M104 – The sombrero Galaxy

M104 – Astro-Physics 127.mm f/8, 0,78x reducer, Nikon D750a, 40x180s, ISO100, PixInsight, BlurXterminator, NoiseXterminator, ArcSinh Stretch, 2x drizzle

Since about 30 years ago, when an astronomy club colleague showed me M104 the sombrero galaxy in a 20×60 binocular it was one of my favourite deep sky objects.
A night after the great Aurora Display of 2024 I joined a friend who was imaging the Leo triplet, and had a go at M104 using the Starfire 127mm on the G-11 mount. We had a fun evening, saw some faint meteors, watched the milky way slowly rising.

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Giant Sunspot AR3664

The giant sunspot had been producing strong x-ray flares and produced a number of coronal mass ejections, so I had decided to bring the refractor out and take a whole disc picture of the sun using the Nikon D750 and a 2x times converter.

Sunspot AR3664 Astrophysics 127mm f/8, 2x converter, Nikon D750a

The Great Aurora Display of 2024

After experiencing the 2001 and 2003 (more) aurora displays, I was always on alert when larger CMEs (Coronal masse ejections) were heading towards earth, but in the last 21 years I was not able to see another Aurora display at home. So I got pretty excited when huge sunspot AR 3664 sent some CMEs toward earth. When checking the aurora forecast in the afternoon, mid-latitude Auroras were deemed extremely likely, so I packed up some cameras and headed to a place with a good view towards the north.

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M101 – the Pinwheel Galaxy

Messier 101, the Pinwheel galaxy, 50x180s, Nikon D750a, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8, 0,75x reducer, Losmandy G-11, PixInsight, NoiseXterminator, BlurXterminator, ArcSinH stretch

M101 is a slightly disturbed spiral galaxy we see face on, it is located in the constellation Ursa Major, the big bear. This is the first image I have taken since I updated the G-11 mount with the rectascension extension, which also allows separating the RA and DEC units for portability. I also switched out the original tripod for a Meade Field tripod, which is lighter and packs smaller.

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Moon 2023-06-28

The Moon, 28.6.2023, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8, with Nikon D750a and TC20EIII 2x teleconverter, Stack of 36 exposures at 1/100s using ISO400
The Moon, 28.6.2023, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8, with Nikon D750a and TC20EIII 2x teleconverter, Stack of 36 exposures at 1/100s using ISO400, strongly saturated to bring out the differences in lunar geology.
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Solar Eclipse and Airplane transit

The partial solar eclipse on October 25th happened conveniently during lunch break, and the skies were perfectly clear. I opted for the big refractor (Astro-Physics 127mm f/8) combined with a 2x Nikon teleconverter in the hope to capture some detail in the form of sunspots on the solar disc.

I setup the camera to record a set of timelapse images, taking a picture every 20s. After I while I also setup the 60mm refractor to be able to observe the eclipse visually.

Shortly after maximum eclipse I noticed an airplane with contrail heading to the area of the sky where the sun was located. From past experience I thought that it will miss the sun (the apparent diameter of the sund and moon in the sky is only about half a thumb’s width at arm-length), but switched the camera to video and started recording.

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Rosette Nebula

I chose the Rosette nebula again as my target of choice when I wanted to test if I can improve on the image quality when using the 0,7x reducer.

The Rosette nebula is a large and relatively bright emission nebula in the constellation Monoceros. Various parts of the nebula have separate NGC numbers and the embedded star cluster itself is NGC2244

This wider view was taken with the Takahashi FS-60CB and shows the surrounding area of the sky.

Later I discovered that the reducer only provides a 10% reduction in focal length, while introducing quite a bit of vignetting.

Rosette Nebula, Nikon D750a, Optolong l-enhance Filter, Astro-Physics 127mm f/8 with 0.7x Reducer, 61x120s, ISO400, Blur Exterminator, Noise Exterminator
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Milky Way above Piz Buin

I had to wait quite a bit for the clouds to reveal this view of Vorarlberg’s highest peak, the Piz Buin (3312m). The image was taken at an elevation of 2650m in the Silvretta mountain range in Vorarlberg, Austria.

Nikon Z6, 20mm f/1.8, 15s at f/2.2, ISO3200