph it properly. This is mainly caused by the fact that in the last years this planet had very low southern declination (it has been quite close to the horizon). Therefore, I was not able to capture it from home, and during my travels, to southern places, I never had a suitable telescope with me. Finally, I got an opportunity. I was in the southern hemisphere, specifically in Namibia, and I rented Meade 10″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. The first night I photographed Centarus A Galaxy. Early in the morning around 4 a.m. I came to park to scope, but before that, I removed the ASI071 camera. Focal length 3130 mm I prolonged by TeleVue 2.5 Barlow lens to nearly 8 m, attached ZWO ASI485, and captured 2000 frames. Then I selected 25% best frames and here we go:

TelescopeMeade 10"
Aperture254 mm
Focal length7825 mm
MountMK 100K
Autoguidingnon
CameraZWO ASI485MC
CorrectorTeleVue Barlow 2.5x
Filtersnon
Exposure2000x180ms, Gain 222, 25% selected,
Date2022-05-28

NGC 5128 Centaurus A Galaxy

NGC 5128 Centaurus A is a galaxy, which can be found in cancellation, you can guess which one, Centarus. This galaxy is not visible from Europe or from the northern hemisphere. If anyone wants to observe or photograph it, has to go south. And this is exactly what I did. I went to Namibia, specifically to an Astrofarm Kiripotib. I went there with a plan and this Galaxy was my first and primary target. As for most galaxies, one needs a long focal length. Therefore, I rented a telescope there. Specifically, it was Meade 10″. I brought my own focal reducer TS 0.67 and attached my old ASI071. I made in total 133 pictures, each 3 minutes long, and stacked them together. This means nearly 7 hours of exposure time. The dust cloud blocking the light from the galaxy really popped out with a slight help of deconvolution.

TelescopeMeade 10"
Aperture254 mm
Focal length2097 mm
MountMK 100K
AutoguidingMGEN 240 mm
CameraZWO 071 @-10°C
CorrectorTS 0.67 reducer
Filtersnon
Exposure133x180s, Gain 95, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-27