First Light

I’ve always known that it’s a bad idea to go visiting astronomy shops, but sometimes you just can’t help yourself. Last Monday I went to visit the Widescreen Centre’s new place near Ely and came out with a William Optics GT-102… So here are some first images from last night, taken with an Atik 460ex OSC. There’s comet C/2017 O1 ASASSN which is lurking near Polaris, and getting quite faint now, by the looks of it. And then there’s the Double Cluster, M37 in Auriga, and the Crab Nebula… I still need to optimise the spacing of the camera from the field flattener, but I’m hoping for some nice images from this scope 


The Triangulum Galaxy

It was good to get outside last night!! Here’s a quick image of M33 through the Equinox 80. 6 x 5min of luminance, and 5 x 3min each of R, G and B, all binned 2×2. No flats, darks or biases used, although I could have stretched it further if I’d done some flats… I used the new ArcsinhStretch function in PixInsight during processing – it certainly keeps the colour in the stars!

Total solar eclipse

I travelled to the US to see last week’s total eclipse from just north of Madras, Oregon. From our position, we had 1m 30s of totality – nowhere near enough! below is a sequence of frames taken during the eclipse. What I did find interesting – although they don’t show up on the overexposed totality images – was that some solar prominences were clearly visible through the camera viewfinder. The totality images do however show the extent of the solar corona, and the presence of a number of sunspots helps to make the iamges from the partial phase more interesting.

The Tulip Nebula

This is an image of Sh2-101, the Tulip Nebula, in Cygnus. It’s an HaRGB image; 10 x 10min Ha, 6 x 3min for R, G and B, all binned 2 x 2. I think I’ll revisit this later in the summer when it’s a bit higher in the sky and add some more photons to it. Taken with the Atik One and Equinox 80.

The Rosette Nebula

I can’t let winter go past without having a go at the Rosette Nebula, so before the clouds rolled in last night, I was able to grab a few frames. 12 x 10min Ha and 8 x 3min R, G and B, all binned 2 x 2. It’s just a shade too big for a 500mm scope with this camera…

Five for the Price of One!

Continuing the exploration of HII regions in the Sharpless catalog, here are Sh2-254, 255, 256, 257 and 258 are lurking together in Orion’s arm, close to the border with Gemini, as shown on the accompanying map. This was 15 x 10min Ha, and 9 x 3min R, G and B, all binned 2×2.

Lovely HII regions!

Here are a couple of images from recent nights, taken with the Atik One on an Equinox 80. Both are HaRGB images.

The first is the well-known Jellyfish Nebula, IC443 in Gemini. 30 x 5min Ha frames, and 15 x 3min each for R, G and B. The second is the lesser-known Lower’s Nebula, Sh2-261, in Orion: 20 x 5min Ha frames, and 9 x 3min each of R, G and B, all binned 2×2. I hadn’t come across this one before, and was pleasantly surprised how big and bright it was!


Wide-field Wonders

Here are some wide-field vistas captured using an Atik 460ex OSC camera with a 100mm camera lens attached.

The first is of a region in Auriga, around M36 and M38. The HII regions haven’t come out quite as well as I’d hoped: The Flaming Star nebula is on the right hand edge of the picture with IC410 to its left. M38 is the cluster above centre, while the one to the left of centre is M36. 30 x 5min exposures.

Next up is a colourful region in Gemini. The two bright stars are μ (on the left) and η Geminorum, while open cluster M35 is visible above. The Monkey Head Nebula (NGC2175) is visible lower right, while the fainter HII region IC443 aka the Jellyfish Nebula can be seen between the two stars. 15 x 5min.

And finally, a view of eatern Leo. The bright star upper right is θ Leonis, and the Leo Triplet of M65, M66 and NGC3628 can be seen below. There are three other small galaxies in there as well (NGC3593, NGC3596 and NGC3655), if you know where to look 🙂 15 x 5min.