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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Clear Skies for August!

     August started out great so far, with 5 clear nights the 11th-17th. I managed to capture several new targets and images, which I'll detail later.
     I received a notification from Astronomy magazine that my October 2013 image of the Penumbral Eclipse would be in the October 2015 issue. Being published in this magazine is a first for me!

    Well the stars must have been aligned, because I also got published in October's Sky & Telescope magazine, another first! I just received the magazines yesterday (they send you two complimentary images if you're published.)

     This image will be framed and the first in my new observatory. Oh, I forgot to mention, I took delivery of an 8' Explora Dome 2 weeks ago. I already broke ground for an observatory building. I'll detail the entire construction process in a blog as I go. Several trees have to be removed in the location I picked, so the chain saw is ready!

The building process has been interrupted by the fact I've been very tired. 5 clear nights in 7 days is unheard of. This probably hasn't happened in several years. Here are some but not all of the images I captured:

The Iris and the Ghost

     I re-imaged the Iris and created a 4 panel mosaic this time to include the Ghost Nebula.
Both of these reflection nebulas are located in the constellation of Cepheus. The blue nebula, called the Iris Nebula or Caldwell 4, is 1300 light years away and usually identified as the associated open cluster, NGC7023. The Ghost Nebula, Sh2-136 is also known as VdB 1 and is about 1470 light years away.
     This mosaic was done with a QHY10 One-Shot Color (OSC) CCD camera and 11" Celestron EdgeHD SCT with Hyperstar. 10 two minute exposures where used per panel. Taken on Aug 11,2015

IC 1396 and the Elephant Trunk 

  IC 1396 is an emission nebula in the constellation of Cepheus. It is about 2400 light years away. To the left and center, is an object commonly called the Elephant Trunk Nebula. A closer look(seen in comments below) shows more detail. The Elephant Trunk and the rest of IC1396 is  illuminated by a hot, massive O-type star HD 206267. The entire nebula is over 3 degrees in diameter. This image spans 2.33 x 1.55 degrees

 QHY10 OSC and 11" Celestron EdgeHD @F/2
 33x120sec images (66 minutes)

   While I was shooting the image above I also captured 9- 10 minute Luminance filtered subframes with the QHY23M & AstroTech AT65EDQ. I used this Luminance with the RGB from the QHY10 OSC to produce this image. It has been cropped to fit the field of view of the 65mm & QHY23:

Both images of IC1396 were taken on Aug 15,2015.

Messier 39

     One night, while using SkyTools to slew between targets, I found Messier 39 and decided to re-image it. I previously imaged all Messier objects and am slowly redoing the collection.
M39 is an open cluster located in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan. It is located about 800 light-years away.
Qhy10 OSC & 11" Celestron Edge HD w/Hyperstar- 12x120sec.

M33 Triangulum Galaxy

At the end of an imaging session, I captured a quick Messier 33. M33 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Triagulum. It is approximately 3 million light-years away

Telescope: 11" Celestron Edge HD w/Hyperstar

Red- 9x120

Well it's been an exciting couple of weeks, I hope the trend continues! As always, thanks for stopping by and reading my "astro-diary"

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