Messier 48

Messier 48

There is nothing interesting about the M48 open cluster, I imaged it as a test of the optics at minimum f – which it kinda failed projecting some ugly halos around almost all the stars. It is a 5.8m DSO in Hydra [wiki]. As a curiosity, this is one of the somewhat debated Messier objects, as there is no notable object at the position marked by Messier. This cluster, in present day also known as NGC 2545, is 5 degrees away from M48’s “original” position. In my picture, the bright star opposite to the cluster is C Hya, accompanied by 1 and 2 Hya and the orange HIP 41316.

(tovább…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Markarian’s Chain, through the telescope

Markarian’s Chain

After imaging the galaxy chain with the 200 telelens, at f/2.8, I turned the f/5 telescope to it. Not surprisingly, I registered way less light – also given the lack of guiding at the longer focal limiting the length of the exposures. I remember a discussion on the field with fellow amateur astronomers, about how objects are named, seemingly arbitrarily – however, many of the members of this chain are physically linked, not just a chance alignment, mostly, and it was an astronomer named Markarian who measured their motion. Member galaxies include the two bright ellipticals, M84, M86  and some other NGC members: NGC 4477, NGC 4473, NGC 4461, NGC 4458, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435.

(tovább…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

M81 and M82

M81 and M82

It’s been a while since I imaged M81 and M82, the famous pair almost made to be photographed.

Messier 81 is the largest galaxy in the M81 Group, M82 the second largest in the group of 34 galaxies located in the constellation Ursa Major, at about  12 Mly. M81 is a spiral, M82 is a starburst galaxy, distorted by the interactions with M81. The intense star formation makes M82, though less massive, more luminous than the Milky Way. The very faint satellite of spiral, in this picture the patch at one o’clock from M81’s core, is the Holmberg IX dwarf, one of the youngest of its kind. (tovább…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

M101 Pinwheel Galaxy

M 101 with NGC 5474

The Pinwheel Galaxy (Szélkerék in Hungarian) is one of the last entries in the Messier catalog, discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781. It has a grand-design pattern, meaning nothing more than that the spiral arms are prominent and well-defined. Also known as NGC 5457, the galaxy lies at 21 Mly. According to this paper,  it has a mass of 9.8×1010 solar masses, way less than the Milky Way’s ~1012  solar masses, see this paper.

As a sidenote, our home is actually one of the most massive galaxies in the wider neighborhood, the exact value depending on the study, placing us somewhere a bit below down to at about half of M31 Andromeda’s mass, which is just heavy compared to the other spirals on the sky. As another sidenote, it is hard to find the masses of galaxies on the internet. As one more sidenote, it is tricky to find out distances of galaxies in scientific catalogs not meant for the general public, thus not containing a trivia section.

(tovább…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

A wide perspective towards Markarian’s Chain

Galaxies in Vir/Com

I imaged a wide region on the border of Virgo and Coma Berenices, full of galaxies, members of the Virgo Cluster.

This area of our sky is very far from the Milky Way’s galactic plane making it fairly blank, thus acts like a window to see beyond it.  This region features objects well known to amateurs, like many Messier galaxies and Markarian’s Chain (formed by, among others, M84 and M86).

(tovább…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Venus, near the Sun

Venus, 1.2% crescent, two days before minimum elongation

I observed Venus’ very narrow crescent at only two days before the inferior conjunction, ie minimum elongation, at less than 9 degrees from the Sun, with only 1.2% illumination. Since this is a personal record, besides the transit observed in 2012, let me just paste here some trivia from Stellarium. Due to the Sun being very close, this post is something with the label: kids, don’t try this at home.

Venus on 2017-03-23 at 11:30 UTC:
distance: 42 million km (during the 2012 transit, it was 43 away)
apparent diameter: 59.3″ (1/30 of the Sun’s / Moon’s diameter)
illumination: 1.2% (this year’s minimum will be 1%, in two days)
position: 10°10′, 9 min
elongation: 8°58’52″(this year’s minimum, ie the inferior conjunction is just under 8°17′, on 2017-03-25 at around 16:30 UTC)

The equipment was a Scopium webcam at the SW MC 102/1300 scope on an HEQ5 mount, with or without a 2x barlow.

Finding Venus
Maybe it’s my bad, but I found no obvious daytime alignment method (like use the Sun, the Moon beeing too far away) in the controller. Being a temporary backyard setup, with no alignment at all (I have a general idea where north is), I started at the Sun with an ND 3.8 Baader solar filter, in order to adjust both the focus and get an idea about the coordinates the mount thinks it is pointing to. Then, having the Sun’s and Venus’ position from Stellarium, I guided the scope to the assumed coordinates. Given the glare of the Sun, visual observations were off the table, even with the improvised shade. So all that remained was canvasing the area with the filter now off, through the keyhole-like narrow field of the webcam. (Yes, I could have used the aligned finder scope’s wide field with the camera, but then again: the Sun). After a while (Hofstadter’s law applied), I succeeded :)

Some pictures below, they show details like how the color of the sky is off due to the white balance being off while recording with the color webcam.

(tovább…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Milky Way in Cygnus

The Milky Way in Cygnus

Cygnus is a great vista even to the naked eye observer. Along the Lyra, the Northern Cross rules the region also featuring a bright patch of the Milky Way which the experienced amateur astronomer knows is loaded with deep sky objects. I decided to take a deep wide angle look at this iconic part of the northern sky. Although the lens used is a toy compared to other takes, I am pleased by the results. Prominent dso’s in the frame: NGC 7000 – North America nebula; IC 5070, IC 5067 – the Pelican nebula; Caldwell 33, 34 – the Veil nebula; open cluster NGC 6940; although not obvious, C 27,  NGC 6888 Crescent nebula; IC 1318 the Sadr (γ Cygni) Region, and so on.  Photons collected on 2016-11-20, 21×3 min, Canon 1100D mod, ISO 1600, Canon EF 50mm f​/1.8 II @ f/4, HEQ5, used my star handler.
(tovább…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

NGC 6888 Crescent Nebula

NGC 6888 Crescent Nebula, 50×45 sec

I found some forgotten raw material I collected during the summer. Tech details show the frames were more like tests than a serious attempt at photographing this object. Nevertheless it was worth the shot.

NGC 6888, also known to amateurs as Caldwell 27, the Crescent nebula is a faint, 10m deep sky object in Cygnus, near the well known Sadr (γ Cygni) region. The nebula is blown by the Wolf-Rayet star WR 136 (HD 192163).

(tovább…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

2016: my astrophotography adventure

(tovább…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

C49 Rosette Nebula – photons from 2016-12-30

Rosette Nebula (Caldwell 49)

In the freezing cold I imaged the C49 Rosette Nebula with my usual equipment:  Canon 1100D mod, 23x135sec, ISO 1600, Canon 200mm f/2.8 @ f/3.5, HEQ5, from Dângău Mare. I can say the session was a success. I used my star handling program to reduce the stars’ dominance over the nebulae.

The curious thing in the frame is the crown shaped denser star field at 6h39′, N2°3′ in the upper left corner. It lies near the open cluster NGC 2262, at 11.3m which is just outside of this frame. I included some Google Sky and SIMBAD images for comparison, and also did an astrometry.net plate solving. With some help from a fellow amateur astronomer, known as nr74 (Németh Róbert), I identified it as Collinder 110, at 10.5m. Noteworthy that the cluster is not listed in other obvious places. See [simbad]

In this frame, open cluster NGC2236, at 8.5m is on old friend, known from the previous attempt to image the Rosette Nebula. It is about 9600 light years away, ie about twenty times further than the Pleiades.

(tovább…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Jól kalibrált monitoron mindegyik számnál elkülönülő árnyalat látszik. Ha mégsem látszanak, akkor a megjelenített képek színhiányosan rajzolódnak ki. A monitort valószínűleg kalibrálni kell.

You should see distinct shades for each number. If those shades are not clearly visible, the displayed pictures will lack accuracy. Your display most likely needs to be calibrated (brightness, gamma, contrast etc.).