clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Markarian's Chain

On 4/18/12 I had to work late, so I brought the telescope and found that my office had darker skies than home.  I took the opportunity of photographing the Markarian's Chain in Virgo. says there are 17 galaxies in this field of view, and all but one was captured.  I'm guessing IC3303 was too dim to be captured with the exposure I used.

This image is an unguided series of 12 frames at iso1600 and 3 minutes in length.

All of the galaxies are rather small, which does not surprise me, considering they're 60 million light years away.  This is a very dense field of galaxies.

A list of galaxies shown in this image can be found at

Also of note, I had just acquired a Bahtinov focusing mask just in time for me to image this group of objects.  It really does take the guesswork out of focusing, which I have had some problems with in past images.  It can be difficult to tell if you are focused until you take a couple of long exposure images and see a bright star with a "hole" in the center.  This mask makes it much easier to determine if you are in focus.

I also purchased an integrated barlow / T-ring, which I used once while I was on site, but being I was unguided, the stars streaked a little more than I had liked.  It is going to work however when I use the autoguider.

I also took a few frames of the Needle Galaxy, NGC4565 in Coma Berenices.  There isn't near enough exposure time for this object, as I only took 6 frames at 3 min each...

This is a cropped image.  I did take 1 single frame of this object using the barlow, and I believe it is going to work out nicely, but without guiding, I didnt continue photographing this object after the 1 frame.  This image is without the barlow, and I had run out of time, as my primary target was the Markarian's Chain.

I will be revisiting this object again, as it is relatively large, and although it is quite narrow, I was able to capture the central dust lane.  Looking forward to using the barlow on this object and guiding the scope for some longer exposures.


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