M68 Globular Cluster

Messier 68 is a globular cluster located in constellation Hydra. The cluster contains more than 100,000 stars and it is approximately 33,000 light-years away from Earth. The best time for observation is between March and July. Observers from Central Europe have disadvantage, because M68 doesn’t raise much above the horizon. Therefore this cluster was one of my primary targets on La Palma, where M68 is much better visible. However, the weather was bad and I only got 40 minutes between the clouds.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length630 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure19x120s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-04-30

M93 Open Cluster

Messier 93 is an open cluster located in constellation Puppis and it is about 3400 light-year away from Earth. My previous attempt to capture this object was not so successful, because M93 doesn’t rise far from horizon in Central Europe. On La Palma is the situation different, but only if the weather allows it. I was partially lucky and a hole between the clouds appeared and I got 44 minutes opportunity to capture this cluster properly.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length630 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure22x120s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-04-28

M83 Southern Pinwheel Galaxy

Messier 83 is a spiral galaxy located in constellation Hydra. It is one of the brightest and closest (15 million light-years) galaxies observable from Earth. On the other hand there are much brighter and closer galaxies, for example Andromeda is only 2.5 million light-years away and M33 Triangulum Galaxy is roughly 3 million light-years away.

Due to the fact that the M83 has very low southern declination (rises not far from horizon), thus it is very difficult to capture from light polluted Central Europe, I decided to take a trip to south. Specifically to La Palma (Canary Islands) and tried to photograph it from there. I had only one clear night out of ten, but together with M68 was this galaxy my primary target and I somehow managed. My plan was to capture more deep space objects, but the weather didn’t allow me.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length630 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure87x300s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-04-25

M61 Galaxy

Spring offers the best conditions for photographing/observing of the galaxies. This is caused by the fact that the constellations Virgo, Leo and Coma Berenices are visible and there are galaxies anywhere you look. This year, I already captured M58 M88 M89 M90 M91 Galaxies, but there are still some galaxies missing, in order to finish Messier catalogue. One of them was M61 (upper left corner). This spiral galaxy is located in constellation Virgo, it has about the same size as our home galaxy Milky Way and it is approximately 52 light-year away from Earth.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length630 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-15°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure74x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-04-06

M88 M91 Galaxies

Messier 88 (right) and Messier 91 are the spiral galaxies located between constellations Coma Berenices and Virgo. Both belong to the Virgo Cluster of galaxies and both are approximately 60 light-years away from Earth. The small galaxy at the very left is called NGC 4571.

Technical data:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length630 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-15°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure47x300s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-03-30

NGC 2237 Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula is a giant cloud of hydrogen gas. The gas is ionized by the star cluster located in the middle and therefore emits the light. Circular shape and the color correspond to the name – the rose. The cluster in the middle can be observed even by using small telescope, but the nebulosity is very dim, therefore in order to see it, one would need perfectly dark sky and very large telescope with low magnification. It’s definitely easier to photograph the nebulosity. My previous photo was done through the narrow band filters, which suppress the light pollution and increases the contrast of the picture. Now I tried it with normal one shot color camera and I must conclude that it went quite well.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length630 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR
FiltersAstronomik L-1 - UV IR Block Filter
Exposure16x300s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-03-30

M58 M89 M90 Galaxies


The spring has arrived and there are many galaxies, which yet has to be captured by me, in order to finish the Messier catalogue. This night I managed to capture tree of them in one shot. Messier 58 (upper left side) is a barred spiral galaxy, which is approximately 68 million light-years from Earth. This makes it the furthest object from Messier catalogue. Messier 89 (bottom middle) is only 50 million light-years from us and Messier 90 (right) is approximately 59 million light-years away.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length630 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure90x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-03-29

M93 Open Cluster

Messier 93 is an open cluster located in constellation Puppis and it is about 3400 light-year away from Earth. The cluster is one of those deep space objects, which I cannot see from my home, therefore I had to pack the gear and enjoy starry night outside. Compared to my previous attempt, I took the laser collimator with me and waited sufficiently long the temper the telescope. Well I was surprised that the stars are slightly oval and there is blue halo on one side and red one on the other side of nearly each star. I was speculating if there is something wrong with the optics, but then I realized that this object has very low declination (it’s not far from horizon), therefore it’s exposed to atmosphere refraction/dispersion. This means that the light must pass through the thick layer of an air. In this case the atmosphere works as a lens and bends red and blue light differently. The effect is described here or here.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length630 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure30x60s, Gain 136, bin 1x1,
Date2019-03-27

M76 Little Dumbbell Nebula

Messier 76 is one out of four planetary nebulae in Messier catalogue. It is one of the dimmest objects in this catalogue. The nebula is located in constellation Perseus and it is 2500 light-years away from Earth. M76 was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780 and in the same year was catalogued by Charles Messier.

The picture is a stack of 58 pictures, each 180s, which means nearly 3 hours of the integration time. However, the conditions were far from optimal, because the Moon was in first quarter and illuminating the skies.

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure58x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-02-14

M41 Open Cluster

In order to complete the Messier Catalogue and capture all of its deep space objects, I have to pack the telescope, mount, camera, cables and batteries and set it up somewhere in the nature with better view. Most of the objects I am able to capture from home, but some of them have very low declination (not far above the horizon) and I cannot see them from my terrace, because there is a hill direction south.

Messier 41, open cluster in constellation Canis Major is one of them.  So, I packed my car and went to collect some photons. At least I got the opportunity to test my new mount Avalon M-Zero, which replaced my previous portable mount iOptron CEM25P. The old portable mount was working well, but due to conventional equatorial design, one needs a counterweight, which was in this case 5 kg. This means 1/3 of the total weight. M-Zero is basically single fork mount, which utilizes the weight of the motors and housing as a counterweight. Moreover, M-Zero uses belts and pulleys, which means zero backlash. I can confirm – it works very well. I can save few kgs in my case during my next travel expedition.

The night was cold and since I don’t do the astrophotography in the nature frequently, I faced some issues. First, the portable telescope lost the collimation and I didn’t have the laser collimator with me. Second, I started to photograph before the telescope reached the thermal equilibrium, therefore there was a focus drift. This is definitely not my best picture, but I can at least check another Messier object from the list.

Technical details

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length630 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure39x60s, Gain 136, bin 1x1,
Date2019-02-12

M37 Open Cluster

Messier 37 is the largest and the brightest open cluster in constellation Auriga. Visually, it has two deep space neighboring open clusters M36 and M38. The cluster was discovered by Giovani Battista Hodierna in 1654 and catalogued by Charles Messier in 1764. The cluster contains a lot of red giant stars and it is approximately 4500 light-year away from Earth.

This is the second deep space object, which I captured in a single night. The clouds rolled in, therefore I was able to capture only 30 pictures, 60 second each.

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure30x60s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-02-08

M36 Open Cluster

Messier 36 is an open cluster located in constellation Auriga, not far from the bright star Capella. The cluster is approximately 4000 light-years from Earth and it has diameter 14 light-years. There are another two open clusters in the vicinity. Specifically it is M38 (north-west) and M37 (south-east).

The picture is a stack of 50 images, each has 60 s exposure time, which means less than hour of the integration time. Another Messier object was captures. I hope, I will finish the whole Messier catalogue this year.

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure50x60s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-02-08

M46 M47 Open Clusters

Messier 46 (left) and Messier 47 are open clusters located in constellation Puppis. Visually, these clusters are quite close to each other and both fit in the field of view of my smallest telescope. Visual distance is not the real distance, because M46 in approximately 5000 light-years away and M47 is much closer, only 1600 light-years away.

M46 contains roughly 500 members and small planetary nebula called NGC2438 can be found there.

The picture is a stack of 22 pictures, 2 minutes exposure each, which means 44 minutes in total. Unfortunately, my telescope was not properly collimated, therefore the stars are elongated in the upper left corner. Well, I must say that this was the first and the last night in January without clouds, therefore I did not get the chance to recapture this deep space object.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length630 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, OAG
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-20°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure22x120s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2019-01-30

M79 Globular cluster

Messier 79 is a globular cluster located in constellation Lepus. This cluster is particularly interesting, because it can be observed/photographed only in winter and there is no other globular cluster in that part of the sky. Most of the globular clusters are visible in summer, when the galactic center is shows its beauty. This means that most of the globular clusters are close to the galactic center, but M79 is actually at the edge of our galaxy. Diameter of our own Milky Way galaxy is approximately 100,000 light-years. M79 is roughly 60,000 light-years far from galactic center and 42,100 light years away from earth. The study conducted in 2003 revealed the concentration of the stars in constellation Canis Major, which is neighboring constellation to Lepus and it was assumed that there is a dwarf galaxy there. Latest studies disproved this theory and the star concentration is assumed to be caused just by the spiral arm of the Milky Way.

This deep space object is extremely difficult to capture due to its very low declination if observed from Central Europe. Moreover, also the optics was not cooperating this night. I must admit it’s the worst picture of a globular cluster I have ever made. But if I want to complete Messier catalogue this year, I have to publish it as it is. I hope I will get an opportunity to recapture M79 next year.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountAvalon M-Zero
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-15°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersHutech IDAS LPS-D2
Exposure22x60s, Gain 134, bin 1x1,
Date2019-01-15

M78 Nebula


Messier 78 is a reflection nebula located in constellation Orion, visually not far from stars Alnitak Alnilam and Mintaka, which form the Orion’s belt. This nebula is one of the brightest reflection nebulas on the sky, due to reflection of the light coming from two bright stars called HD38563A and HD38563B.

My previous attempt to capture this nebula during my expedition to Schwarzwald was not that successful, due to the due problems, therefore I dedicated nearly 3 hours to this DSO. However, it looks like the picture would need longer 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
Exposure50x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2018-12-13

M77 Galaxy


Messier 77 is a spiral galaxy located in constellation Cetus and it is approximately 47 million light-year away from Earth. Due to its diameter 170 light-year, this galaxy is one of the biggest objects of Messier Catalogue.

The galaxy in the bottom right corner is called NGC 1055, which together with M77 creates binary system.

The picture is a stack of 20 pictures, each 3 minutes long, i.e. only one hour of integration time. This is obviously not enough for such deep space object, but I wanted to capture another DSO this night. Moreover, I was not able to wait till 1 o’clock, when the street lamps are switched off, because at this time, this galaxy was nearly reaching the horizon.

Now it’s time to slew to M78 Nebula.

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
Exposure20x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2018-12-13

M103 Open Cluster


Messier 103 is an open cluster located in constellation Cassiopeia. With its distance 8500 light-year from Earth, this cluster is one of the most distant clusters from Messier’s catalogue.

The picture is a stack of 56 pictures, each 2 minutes long, i.e. nearly two hours of integration time. December is a month, which is rich with deep space objects, but it’s also rich with clouds. In whole December I got only single opportunity to take my telescope outside, therefore this is not the only deep space object, which I captured this night.

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
Exposure56x120s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2018-12-13

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