Galaxies

Abell 2218 Gravitational Arc L comparison

Abell 2218 Reveals More Cosmic Secrets

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Galaxy Clusters are some of the most enigmatic and beautiful phenomenon observable. They are also often home to another fascinating occurence known as gravitational lensing. One which I have imaged many times over is Abell 2218. Located in Draco (a great constellation for deep sky galaxy hunting), this cluster is well known for an image from hubble showing massive arcs of distorted galaxies. The light from these galaxies passes near the cluster and gravity bends and warps the light creating More >

M102, Messier 102, NGC 5866

UFO’s and Flying Saucers! Well, Sorta…

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M102, Messier 102, NGC 5866

A few nights back (Friday the 13th to be exact!), I watched as a bright light “flew” across the sky. Flying swiftly from West to East, by the time I was able to get my iphone video camera out it was nearly covered by the trees. Binoculars handy, I pulled them out to take a peek but didn’t see any definitive shape. No flashing “wing lighting” of an airplane, not even contrails that you’d normally expect to see this time of year. However, it was on a path that I More >

NGC 5033

NGC 5033

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Yes, it’s time for galaxy season again! Last nights learning experience yielded a rather beautiful field — filled with a whole suite of galaxies! Dominating the center of this field is NGC 5033, located in Canes Venatici, a small constellation right under Ursa Major. If you look carefully at the full frame, you’ll notice an asteroid happily trucking along to the left of NGC 5033. Way off to the right is a an odd duckling, NGC 5002. Super tiny PCG 2085892 lay slight above and to the right More >

IC 342

Face on Spirals: IC 342

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Hidden away by dust from our own galaxy lay a huge galaxy known only as the boring “IC 342″. Nearly 20 arc minutes square, this spiral fills a wide field of view under modest powers. Visually, it’s not much more than a faint, fuzzy star with hints of nebulosity scattered around. Imaging this target is equally dificult given it’s diffuse nature and the dust hiding it away.

I’ve imaged it on several occasions and never been very happy with the result, until now. However, this pushed all my More >

M33

M33 is Back!

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Well it’s been a pretty good August for imaging. While most of the world seems focused on M101 supernovae or Comet Garradd, I went after a slightly different target: M33. I’ve imaged M33 on several occasions with different equipment so I thought I would continue to add to the collection — it’s been almost a year since the last images were taken.

While M33 is very diffuse, it’s also very large. So large that to grab all of it’s spiral nuggets would require a low magnification or a giant More >

Supernova SN2011dh, M51

Supernova SN2011dh Caught in Messier 51

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Sometime in late May, early June a star decided that’s its time was up. The largest explosions in nature, supernova occur when massive stars use up all their nuclear fuel. They collapse on themselves and the increase in pressure once again triggers fusion. This results in a massive explosion, first theorized by squirly Caltech Physicist, Fritz Zwicky. To paraphrase Bill Bryson, supernova are very important for a lot of reasons, the least of which is that without them, we wouldn’t be

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Messier 101, The Pinwheel Galaxy

Messier 101: Pretty Pinwheels

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Messier 101, The Pinwheel Galaxy

Located nearly 25 million light years away, Messier 101 is favorite amateur imaging target. It’s big, bright, and beautiful! Most of today was spent fiddling around with trying to bring out the finer details on the fringes here – and learning more CS5 tricks – thanks Tony Hallas ) Be sure to click on the image for the full scale detail…

In May of last year, I imaged M101 through the four-inch Televue NP 101is with super shallow 60 second frames. Given the More >

The Leo Triplets

The Leo Triplets

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M65, M66, and NGC 3628 form a beautiful and easy to pluck target from the constellation Leo. Often called the Leo Triplets, Arp classified these as “peculiar galaxies” and noted them as Arp 16. There is some indication these galaxies may have interacted at some point in the past. At about 35 million light years distant, these galaxies are relatively nearby and therefore bright, popular amateur targets. All around magnitude 10, and several arc minutes in apparent length, they are very easy More >

Mizar A and B, Alcor

CGE Pro Returned – AT10RCF Back in Service!

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Back in November I picked up an AstroTech AT10RCF – and a hefty mount to hold it aloft, the Celestron CGE Pro. After a brief test and review, the mount promptly killed itself. Perhaps it was a combination of excessively low temperatures — in the teens — or perhaps it was an extension of the ‘new gear astronomy curse.’ Either way, I sent it back to Celestron for warranty repair work. Celestron was very friendly during this whole process, including several calls to update me on status. While More >

M63, The Sunflower Galaxy

Galaxy Season in Full Effect

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M63, The Sunflower Galaxy

Right about this time of year, a spectacular menagerie of galaxies crawls from the Eastern sky. Pretty much every kind of galaxy you could imagine – spirals, barred, ellipticals, starburst, and irregular curiosities. From Leo to Virgo and Coma Berenices, all the way over the Ursa Major, millions of galaxies pass overhead. Some are far away and clumped together, while others are a bit closer, larger, and of course magnificient to image. I went after a few of the More >

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