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.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

PanSTARRS and a Few Galaxies

I finally imaged C/2012 L4 PanSTARRSthe evening of 4/5/13.  It is still quite low, but now northwest, where I have a slightly better shot with a lower horizon.  The problem is, the glow from the city is terrible in that direction.  Fortunately the comet is still bright enough to punch through the haze.  I shot 30 - 15 second frames with the 8 inch at iso 800.  I could not shoot longer, as the skyglow washed out the background.  Yes, the light pollution is bad in that direction.  Here is what I got:

It was actually a crystal clear night, so I thought I would do some deep sky imaging after capturing the comet.  The mount tracked quite well and the go-to worked perfectly.  I must not have had the scope balanced well enough before, as I have had problems with the go-to working well.  Tonight everything worked as it should.  I wouldnt have found PanSTARRS if it wasnt.

When I imaged PanSTARRS and this second image, I had the focus off a little.  I corrected it after imaging M96.  This is not a real good picture of this galaxy, as the focus was off and I took very few frames.

As you can see, it is quite noisy and the stars are kinda big.

After correcting the focus, I went to image some members of the Virgo Cluster.  These came out FAR better, starting with M99.  I need all of the Messier galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, so I concentrated the rest of the evening in that region.

There was some decent wind blowing that night, the guider was going crazy, that is why the stars arent round.  The galaxy came out pretty good, even though I only shot 7 frames at 5 minutes per.  This new scope, being its so big catches the wind a lot more than the 6 inch.  I just hope this does not become a problem in the future.

After M99, I imaged M100 (or maybe it was the other way around).  This image of M100 was the best picture I got that night.  The detail is quite good.

I cropped this one a little big to include some of its nearby friends.  I count possibly 7 galaxies in this frame,   The little ones look like fuzzy stars.  This was taken with the 8 inch, 7 frames 5 minutes long each, stacked.  The long thin edge on spiral just left of center is NGC4312.  The 2 fuzzy stars just above M100 are NGC4328 and NGC4322.

The 8 inch, because of the slightly larger focal length allows the objects to be a bit bigger, which allows more detail.  M100 is almost 7 arc minutes across.  A galaxy this small in the 6 inch would show up in that scope but only about half of the detail would be present.  There would be no detail in the little edge on spiral.  I've imaged small galaxies with it, but most have been rather disappointing.

The Virgo Cluster is roughly 55 million light years away, plus or minus...  This is a nice increase in detail on objects that are this far away.  I will be imaging more from the Virgo cluster as springtime brings more clear nights.  Most of the galaxies however are irregular galaxies and will not have so much detail.


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