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Friday, May 31, 2013

IC 1318 Gamma Cygni Nebula

 I managed to image all 110 Messier objects. It took me 1 year to complete.
updated set on Flickr:

 The first 95 I found & imaged with my old 8" SCT & an ST-80T "guide scope" piggybacked. The old SCT fork mount is non computerized, non- GOTO. This made finding all these a challenge. It took me a year to complete, starting in August 2011 and completed August 2012. Most of the images were done quickly and I planned to reimage several of them. One of these I found interesting was M29 in Cygnus.
I started out on 5/25/13 hoping to reimage M29. Due to a full moon I started with my Hydrogen-Alpha filter. 6 exposures, 20 minutes each.Open cluster M29 can be seen in the highlighted box
2 hours through Hydrogen-Alpha filter, 6 exposures. Taken with AT65EDQ refractor & QHY9M ccd
After a little research, I found the nebulosity seen to the left of M29 is part of IC 1318. IC 1318, the Gamma Cygni Nebula covers an area of about 4x7 degrees. My field of view with the AT65EDQ refractor & QHY9M ccd is 2.42 x1.4 degrees. So I decided to do a mosaic project.

So far I completed 4 panels with the hydrogen-alpha filter, 3 exposures at 20 minutes each for 1 hour per panel. 4 panels seen side by side before arranging into a mosaic

I used Photoshop CS6 to manually align the 4 new images

So far I managed to add Green & Blue filtered images to the original panel, the M29 panel. I used 3x10 minute exposures for each color

With no clear skies since, I grew impatient and added the "completed" M29 panel to the 4 panel Hydrogen Alpha mosaic. I created synthetic star colors using photoshop:
Hopefully soon I can add real Blues & Greens and continue expanding this new mosaic project. Stay tuned!!!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Moon & The Milky Way

I decided to do some other projects and give myself a break from DSO (deep sky object) imaging.

The first project I did was a composite of a slim crescent moon on May 12,2013, consisting of 2 images.
 The first image was a mosaic created from 3-one minute movies taken with my Canon T3i & Orion ED102TCF. Processed in Registax V6.

 The 2nd part of the image was a single 1/16 second exposure to capture the "earthshine". Earthshine is the illumination of the the moon's dark region by sunlight reflected from the earth

Final composite image:

 I traveled to the reservoir at 3am on the 14th to capture this image of the Milky Way. Armed only with a cheap tripod and my Canon T3i, I took 2 images and created this mosaic.

There was a slight fog on the dam and light clouds,coupled with the light pollution, made this difficult to process . I took each image at iso 800 for 30 seconds, then used Microsoft ICE to combine the two. I used StarTools to minimize the slight star trailing and finished the processing with Photoshop CS6.

The final project for the week was a one minute moon video taken with my T3i, ED102TCF and 2x's Barlow. Processed with Registax & Photoshop CS6. Taken on 5/16/2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

M81 & M82

The past several weeks have been cloudy as usual, but in between cloudy nights I managed to put together these images of M81 & M82.

M81 & M82 are about 12 million light years away in the constellation of Ursa Major. M81( the larger spiral galaxy, bottom) was discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1774 and later added to Charles Messier's caltalog in 1779. M81 is sometimes called Bode's Galaxy.
M82 is also known as the Cigar Galaxy and is a prime example of a "starburst" galaxy. The red colors seen in the galaxy's core are regions of intense star formation, due to the interaction with M81's gravity. It was also discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1774.

Taken with QHY9M CCD & AT65EDQ refractor May 1-3,5 2013

Luminance Filter- 3x20min, 6x30min* bin 1x1 (4h)
R,G,B Filters- 6x10min bin 2x2/each filter (3h)
Hydrogen-Alpha Filter-3x30min* bin 1x1 (1.5h)

*The 30 minute sub-exposures were the longest I've ever tried, my guiding has been ok lately

Images acquired,aligned & stacked with Nebulosity V2.0.Post processed and LRGB Ha combined in Photoshop CS6.
Guiding through Orion 50mm guide scope and Starshoot Autoguider using PhD software

The image above has been cropped from the original:

My goal was to capture dust surrounding these galaxies, known as the Integrated Flux Nebula(IFN). It can be seen as a faint blue in my image. The IFN is actually dust and gases within our own Milky Way Galaxy and illuminated by stars. I need to spend a lot more time with more exposures to really bring out the IFN. Perhaps this will make a good before/after post.