NGC 281 – The Pacman nebula

GC 281 an emission nebula in Cassiopeia

The Pacman nebula, as NGC 281 is also called becaue of it’s shape, is special for me, as I stumbled upon it in an image I took of coment Hale Bopp in 1997. Since that time I wanted to make close-up image of this small emission nebula.

NGC 281 – Emission nebula in Cassiopeia, 56x180s, Astro-Professional 80mm f/7 ED refractor, QHY163c cooled CMOS camera. Cropped.

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NGC891

NGC 891 is a beautiful spiral galaxy which is seen perpendicular to it’s rotational axis, so we see it edge on.

It is located in Andromeda, so there are many foreground stars.

I have seen it in telescopes as small as 15cm aperture, in my 250mm the dust lane becomes visible, but in a larger scope, like the 40cm I recently observed with, it is a really beautiful sight. But of course not as detailed as in this image.

NGC 891, Galaxy in Andromeda, distance: ~30 million light-years- 45*180s (2h 15min), QHY163c, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8 refractor.

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Spring is here: Galaxies and Clusters

Springtime is galaxy time! After a frustrating friday night with incorrect mount setup, iAstroHub not working properly, which resulted in badly focussed and guided images, saturday evening proved much more successful:

Leo Triplet, M65, M65 and NGC3628, 25x120s, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8, Nikon D750, BackyardNikon, PHD2, Regim, Photoshop, Lightroom

The Leo triplet is a trio of galaxies which are physically near each other, a faint tidal tail can be seen to the upper left of M66, the lower right galaxy.

The distance to this galaxy group is about 35 million lightyears.

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Andromeda Galaxy – M31

In Autumn the Andromeda galaxy is conveniently placed in the darkes part of the sky for my home, the eastern sky.

Due to the vibration prone location of my telescope on the top of our house, I had to throw away 2/3rds of the individual exposures due to trailed stars, so I ended up with only 22,5 minutes of data. Another possibility is, that the guiding didn’t work properly, calibration was suspiciously short.

Anyways, here is the Andromeda galaxy at 1016mm focal length, Nikon D750, 45x30s, ISO 1600, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8, Meade LXD 650 mount.

45x30s, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8, Nikon D750, ISO 1600, preprocessed and stacked in Regim, developed in Photoshop and Lightroom.

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Supernova 2017eaw

Supernova 2017eaw, discovered by Patrick Wiggins is located in the so-called fireworks galaxy. The supernova is the tenth supernova in this specific galaxy to be recorded during the last 100 years.

This is the third supernova discovered by Patrick Wiggins, overall he searched 1051 nights and took about 500000 images of galaxies for his finds.

7x60s at f/4 using ISO 1600. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm 1:4E PF ED, Nikon D750, ISO 1600, SkyWatcher StarAdventurer, crop

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M13, M5, M57

In spite of bad seeing and strong gusts of wind I did set up the big refractor to do some astrophotography. I spent quite some time to get things running – in the end the spring galaxies were already too far west in the glare of the train station, so I switched my targets to two globulars and a planetary nebula. Here is a list of what went wrong:

  • I wasn’t aware that the D750 uses a non-standard USB port on the camera, I had to search for half an hour to find the original cable
  • the laptop I usually use has been upgraded to Windows 10, installing the drivers for the guiding camera did not work
  • on the backup laptop guiding with PHD worked, but Backyard Nikon crashed and/or got no connection to the camera, I tried many combinations of USB extension cables, USB ports, removing the SD card, formatting the SD card, upgrading to BackyardNikon 1.0.5, in the end I focused using live view of the camera and used the built-in interval timer of the camera to shoot 30 second exposures…
  • the seeing was really terrible, making focusing difficult, and bloating the stars during the exposure
  • for reasons unkown (user error?) the quality setting on the camera was changed to FINE, so I only took JPEG images instead of NEF( Raw)

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