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.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Messier Catalog Collection

Among the easier objects to photograph are the objects in the Messier catalog.  Although I have been imaging Messier objects all along, I've been pretty selective in the past as to which ones I wanted to image.  Up until a couple of nights ago, I've imaged 8 nebulae, 12 galaxies, 7 globular clusters and one open cluster.

As you can see, I was lacking open clusters.  It's too bad that I havent discovered open clusters until now.  Some of them are very nice imaging candidates.  I've also applied a little creative licensing and synthesized spikes on some of the star images, and  it seems it really makes a semi-dull starfield come alive.  Over the last 2 days, I imaged 9 open cluster Messier's and 2 more globular clusters.  I'll post the open clusters first:








Then there are the 2 globular clusters, M2 and M15.


These objects were imaged with a bright gibbous moon high in the sky.  Being these are stars, the moon does not seem to affect them too much.  The globulars might be a different story, if one wants to get the faintest of stars near the outside of the glob, but the open clusters seem to fare pretty well.  This will show that these clusters would also be good targets for urban astronomers as well, being the light pollution should have little effect on the quality of these objects.

I have created a link to my catalog collection.  The link is at the top of the page, which will take you off-site to my album on a server operated by one of our local astronomy club members.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Messier 1, the Crab Nebula

My Second attempt at imaging the Crab Nebula was much more successful than the first.  This version consists of  20 5-minute subs at ISO-800.  I processed the 32 bit TIFF that Deep Sky Stacker autosaved.  This seemed to produce the best image.  It took several attempts to create this image, but once I discovered the 32 bit processing had a little more control over the beginning steps in the processing, I decided to use it for this image.

An excerpt describing the Crab from Wikipedia:

"The Crab Nebula (catalogue designations M1, NGC 1952, Taurus A) is a supernova remnant and pulsar wind nebula in the constellation of Taurus. The nebula was observed by John Bevis in 1731; it corresponds to a bright supernova recorded by Arab, Chinese and Japanese astronomers in 1054. At X-ray and gamma-ray energies above 30 keV, the Crab is generally the strongest persistent source in the sky, with measured flux extending to above 1012 eV. Located at a distance of about 6,500 light-years (2 kpc) from Earth, the nebula has a diameter of 11 light years (3.4 pc) and expands at a rate of about 1,500 kilometers per second. It is part of the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy."

"At the center of the nebula lies the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star (or spinning ball of neutrons), 28–30 km across,[5] which emits pulses of radiation from gamma rays to radio waves with a spin rate of 30.2 times per second. The nebula was the first astronomical object identified with a historical supernova explosion."

I successfully imaged the Crab Nebula pulsar.  It is extremely faint, but according to what I've read, this next image points to it...

The pulsar is hard to see, but it is there in both images.  It is the extremely small star to the right and below a brighter star.
These images were taken with a 6" Newtonian Reflector and a Canon 300D DSLR.