Lightweight Astrophotography

M78 to the Horsehead Nebula, 86x30s, Nikon D750, Takahashi FS-60CB, Vixen Polarie.

On December 26th we were invited to christmas dinner at my sisters place. I brought the Vixen Polarie, the Takahashi FS-60CB and the Nikon D750 to do some astrophotgraphy during the evening.

The image above records some faint nebulosity across central Orion. From the horsehead nebula B33 silhouetted against IC434 to the flame nebula NGC 2024. In the upper left, the M78 nebula with its surrounding NGC objects is also visible. In the corner a hint of Barnards loops is discernible

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B33 – horsehead nebula

B33, Horsehead Nebula and NGC2024 Flame nebule. 102x30s (51 min.) 80mm f/7 ED refractor, Baader 1,25″ h-alpha filter, Nikon D7000a.

Barnard 33 is the horse-head shaped dark cloud silhouetted agains the glow of excited hydrogen which goes by the name of IC434. To the left is the Flame Nebula NGC2024, which is an odd nebula, because it is orange, and apparently a mixture between reflection and emission nebula.

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California Nebula NGC1499 in H-alpha

Today I used a break in the clouds to test how the astro-modified Nikon D7000 works with a h-alpha Filter. As the weather was very unstable, I didn’t set up the laptop for guiding, so some images were unusable due to trailing and passing clouds and full cloud cover at the end of the exposure resulted in oly 83x30s unguided exposures. Which way too short, but I am happy with the result under these circumstances.

NGC1499, Baader Planetarium, 1,25″ h-alpha Filter, 83x30s (41,5m) exposure, Astro-Professional 80mm f/7 refractor.

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Full spectrum modification of a Nikon D7000 – Part II

On November 5th I had the opportunity to do another test, this time using the 300mm lens, I also used the California Nebula as the target.

NGC1499, the California Nebula, 192x30s (1h 21min), Nikon D7000a, AF-S NIKKOR 300 mm 1:4E PF ED VR, calibrated in Regim, processed in Fitswork, Photoshop and Lightroom. Mount: Vixen Polarie.

The California nebula is hydrogen gas which is irradiated by the intense UV radiaton from Xi Persei, the bright star near the center of the image.  It is about 1250 light years distant and is one of the intrinsically brightest and hottest stars visible to the unaided eye. It weighs in at about 40 solar masses. The surface temperature is a whopping 35000 Kelvin.

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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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