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, November 30, 2013

A Productive Evening

Winters in Ohio are a tradeoff.  You get a lot more telescope time in the evening, but it's not clear out very often.  Tonight was actually mediocre, I guess the correct term would have been 'mostly clear'.  We had a little bit of decently transparent skies, but most of the time, there were thin high clouds overhead.  Fortunately they weren't so thin that it prevented me from imaging.

The first object was something I had imaged before with the Canon T3 a year ago.  The Canon really did a good job with this object, and I dont think this image is really any better, but it served as a warmup to better things to come later in the evening.

NGC891 which has been called 'The Outer Limits Galaxy', due to it being part of the opening credits in the TV show, The Outer Limits.  It is a galaxy that is located about 30 million light years away in the constellation Andromeda.  It is a spiral galaxy viewed edge-on, and is thought to resemble the Milky Way if viewed from this angle.  The size and brightness is about the same, and the Milky Way has a dust lane similar to this galaxy.

This was imaged with the Orion Starshoot G3 monochrome behind red, green and blue filters, 5 of each.  No luminance frames were shot because there were clouds moving in at the time this was finishing up.   I actually thought my night was going to be cut short, but a half an hour later, the sky cleared.

When NGC891 was finished, I slewed the scope towards Jupiter and came inside to process the above image.  I happened to look up at the VPN screen of the laptop, and I could see Jupiter on the edge of the autoguider, saturating the screen.  I centered the object, threw in the barlows and the webcam and shot a couple series of Jupiter.  Trouble is, I shot them too dark, so they were a bit noisy.  I did get some decent stacks, this one being the best:

It didnt turn out too bad actually.  I had wished that I had taken this at the correct exposure, it really would have been exceptional, but its not a BAD image.

When I finished up taking Jupiter, I noticed that Orion was clearing the trees.  I threw in my hydrogen alpha filter in the CCD and skewed over to the Horsehead, IC434.  IC434 is much dimmer than I thought.  I've imaged this a number of times, wide field with the DSLR, but never imaged it in Hα.  What a treat this turned out to be!  I framed it using a 2X drizzle at 60 sec exposure, rotated the camera to get more of the nebula in the frame and went ahead and shot 5 - 10 minute exposures and 1 15 minute exposure.  10 minutes really isn't enough exposure time for this object - it really is pretty dim.  15 minutes is better, and even longer exposures wouldnt be a bad idea either.  I honestly can not figure out how people have been able to see this through an eyepiece!  It really is a dim object.

When I stacked this, I was blown away at the detail.  I think I was a little bit out of focus too (not much tho).  The detail in the ionized hydrogen was more than I expected.

I was so impressed with this image, that I thought I would go with a 2nd processed picture, not quite so bright, and add star spikes to the brighter stars in the field.  I did the spikes in a separate layer and changed the opacity so as to not overdo the spikes.  I think this image is really pretty.  This might be one I may just have printed.  Trouble is, I didnt drizzle this image, but perhaps a bicubic resize will look good.

Well, there you have it, a good night of imaging.  I wish we had more of these, but it might be clear again tonight, and if it is, you might see another post tomorrow.  Until next time....  Clear Skies, all!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Couple Forgotten Images

I forgot, but I also was able to capture a couple objects that I had forgotten about.  The first image is a deep M57, the Ring Nebula in Lyra.  I imaged this using 15 minute frames, and was able to capture the outer halo. 

This image was done in narrowband, Hα and OIII, with the Hα mapped to red and OIII mapped to blue and green.  The Hα was stretched slightly to help bring out the outer halo, but it was obvious in the raw unstretched frames.  I took this image on 9/18/2013.

The other object I would like to share was taken on 10/27/13.  This object, NGC206 is a star forming region and cluster located within the Andromeda Galaxy.  Taken with the CCD with no filtering, the area of interest is just left of center.  The galaxy core is off the screen towards the bottom right.  Some stars are resolved in the cluster.  Not bad for resolving stars 2.5 million light years away....

This was imaged with no filters, so it is black and white.  I didnt care as far as how pretty the picture was, I was more curious to see if I could image this object with any detail.