Posts tagged 'Messier Objects'

Observing Reports various – April/May 2013 (A bunch of DSOs)

Posted by on May 18th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

A few images of things that I've been looking at over the last few weeks:

 

13th-14th May 2013:
M16 - The Eagle Nebula (aka NGC 6611 and the Star Queen Nebula), a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens.

 

29th-30th April 2013:
The Crescent Nebula (aka NGC 6888, Caldwell 27, Sharpless 105), an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus.

 

4th-5th May 2013:
M11 - The Wild Duck Cluster (aka NGC 6705), an open cluster in the constellation Scutum.

 

29th-30th April 2013:
M107 (aka NGC 6171), a very loose globular cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus.

 

4th-5th May 2013:
M4 - The Cat's Eye Cluster (aka NGC 6121), a globular cluster in the constellation Scorpius.

 

4th-5th May 2013:
M108 - The Surfboard Galaxy (aka NGC 3556), an edge-on barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major.

 

Observing Report 2nd-3rd March 2013 (A mixed bag of Messiers)

Posted by on March 4th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

It wasn't forecast to be the clearest of nights but I'd got the OK to go out and I wasn't going to waste the chance. The skies were fairly clear for the first hour but after that I was battling the orange haze of a low thin mist illuminated by waste light from streetlights. Despite that, I managed to see a fair few things and snap some more Messiers:

 

M40 (centre-left), a pair of stars in the constellation Ursa Major.
Subs: 12 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

 

M48 (aka NGC 2548), an open cluster in the constellation Hydra.
Subs: 16 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

 

M53 (aka NGC 5024), a globular cluster in the constellation Coma Berenices.
Subs: 22 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

Observing Report 14th-15th February 2013 (More galaxies)

Posted by on February 17th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Virgo's chock-full of galaxies, there are plenty to go around. Here's a small selection, help yourself!

 

M84 (aka NGC4374) and M86 (aka NGC4406) - both are lenticular galaxies - and a few other fuzzy things in the constellation Virgo.
Mouseover the pic for labels.
Subs: 17 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

Observing Report 6th-7th February 2013 (Incoming at 140km/s)

Posted by on February 11th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Cribbed from Wikipedia:

"Messier 98 (also known as M98 or NGC 4192) is an intermediate spiral galaxy about 60 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain on 15 March 1781 along with M99 and M100 and was cataloged as a Messier object on 13 April 1781. Messier 98 has a blue shift and is approaching us at about 140 km per second."

Hmmm... "cataloged"... we Brits use the word "catalogue", so use it as a verb and the past tense is "catalogued". Surely the past tense of the verb "to catalog" should be "catalogged", as in "logged" and "blogged"?

Anyway, less of the Inner Stickler stuff. With the temperature down at -8C it was too damned cold to stand outside looking through the scope so the session was just a photo-shoot controlled from the comfort of the warm-room, replete with Jaffa Cakes and hot tea. M98 is one of the faintest objects in Messier's catalogue... I really wanted to be taking 60-second subs of it but a high background haze spoiled that idea - the best I could get away with was 300 seconds a shot, and I didn't get enough subs for a decent image anyway as a low mist rolled in and spoiled things. I'll try to get more subs when the weather improves, in the meantime here's the best I can do with what I've got so far. It's a tad noisy:

 

M98 (aka NGC4192), an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices.
Subs: 20 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

Observing Report 10th-11th December 2012 (Part 2 – Away in a manger…)

Posted by on December 12th 2012 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Here's another one - M44 - Sir Patrick Moore's favourite object on the Moore Winter Marathon list.

The refractor has introduced some odd colours to the mix, I've left them in and enhanced them because they look a bit Christmassy :-)

 

M44 (aka NGC 2632, Praesepe, The Beehive Cluster, Cr 189), an open cluster in the constellation Cancer.
Subs: 12 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO400.
Spikes added using Noel's Actions.
1000D on the C80ED-R refractor, guided with PHD.

 

Observing Report 2nd-3rd and 5th-6th November 2012 (Back in business)

Posted by on November 14th 2012 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Having brought the observatory back to full operational status after replacing the roof that was trashed by the hailstorm, I thought I'd better get out there and actually use it. I managed a couple of sessions of observing during a run of four clear nights, and used them for some experimentation and equipment tests. I'd fitted a better focuser to the 6" R-C, the new one's a monorail or linear-bearing focuser, it has much better stability than the original Crayford which means less flexing of the optical train under the weight of the coolbox-clad camera. This in turn means better auto-guiding and hence a much-reduced tendency for stars to appear elongated.

Anyway, less of the techy stuff. Visual targets were the Moon and Jupiter, both were putting on a fine display in the clear skies. Imaging-wise I managed to bag a couple more Messier Objects - M47 and M76. Both presented problems - M47 was so low that for some of the time I was imaging through the topmost branches of a tree that belongs to a neighbour three gardens away; and M67 is such a dim and small thing that I didn't take enough pics to capture all of the detail, so I'll have to gather some additional subs sometime soon. Pics and details as follows:

 

M47 (aka NGC2422), an open cluster in the constellation Puppis.
Subs: 18 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

 

M76 (aka NGC650/651, The Little Dumbbell Nebula), a planetary nebula in the constellation Perseus.
Subs: 18 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

 

As above, cropped and enhanced.

Observing Report 5th-6th December 2011 (Last year’s last cluster )

Posted by on January 9th 2012 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

A belated report from the last observing session of 2011...

The seeing was OK but there was a thin haze of high cloud - hardly ideal conditions for this sort of stuff. Visual observations of Jupiter, Mars, Andromeda Galaxy and several star-clusters. Tried again to image M97 (Owl Nebula), got the settings completely wrong again, dumped the imaging data again. Same story for M95, M96 and C23.

The night wasn't totally wasted though - M50 was a fine sight:

 

M50 (aka NGC2323), an open cluster in the constellation Monoceros.
Subs: 11 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO400.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

Observing Report 1st-2nd December 2011 (Two more clusters)

Posted by on December 3rd 2011 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

Another night looking at pretty much the same as before. The seeing was better but still not brilliant. Visual observations of Jupiter, Mars, Andromeda Galaxy and several star-clusters. Tried to image M97 (Owl Nebula) but got the settings completely wrong and so ended up dumping the imaging data. Managed to do better with two other Messier objects as follows:

 

M38 (aka NGC1912), an open cluster in the constellation Auriga.
Subs: 18 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO400.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

 

M103 (aka NGC 581), an open cluster in the constellation Cassiopeia.
Subs: 19 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO800.
1000D with 2x PowerMate on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

Observing Report 22nd-23rd November 2011 (A couple of clusters)

Posted by on December 1st 2011 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

This was the first proper night using the warm-room. The excuse was that I was testing the data-cabling and control-wiring systems. It was a nice clear night that started cold and reached minus 3 before dawn. The seeing was awful! Visual observations of Jupiter, Mars, Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy and several star-clusters. Pics of Messier objects as follows:

 

M36 (aka NGC1960), an open cluster in the constellation Auriga.
Subs: 16 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO400.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

 

M67 (aka NGC 2682, King Cobra), an open cluster in the constellation Cancer.
Subs: 13 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO400.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

Observing Report 24th-25th July 2011 (Messiers, Jupiter and Moon but no Sun)

Posted by on July 28th 2011 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

Sunday evening was still and clear with good seeing so I made my excuses and headed to the shed for another Messier Object imaging session. For some reason the northern skies were darker than I'd expected so I had a look around there and decided to try to image M81 and M82 in one hit. After a bit of jiggery-pokery I got the 1000D rotated to get a decent framing and then I set to with the hardware and software. After a couple of hours I'd got some decent subframes so I moved to a different target - M74. This thing isn't called The Phantom for no good reason... it's hard to image because it's so dim. I upped the exposure from the standard 5 minutes to a more realistic 15 but still didn't get useful results so I scrubbed the attempt.

By then the Moon was rising and the sky was lightening. Jupiter had already risen and was an obvious target so I opted to go for a wide shot with the webcam and CCD camera in order to pick up some Galilean moons.

That finished, I turned the scope towards the Moon which was by then well above the horizon with the Sun not far behind. Just enough time to grab some CCD data to make another big mosaic.

I had intended to go the last mile and get some early-morning sunspot images but before the Sun reached a suitable position I was too knackered so I called it a morning, packed up and got me a few ZZZZs before the usual waking-up time.

Clickable results as follows:

 

M81 (aka Bode's Galaxy, NGC 3031, lower-right) and M82 (aka The Cigar Galaxy, NGC 3034, upper-left),
a pair of galaxies in the constellation Ursa Major.
Subs: 24 light @ 300s, darks and bias frames, ISO400.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

 

L to R: Jupiter, Europa, Io, Ganymede.
Luminance: 100/1000 frames stacked with K3CCDTools3,
DMK mono CCD camera on the 6" R-C.
Colour: 100/1000 frames stacked with K3CCDTools3, SPC900NC webcam on the 6" R-C.

 

 The Moon.
14-pane mosaic created with iMerge.
Each pane 500/2000 frames stacked with K3CCDTools3.
DMK mono CCD camera on the 6" R-C, unguided.

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