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Supernova in Messier 1011511 viewsA supernova has appeared in the galaxy designed Messier 101. A supernova is essentially a star at the end of its lifetime that has exploded. This particular type of supernova is a type Ia, which is assumed to be due to the destruction of a white dwarf in a binary star system. The supernova can be seen in the image as the brightest "star" within the galaxy; located to the left of the center of the galaxy.
The Moon1526 viewsThe Moon, our nearest neighbor, provides a wealth of detail even in small telescopes. Indeed, as Garrett Serviss wrote regarding the distance to the moon in his book "Other Worlds" in 1901: "In consequence, of course, of its nearness, the moon is the only member of the planetary (solar) system whose principal features are visible to the naked eye." Image taken with a Astro-Physics 130 mm f/8 refractor and a Canon 20Da DSLR (11 X 1/250 second exposures at ISO 200; aligned and combined in Images Plus).
The Comet and the Cluster1135 viewsComet Garrardd (C/2009 P1) is making a pass through the inner solar system. Early Febuary 3rd it came near Messier 92, a globular cluster in the constellation Hercules. Diatomic carbon (C2) is common in comets giving them a green glow. While its too faint for the naked eye, its an easy telescope target. It will make it closest approach to Earth on 3/5 at 1.27 AU. Captured with a Borg 71FL astrograph and Canon T2i (9 min, ISO 1600) from Alamogordo, NM.
Partial Lunar Eclipse 6/4/20121493 viewsOrbital dynamics of the Earth-Moon system are on display with the latest two pictures on our gallery page. On May 20th the Moon passed between the Sun and the Earth at its furthest point and created an annular solar eclipse. Steve caught a beautiful image from Albuquerque. Two weeks later on the morning of June 4th, the Moon passed partially through the shadow of the Earth creating a partial lunar eclipse. Venus will transit the Sun on the afternoon of June 5th.
Antares, M4 and the Rho Oph cloud1462 viewsAntares is the bright star at the lower left of the image. It is over 700 times the diameter of our Sun. Globular cluster Messier 4 is seen on the lower right. The Rho Ophiuchus cloud complex is the closest star forming region to our solar system (~430 lght years away). The cloud complex is much larger than can fit in this image. Blue reflection nebula IC 4605 seen about mid-left, and IC4603 seen middle-top are created by interstellar dust. Borg 71FL astrograph with a modified Canon XS DSLR 36min exp.
The King of the Planets1205 viewsJupiter is visible in the early morning almost directly overhead in late September/early October. Larger than all the other planets combined, its only 1/1000th the mass of the Sun. The bands visible in the atmosphere are due to upwelling compounds whose exact nature is not quite known. Ultraviolet light from the Sun caused the compounds brown, orange and other colors. Imaged taken using a 5" SCT at f25 (~3750mm) using an Imaging Source 21AU618 color camera (1/45 sec exp, 3316 fr cap/2875 stacked /90% qual)
Who Needed ISON?1081 viewsWhile Comet ISON evaporated while going around the Sun, Comet Lovejoy (C2013 R1) is putting on a show in our morning sky. It is visible low in the NE before sunrise. This is a 4 min exposure through a 100ED refractor at f7.2 with a modified Canon 1000D at ISO 800. The green color is most likely the result of outgassing of primarily diatomic carbon from solar heating. C2013 R1 was discovered on 9/7/2013 and will make its closest approach to the Sun on 12/22.
IC 1848 and associated Nebulae in the Perseus Arm of our Milky Way740 viewsIn the center of the image is the open cluster IC 1848, which is in the constellation Cassiopeia. The open cluster is surrounded by the emission nebula SH2-199, which is a massive star forming region. The small emission nebula IC 1871 is seen partially at the top center. The entire nebulous region is often called the Soul Nebula. Image was a total combined exposure of 8 hr 45 min taken over 6 nights (35 x 900 sec lights at -20 degrees, dithered; 35 darks, 128 bias, 128 flats); Takahashi Epsilon 180 f/2.8 astrograph; Paramount ME; SBIG STF 8300c; ST-i guide camera using Astro-Physics/Baader guide system; Maxim DL 6; PixInsight 1.8.3; Adobe Photoshop CC.
Open Clusters M 46, M47, and NGC 2423 in Puppis705 viewsThe open clusters Messier 46, Messier 47, and NGC 2423 are found in the constellation Puppis embedded in a rich field of Milky Way stars. The small planetary nebula NGC 2438 that appears to be in M 46 is actually not associated with the cluster. M 46 was discovered by Messier in 1771. Smyth describes it as a “A noble, but rather loose assemblage of stars” (Smyth and Chambers, A Cycle of Celestial Objects, 2nd Edition, 1881, Oxford) whereas Webb describes it as a “Beautiful circular cloud of small stars” (Webb, Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes, 4th Ed, 1881, Longmans, Green, and Co ). William Herschel observed the small planetary nebula NGC 2438 in 1786. M 47 was also discovered by Messier in 1771 but not intermediately attributed to Messier due to a mathematical mistake in his coordinates. The cluster was described by Smyth as “a very splendid field of of large and small stars” (under the entry 38 H VIII) and Webb as a “Grand broad group, visible to the naked eye”. This wide field picture was taken with a Takahashi FSQ106ED with focal reducer (f/3.6), Canon 60Da DSLR camera (2.32 arcsec/pixel), and an Astro-Physics 1200 mount on 15 March 2015 in Mayhill, NM.. Total exposure of 1 hour (4 x 15 min lights, dithered; 12 darks; 128 bias; 64 flats); Baader/Astro-Physics guider system; Image acquisition with MaxIm DL; Calibration, alignment, integration, and image processing with PixInsight
The Soul Nebula 728 viewsThe emission nebula Sharpless 2-199 and the open cluster IC 1848 in the constellation Cassiopeia are commonly referred to as the soul nebula. The emission nebula is a massive star-forming region. The image was a total combined exposure of 8 hr 45 min taken over 6 nights (Aug and Oct 2014) in Mayhill, NM (35 x 900 sec lights at -20 degrees, dithered; 35 darks, 128 bias, 128 flats); Takahashi Epsilon 180 f/2.8 astrograph; Paramount ME; SBIG STF 8300c; guided with a ST-i camera and an Astro-Physics/Baader guider system; acquisition with MaxIm DL 6; Images calibrated, aligned, integrated, and processed in PixInsight 1.8.4 using a Synthetic Luminance and Multiscale Processing.
M76 - The Little Dumbbell909 viewsMessier 76 was discovered in 1780 by Pierre Méchain and cataloged by Charles Messier that same year. It wasn't until 1918 that M76's true nature as a planetary nebula was discovered by Herber Curtis. Located some 2,500 light years away in the constellation Perseus, M76 it is one of the faintest objects in the Messier catalog at magnitude 10.1. This image was taken from Alamogordo NM using an Astro-tech 130EDT f7 refractor and Atik 314L+ monochrome camera (130 min) using Ha, Hb and OIII signals.
The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules1006 viewsMessier 13, or the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, was discovered by Edmond Halley in 1714. The cluster is estimated to contain from 300,000 to a half-million stars and is about 26,000 lights years distant from our solar system. The image was taken with a 12.5” RCOS f/9 telescope operating at f/5.94 (Astro-Physics CCDT67 telecompressor) and a SBIG STF8300c camera on a Paramount ME in Mayhill, NM on 28 May 2016 (6 x 20 min lights @ -20 degrees C; 40 darks; 128 bias; 128 flats). Processed with PixInsight
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