M42 & Lovejoy

At last the sky was reasonably clear to try out my new toy. In fact the Astro-Physics 127mm f/8 refractor is not exactly new, as it was manufactured in 1989, so I was even more curious as how it would perform.

The Super Polaris mount is definitely overwhelmed with the weight of the big, long refractor, but on a windstill evening it works tolerably well. As this was basically a test, and I didn’t want to make matters even more complicated, I didn’t use any autoguiding, and therefore limited the individual exposure times to 30s. I had to throw away about half of the epxosures due to tracking errors, but 14 exposures looked good enough to use. Transparency was pretty bad, a slight haze due to the freezing cold air and smoke from wood-powered heating combined with the light pollution of the rhine valley made the sky very bright. In the color version, the sky looks quite murky, I like the black and white rendition better:

 

14x30s Nikon D7000 ISO 1600, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8

M42, 14x30s Nikon D7000 ISO 1600, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8

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California Nebula

 

The California Nebula (NGC_1499) is a HII emission region in the constellation Perseus, it was discoverd by E.E. Barnard in 1884 on long exposure plates.

Because of the red color and it’s faintness it is usually only visible in photographs.

California Nebula

I used my unmodified Nikon D7000 camera in combination with the Nikon AF-Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 for this photograph. 11 individual exposures of 120 seconds at f/2.8 were combined using Regim by Andreas Rörig. Additional adjustments were made in Adobe Lightroom.

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Supernova in M82!

Last week a group of students from London discoverd a Supernova in the nearby galaxy M82 (in this case, nearby means 12 million lightyears…)

Professional search programs missed the supernova as the automatic detection programs ruled it out because it was too bright. M82 is part of the bright M81 & M82 galaxy pair.

Today I had the chance to take a picture of it:

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winter galaxies

Winter is not normally a good time for galaxies because the Milky Way is porminent in the sky, but while waiting for comet Lovejoy to rise, I used the time to spend a little exposure time on some bright galaxies.

The Leo Triplet

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Yet another M42 image…

After a very long summer-break in Astrophotography, I found myself with time on hand on a clear evening. After I did a series of 4 300s images for the Plejades (see below) I set the scope up to capture a few light frames on M42, the Great Orion nebula. But while I was sitting in the living room trying to get warm again, watching the Soccer Champions League, the D200’s battery ran empty, and I ended up with only one long exposure. I used the single 300s exposure with a much shorter exposure to get some detail in the very bright center of the nebula to get this picture.

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NGC 4565

Move your mouse over the image to see annotations for some galaxies.

A larger version of this image which has been annotated with AVM headers can be opened in Microsoft WWT:ngc4565_150mm.jpg

Telescope:
150mm f/5 Newtonian, Baader MPCC Coma Corrector
Camera
Nikon D200
Exposure:
4x300s, ISO 800
Date:
18th, April 2009
Processing:
Preprocessing (Dark, Flat & Bias correction), Alignment & stacking in IRIS, histogram adjustment curves, color correction in Photoshop.