Archive for the Open cluster Category

The Whale Galaxy NGC 4631

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Galaxy, Open cluster, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star, Technorati, Uncategorized, weather on April 24, 2015 by Andrew

Here is another galaxy I imaged last week. This is the first time I have seen this object.
The Whale and pup galaxies are located in the constellation Canes Venatici and are 25 million light years distant. The smaller galaxy NGC 4627, is a small elliptical,while the Whale NGC 4631 is a edge on spiral galaxy. NGC 4631 reminds me a lot of the Cigar galaxy located in Ursa major.a.k.a as Messier 82.


Ghost of Jupiter

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Galaxy, Nebula, Open cluster, Photo, photography, Planetary nebula, Space, Star, Technorati, Uncategorized on April 21, 2015 by Andrew

Ghost of Jupiter , NGC 3242. Located in the constellation Hydra. It is really small in the eye piece. It is only 1,400 light years away!. I suspect that when it was discovered,it resembled the planet Jupiter,due to it’s central star. It also looks like a eye in the sky.

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy)

Posted in astronomy, Astronomy links, astrophotography, comets, Constellation, Luna, Nebula, Open cluster, Photo, photography, Space, Technorati, Uncategorized, weather on January 23, 2015 by Andrew

Hello everyone!. It seems that a lot of fellow enthusiast are in the Comet Lovejoy craze. I am no excluded from that statement!.

The Winter here in Vermont,USA has been kind of lack luster as far as serious snow is concerned. This does not dismiss our seemingly over the top, cold weather that we have had to endure.Oh,and just because we haven’t had much snow,doesn’t suggest that we have been free of cloudy skies. Our season has been met with endless days/weeks of clouds. The last stretch of clouds lasted most of December,with one night of clear skies,dominated by a full moon. January has also jumped the band wagon with clouds,with all but a few nights.

I ventured out twice in the last two weeks to get my own images of Comet Lovejoy,with below average results the first night. I was giving my new DSLR a workout…lol. My second try ( Tuesday Jan 20,2015) was much better.

Comet Lovejoy was quite high in the sky,and very bright in the eyepiece. Obviously,very little color could be seen,with only a light wisp of tail coming from the nucleus.The results of the raw images was astounding!!! WOOT!!!!

This comet will still be putting on a show for a while ,but is going to start fading soon. I am truly blessed to add another comet under my belt,Comet Lovejoy (the second comet I have imaged with the name Lovejoy in the 8 months) will make a return visit in about 8,000 years. Geesh,hope I live to see it again!!.

This image is a single shot taken with a Canon T3i. ISO-3200,1 minute exposure prime focus. The scope is a 10″ Meade LXD75 and Losmandy G11 mount.

Image credit Andrew a.k.a me!!


A Better Mars?!

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Open cluster, Photo, photography, Planet, Solar, Space, Uncategorized, weather on April 18, 2014 by Andrew

Now that Spring has sprung, which is up for debate. Our temps here in Vermont have been up and down this week. On Monday, we had sunny skies,and high temps near 80 degrees F. By Wednesday,those temps were seemingly a long ago memory,with high temps of 32 Degrees F. Might I also add that we had received 1″ of fresh snow,and a low Wednesday morning of 16 degrees. Note: Our temps have rebounded and is now a balmy 48 degrees. Sorry, that was just a little bit of venting!.
Ok,back to the post.

As everyone knows, Mars is putting on quite a show in the early evenings,and with clear skies is not disappointing. I have imaged every planet in our solar system over the years,and most have been easy imaging except for one. That’s right…… Mars!. It seems that the Roman God of war doesn’t like it photo taken!. I have made attempts many times,with the same results. The fuzzy blob blues!. Being in a climate that is transitioning from Winter to Spring, having clear,clean skies is a novelty. Last night was just that novelty,even for a short period of time.
I stepped out early last night,and noticed clearing skies. The stars twinkled due to a upper air disturbance, and radiational cooling from the days warmth. Remembering last weeks fiasco of trying to image Mars. I gave the planet more time to rise higher in the sky. Rule of thumb for astrophotography is to let the desired object rise as high as possible before imaging.The reason for this is, light coming from a object has less atmosphere to go through as apposed to the same object just rising in the East. This is why stars twinkle more at the horizon than they do when they are over head.
Last night,as I focused on Mars via my Pc monitor. the first thing that jumped out at me was seeing occasional detail from the red planet. Something I haven’t seen at this level!. I immediately, started imaging. Giving short image stacking a go as I tweaked the settings. The more I tweaked the better it looked. Until finally, I was stacking 300 AVI formatted images in Registax6. The results were not the greatest,but the best I have ever gotten before.
Below is the outcome of last nights session. I will continue trying until I get the desired results I am looking for.


The Orion Nebula

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Nebula, Open cluster, Photo, photography, Space, Star, weather with tags , on March 19, 2014 by Andrew

Now that Spring arrives tomorrow…. (rolls eyes) . I cleaned the snow away from my observatory,which was no easy task. Our latest snow storm dumped almost 2 feet of the white miserable stuff,adding to the already 2 feet that we already had on the ground.Not including the 5 foot drift piled up against the obs. I used a tractor with a bucket attachment,and it only took 45 minutes.
My other excuse for not getting eye piece time in was/is….THE COLD!!. Most every night the temp has been well below zero. A couple nights it had dipped to -30F. My cutoff is -5 below zero.
Our temps warmed to a balmy 37 Degrees yesterday. This gave me a much needed boost in ambition that lasted until 9:30 pm last night.
The sky was quite clear last night,although the transparency turned bad as a new weather system was approaching from the West.
I did get a few shots of Jupiter with the Neximage 5 ,and will post some pix when I get a chance. My main goal was to get some images of the Orion nebula. Last October,I drift aligned my scope in hopes of taking longer exposures. Last night was the first night I was able to really check my alignment. It didn’t disappoint. I was able to pull off a 4 minute,unguided image of my favorite nebula. A feat that I have never achieved before. My usual exposure times were in the 1.0 min-1.5 mins range before seeing star drift. WOOHOO!. I honestly believe I could have gone 5+ mins with minor drift. I had some very slight drift at 4 minutes,and was only noticeable when zooming in really deep. I took care of that in PS 6 .
AS I posted on FB,
This is the Great Orion Nebula, located in the Orion constellation. It is approximately 1,300 light years away. That is,the light that we see today, began it’s journey around 700 AD.
The image is a 240 second ,single shot at ISO 200.
Image credit: Andrew


The night sky of winter

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Open cluster, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Uncategorized on January 5, 2009 by Andrew

I think a lot of people will agree with me when I say “The night sky in winter is perhaps the best time of year for observing”!.Of course,like the other seasons it does have it’s issues such as;the bone chilling cold,winds that seem to go right through a person and lets not forget the persistent precipitation….even when the skies are clear!.Regardless,winter in the Northern hemisphere offers spectacular views.One of my all time favorites is seeing the Pleiades and the Hyades star clusters which are being followed by Orion “the hunter”.I haven’t had much time to bring the scopes out so,any observing I have done has been by eyes or with a pair of borrowed bino’s.


Rosette Nebula

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Nebula, Open cluster, Photo, photography, Space, Star on December 28, 2007 by Andrew

It seems that many of us that were lucky enough to receive some new astronomy toys are now dealing with….you guessed it…cloudy skies.I know I have!.I haven’t had a chance to try out the new H-alpha filter due to clouds,rain and snow since last weekend.I am patiently waiting for my chance to give the new filter it’s real first light.We did have one night that was clear enough to allow the moon to shine through but,the transparency and seeing were really bad,which caused me to not bother with a scope set up.I am a bit sceptical about the filters performance however and only say this because,I cheated and brought the bino’s out and put the filter up to the eye piece.The view was very dark red and the only real bright object I could see was the menacing street light 20 yards away.This is obviously not a fair judgment for the filter and will need to put the filter on the scope for a better evaluation.If all works out,I will be posting what I hope to be some awesome images from both my DSLR and DSI.

Below is another image that I shot last year at about this same time of year.Again,I am really bad at documenting my settings on the DSLR so,I don’t have any exposure times.I do know that the seeing and transparency were really good and the temps were unusually warm.The ISO was set at 200 to reduce unwanted noise and no filter was used.The image was processed with PS Elements and astronomy tools for PS Elements.

The Rosette nebula is a huge diffuse nebula located 5,500 LY’rs distant in the constellation Monoceros.Because the neb is so faint,a +magnitude value hasn’t been established according to SEDS.Which doesn’t mean their is no mag value.It just means that SEDS haven’t updated their imformation on this object since 1998 and I am too darn lazy to check other sites  😉 !.

Image credit:Andrew

Imfo credit: SEDS

The Rose!

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