Sunday, July 16, 2017

Decent Night with some difficulties to start (NGC 6569 & NGC 6558, M19)

So why am I shooting these two obscure globular clusters (NGC 6569 & 6558) when I could be imaging the final Messier Objects in my catalog?  I was having go-to problems with my go-to mount during the beginning of the evening, my polar alignment app on my cellphone was not behaving properly and I though I fixed it but I don't think I did which is why my alignment was off.  Once I located an object it tracked perfectly.  I was looking for M69 in fact I originally thought this was it. Oh well.  I did better with M19.

NGC 6558 is a globular cluster, located about 24,000 light years away in the constellation Sagittarius NGC 6569, also a globular cluster located approximately 35,000 light years in the constellation Sagittarius (source: wikipedia)

Messier 19 (NGC 6273) is a globular cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus. It is about about 28.700 ly from Earth and is near to the Galactic Center (source: wikipedia).

NGC 6569 & 6558 Wide Field

NGC 6569 & 6558 Crop

NGC 6569 & NGC 6558
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 7-15-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 22 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

M19 Wide Field

M19 Crop

M19
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 7-15-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 24 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Thursday, July 13, 2017

IC 4665

IC 4665 is one of the brighter Milky Way clusters missing not only in the Messier Catalog, but also in the NGC, because it is so loose and coarse. This cluster, located in Ophiuchus, is a good object for binoculars or wide-field telescopes such as the ED80. The cluster is estimated to be 36 million years and at a distance of 1,400 light years. Also, IC 4665 is heading towards us at 12 km/sec (source: messier.seds).

So I imaged IC 4665 from the Happy Frog while waiting for M24 to appear from behind some trees. I think selecting objects to image will be much easier once I am done with the Messier catalog as I just have to point to whatever object happens to be visible at the time I am outside. That is pretty much what I did for IC 4665, I was not planning imaging it, I just had the time and it was in the right location for me to observe it.


IC 4665
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-27-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 15 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

M24 - Sagittarius Star Cloud

I think M24 is the only Messier object that is considered a star cloud.  It is referred to as the Sagittarius Star Cloud and is in the constellation of Sagittarius. It is sometimes known as the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud to distinguish it from the Great Sagittarius Star Cloud located to the north of Gamma Sagittarii, however, at 600 light years wide it does not seem small.

It is comprised of stars, clusters and other objects which are part of the Sagittarius arms of the Milky Way galaxy.  M24 fills a space of significant volume to a depth of 10,000 to 16,000 light-years. This is the most dense concentration of individual stars visible using binoculars, with around 1,000 stars visible within a single field of view (source: wikipedia).

This is the 97th Messier object I have obtained for my catalog, only 13 more to go...
https://sites.google.com/site/messierobjectsed80/


M24
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-27-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 24 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Monday, July 10, 2017

M22

Messier 22 (a.k.a. NGC 6656) is a globular cluster in the constellation Sagittarius and is one of the brightest globulars that is visible in the night sky. It is relatively close to Earth at a distance of about 10,600 light-years away and is has a diameter of about 100 light-years (source: wikipedia).

This is the first globular cluster I have imaged in 2017 and the first time I have ever taken a photo of this object.  It is very low in the horizon and not even visible from my yard which is why I never imaged it before.  I am quite happy with how it turned out being so low. 

I seem to have picked up a UFO while imaging M22 (see the cropped photo with the red circle). It could be the Vulcans wanting to make first contact but then deciding against it after seeing the state of affairs.  Maybe someone in Astrobin-land has an idea of what it is.  The actual date and time is:  6/27/17 at 00:49-01:28 EST or 05:49-06:28 GMT.  At first I thought it was bad tracking when I looked at the subframes before stacking them.  The object moves slightly relative to other stars in each subframe.  If you look closely you can see the overall movement.

Wide Field

Crop

Crop UFO

M22
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-26-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 33 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Sunday, July 9, 2017

M7- Ptolemy Cluster

M7 (a.k.a. Ptolomy Cluster or NGC 6475) is an open cluster in the constellation of Scorpius.  I am really liking these summer open clusters as there is a tremendous amount of gas and dust associated with them since they are in the direction of the center of the galaxy.  The cluster is estimated at a distance of 980 light-years and is 25 light years across.  M7 is detectable with the naked eye and I was actually able to see it along with M6.  Also visible in this image is a small globular cluster, NGC 6453, located to the right of M6 (source: wikipedia). 

I am definitely seeing the end of the light as I have only 15 more objects Messier objects left to image for my own complete catalog.  


M7 - Ptolemy Cluster
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-26-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 29 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Saturday, July 1, 2017

M6 - The Butterfly Cluster

The Butterfly Cluster (M6 or NGC 6405) is an open cluster of stars in the constellation of Scorpius gets its name from a vague resemblance to a butterfly.  I don't see it though.  The cluster is around 1,600 light-years from Earth and is approximately 12 light years across (source: wikipedia).

This was  getting pretty low and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to image it at my location.  It came through pretty well with hints of nebulosity near the upper portion of the image.  I think getting the nebulosity is due to the modification of the T3i that Hap Griffin performed on it last year. 

Messier image 94, only 16 more to go...

M6 - Wide Field

M6 - The Butterfly Cluster
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-26-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 31 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Thursday, June 29, 2017

M23

Messier 23 (NGC 6494) is a bright, large open star cluster located in the constellation Sagittarius.
It approximately 2,150 light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 6.9. The cluster has a radius of 15 to 20 light years and contains 176 confirmed members (source: Messier Objects).

This is one of the few Messier Objects that I have left that I can actually image from my yard. This object, being in Sagittarius, is in the direction of the center of the Milky Way and, therefore, has lots of gas, dust, nebulosity, and stars. The cloudiness appears faintly in my image.

This brings me up to 93 Messier Objects captured so far...



M23
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-21-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 19 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

M20 - Trifid Nebula and M21

The Trifid Nebula (M20 or NGC 6514) is in Sagittarius only a mere 5,200 light-years from Earth.  The object is made of an open cluster; an emission nebula (the lower, red portion), a reflection nebula (the upper, blue portion) and a dark nebula, the apparent 'gaps' within the emission nebula (source: wikipedia).  

This was the first night imaging with the the new Atlas Pro EQ/AZ mount.  I collected 3 min. subframes and the mount was tracking perfectly through the whole session.  I did have one mishap that cost 30 minutes of images but it was my fault.  The computer battery went dead during the session and my backup plan (connecting it to the Black and Decker power pack was also dead.  The third backup plan was to connect an extension cord to the inverter that came with the Rav4.  This worked but I had to have the car running.

When I processed the data I had a lot of scattered reds in the background.  Most often it simply noise in the image, however, there is a lot of nebulosity in this region.  I checked many other images of this region and there was no definitive answer to was it noise or real gas and dust that that my modified camera picked up.  Some images showed it and some did not.  I made the executive decision to lesson it's impact rather than process it away.  There are hints of nebulosity if you look closely.  I did use Fred Espenek's (Astropixels.com) image of this region a guide.


I love these two for one objects.  M21 is a tightly packed cluster of about 57 stars located about 4,250 light-years from Earth.   Since it was in the field of view I was able to pick up two Messier objects for my catalog with one imaging session.  With the addition of these two, I now have captured 92 Messier objects for my catalog.  Only 18 are left!



Trifid Crop


Trifid Wide Field


M21 Crop

M20 - Trifid Nebula and M21
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-20-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR, Astronomik UHC
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure:29 x 180s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 20 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Friday, June 23, 2017

Beta test for the eclipse!

I plan to update this as I modify the procedure based on testing!



The Plan
I was planning on using a 300 mm Nikon lens or Orion ST80 mm refractor attached to my Canon EOS T3i/600D to image the eclipse. Since I will be traveling by jet and rental car I didn't want to bring a big telescope and heavy mount. Also, I want to use Backyard EOS on my computer to automate control of the camera so I can enjoy the eclipse with minimal tinkering during the eclipse.


Original Equipment List 
Lens - Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED
Telescope - Orion Short Tube 80 mm
Camera - Canon T3i/computer wire connection
Camera batteries
Adapter - Fotodiox Nikon to Canon
Adapter - T-adapter for Canon cameras to telescopes
Camera Tripod - Manfrotto
Computer - HP Envy
Computer Shade - LapDome

Problems
Right off the bat, the Fotodiox Nikon to Canon adapter that I have used a few times over the past couple years broke so I ordered a new one.  It does not fill me with confidence.  Since I could not test the lens method I decided to go with the telescope test.

Results
This actually worked pretty well.  Unless the camera gives me much better results, I like the telescope method. The camera with a T-adapter screws directly focuser and I can adjust the orientation of the camera.  The LapDome is a must if you are using a computer for camera control as it would be impossible to see the screen during the day.  I took a few test shots to see what I would get.  I will test the automation at a later date.


As shown on the photo, I set sun just to to the left of the box.  After 5 minutes it was still in the field of view (FOV).  It looks like one or two adjustments during the eclipse is all that is necessary to keep the sun in the FOV.  Although the Manfrotto tripod held the equipment it was not easy to do minor adjustments with the camera tripod.  I have a an Explore Scientific Twilight I portable tripod that would work great if I were driving to the eclipse but it is hardly portable enough for the airplane.  I saw that Explore Scientific has a Twilight Nano tripod which may be exactly what I am looking for. It is a telescope tripod which has the fine adjustments and can handle up 14 lbs but is much smaller than the Twilight I so I ordered it from High Point Scientific.

The camera plus Nikon 300mm lens (3.8 lbs)
The camera plus ST80 refractor (5.8 lbs)

Automation Plan

Automation sequence using Backyard EOS

Settings
30 min
before
5 min before/after
1 min before/after
During
Exposure
1/2000
1/2000
1/2000
1/250 sec
1/8 sec
1 sec
Intervals
1 min
10 sec
5 sec
5 sec
ISO
200
200
200
200
F/6.3
6.3
6.3
6.3
6.3
Focal Length
480mm
480mm
480mm
480mm
Aperture
80mm
80mm
80mm
80mm

Comments are welcome...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

M68 & M83 - Southern Pinwheel Galaxy

M68
Messier 68 (also known as M68 or NGC 4590) is a globular cluster in the constellation Hydra. It is about 33,000 light-years away from Earth and has a highly elliptical orbit around the galaxy. This orbit carries it as far as 100,000 light years from the galactic center (source: wikipedia).

This is my first non-galaxy Messier object in over four months and I was quite excited at that.  It was also the first time with the new mount, Atlas Pro EQ/AZ.  The sky was clear but this object was very low in fact it is not visible from my yard so I went to the alternate location, a nearby cemetery.  Also with Bridgeport and all the other cities heading towards NYC, there is heavy light pollution to the south.  I could only take 45 second sub-frames and managed to get 24 shots before I moved to M83.  I wasn't holding my breath as a matter of fact I thought I made a mistake even trying to image these objects.  After reviewing the data I was convinced I made a mistake, however, all things considered, I was very happy with the results.

Wide Field

Crop

M68
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-20-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure:24 x 45s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

M83
"I know what your thinking. More galaxies! I thought you were done!" There are a couple in this region but not like the last four months.  Messier 83 (also known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, M83 or NGC 5236) is a barred spiral galaxy  about 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra.  Its nickname of the Southern Pinwheel derives from its resemblance to the Pinwheel Galaxy (source: wikipedia). 

Although there are better images of the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy (M83), I am happy that I was able pull together something with only 30 minutes before disappearing behind some trees.  These summer objects are very low in the sky with heavy light pollution and not visible from my yard. Southwest Connecticut is not exactly dark sky haven of New England.  I did capture another object but I am doing that separately since it a nebula. 

These two objects are Messier's 89 and 90 on my catalog.  

M83
Location: St. John's Cemetery, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-20-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro EQ/AZ Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure:30 x 60s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Friday, June 16, 2017

M61

All good things must come to an end (George Harrison)!  Messier 61 is the last of the great galaxies in the Big Dipper and Virgo regions I have been imaging since February.  Although it has been fun, I am ready to move to something different such as nebulae and clusters.  Unfortunately the next set of Messier Objects are not visible from the Happy Frog Observatory located in my yard so I will have to drive to my alternate location.

M61 (or NGC 4303) is one of the largest barred spiral galaxies in Virgo and approximately 52 million light-years from Earth.  It has a diameter of about 100,000 light years which is roughly the same size as our galaxy, the Milky Way (source: Messier Objects).

Only 22 Messier objects are left on my catalog but it may take a while to image them as only about four are visible from my yard.

https://sites.google.com/site/messierobjectsed80/

Crop2

Crop

Wide Field

M61
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 5-26-17, 5-31-17, 6-12-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 2 x 90s, 28 x 90s, 38 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C, 24 C, 18
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

M49

Although I am happy how this image of M49 turned out, APOD this is NOT.  Lots processing to fix things.  In addition to the normal noise and gradients that I deal with, there were black spots (sometimes colored close up) speckled throughout the image (looked like chicken pox).  I have had a couple of this pop up from time to time but not in a long time or like this. The only thing different from the other Virgo Galaxies I have imaged is it was really warm outside, 75 F or 24 C.  I was able to get most of the spots out with normal smoothing in PS, Astronomy Tools, Star Tools, and LR, however, some of the spots were on M49 so I used the healing brush (i.e. the image is not pure).

Anybody in Astrobin Land have similar experiences or know what this caused this?  If it noise caused by the heat is there something that can be done other than getting a CCD?  I saw on Cloudynights someone made a homemade DSLR cooler for a Canon T3i.  I might go with this approach.

The weather has been awful for the past month and it looks like cloudy weather for the next two weeks so this image will have to do for my Messier catalog.

M49 (NGC 4472) is an elliptical galaxy located in the constellation Virgo at a distance of 55.9 million light years from Earth. M49 can be found 4.1 degrees to the west-southwest of the star Vindemiatrix, a yellow giant that is the third brightest star in Virgo.

M49 was the first member of the Virgo Cluster to be discovered and is the brightest galaxy in this group.  About 157,000 light years across in size, M49 is larger both than the Milky Way (100,000 light years) and the Andromeda Galaxy (140,000 light years). The galaxy contains at least 200 billion stars. It is receding from us at an approximate velocity of 981 km/s (source: Messier Objects).

This is the 87th Messier Object for my catalog and the second to the last Virgo Galaxy (M61 is the last). 

Wide Field

Interesting Frame

M49 Crop

M49
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-11-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 54 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 24 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

M102 - Spindle Galaxy

I was finally was able to do some imaging.  Since the moon was near Virgo, I pointed the telescope in the other direction and finished the last of the Messier objects near the Big Dipper.

M102 (NGC 5866), also known as the Spindle Galaxy, is an edge-on lenticular galaxy located in the northern constellation Draco at a distance of 50 million light years from Earth.  This is a circumpolar galaxy and never sets below the horizon North of 35 degrees. Also of interest, the north celestial pole passes within a degree of M102 every 25,800 years. The galaxy last marked the location of the pole about 6,900 years ago, in 4900 BC, and will do so again in 18,900 years, around 20900 AD (source: Messier Objects).

This is 86 Messier objects and counting...

Crop

Wide Field

M102
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 6-1-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 43 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

M88 and M91

Along with M85, imaged on the same night, these were the last two Messier objects in the Virgo Cluster of galaxies I was able to image.  I am looking forward to shooting other objects such as nebula and clusters again.

M88 (a.k.a. NGC 4501) is a spiral galaxy about 50 to 60 million light-away in the constellation Coma Berenices.  It is one of the fifteen Messier objects that belong to the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. Interestingly, M88 seems to be on an elliptical orbit that is carrying it toward the cluster center, which is occupied by the giant elliptical galaxy M87.  M91 (a.k.a. NGC 4548 ) is a barred spiral galaxy located also in the Coma Berenices constellation and  is about 63 million light-years away from the earth.

Processing theis image proved more difficult as the subtraction method that I have been using on most of the other Virgo galaxies was giving me good results so I went back to Gradient Exterminator to remove the gradients and some of the noise.  M88 and M91 represent the 83rd the 84th Messier Object I have captured.


Wide Field

M88-Crop

M91-Crop
M88 and M91
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 5-18-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 60 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Monday, May 29, 2017

M85

Messier 85 (a.k.a. as M85 or NGC 4382) is an elliptical galaxy in the Coma Berenices constellation and is 60 million light-years away.  It is interacting with the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 4394, and a small elliptical galaxy called MCG 3-32-38.

I am almost caught up with processing images, just one more, as the weather has been very cloudy as of late.  Just by coincidence, M85 happens to be the 85th Messier object I captured for my catalog.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Wide Field

Crop

M85
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 5-16-17, 5-18-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 24 x 90s, 27 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/


Sunday, May 28, 2017

M89-M90

This image contains M89 and M90 captured on 5/16/17 as part of an ongoing project to image all 110 Messier objects with an ED80 refractor.

M89 (a.k.a NGC 4552) is an elliptical galaxy 50 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo.  M89 is unusual in that it appears perfectly spherical in shape while all other known elliptic galaxies are relatively elongated ellipsoids.  M90 (a.k.a NGC 4569) is an intermediate spiral galaxy about 60 million light-years away also in the constellation Virgo.  M90 is a member of the Virgo Cluster and one of its largest and brightest spiral galaxies, even brighter than the Andromeda Galaxy.

https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Wide Field

M89 Crop

M90 Crop

M89 and M90
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 5-16-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 45 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Thursday, May 25, 2017

M100 - The Blowdryer Galaxy

Last week proved to be pretty good for a couple of nights anyway as I was able to capture several of the Virgo galaxies.  This one, Messier 100 (a.k.a. M100 or NGC 4321) is a spiral galaxy located within the southern part of constellation Coma Berenices. It is one of the brightest and largest galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, located approximately 55 million light-years distant from Earth and has a diameter of 107,000 light years (source: wikipedia).

This also happens to be my 80th Messier object imaged with the Orion ED80 F/7.5 Refractor.  I am definitely seeing the light at the end of the tunnel although it my take another year.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Wide Field

Crop

M100
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 5-15-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 45 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

M58-M59-M60

Very happy to capture some more Messier objects from Virgo last week when we finally had a bit of good weather.  The following image contains Messier 58 (a.k.a. M58 and NGC 4579) is an intermediate barred spiral galaxy approximately 68 million light-years away from Earth (far right). Messier 59 (a.k.a. M59 or NGC 4621) is an elliptical galaxy approximately 60 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo with a supermassive black-hole in its center (left middle).
Messier 60 (a.k.a. NGC 4649) is an elliptical galaxy approximately 55 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo. It is part of a pair of galaxies known as Arp 116 with NGC 4647.  M60 is the third-brightest giant elliptical galaxy of the Virgo cluster of galaxies (far left).

With the addition of these galaxies, I know only have 31 Messier Objects left...
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Wide Field

M58 Crop

M59 Crop

M60 Crop

M58-M59-M60
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 5-15-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm
f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 57 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Friday, May 12, 2017

M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy

Well the Sombrero Galaxy (M104 or NGC 4594) was the last image to be processed from images I took over two weeks ago.  Clouds and the moon have temporally put my deep sky imaging on hold.

Sombrero Galaxy is an spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo located 31 million light-years from Earth.  Smaller than the Milky Way, M104 has a diameter of approximately 50,000 light-years and has a bright nucleus. A prominent dark dust lane and a central bulge give this galaxy the appearance of a sombrero.

I am really liking the Synthetic Flat-Layer gradient removal method described by Trevor Jones from AstroBackyard to cleanup the gradients.  Since I do not use flats yet, my stacked image is loaded with vignetting and gradients.  I used to spend an enormous amount of time trying to make a decent image, however, this new method described by Trevor has cut my time in half and produces better results.  Of course using flats will make a world of difference as well but I have not been able to do it properly yet.  I need to see a video of somebody actually doing it in the field.

This represents number 76 on my catalog of Messier objects, only 34 remain.

Crop


Wide Field

M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 4-29-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm
f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 54 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 17 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Markarian's Chain

Markarian's Chain is a beautiful string of galaxies that is part of the Virgo Cluster.  It was named after the Armenian astrophysicist, B. E. Markarian, who did extensive research on these galaxies in the early 1960s.  Member galaxies include M84 (NGC 4374), M86 (NGC 4406), NGC 4477, NGC 4473, NGC 4461, NGC 4458, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435

I took full advantage of the one clear night we had last weekend and imaged this object as well as M104, the Sombrero Galaxy.  One of the most interesting members of the chain are the galaxies NGC 4435 and NGC 4438. Together they make up what is known as The Eyes.  At 52 million light years away, the two interacting galaxies resemble eyes intently staring at something or someone.

In just imaging Markarian's Chain, I have manged to capture three more Messier objects for my catalog.

https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/Messier-Objects/

Markarian's Chain

Wide Field, with M87

M84 & M86 Crop

M87 Crop

The Eyes Crop

Markarian's Chain
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date: 4-29-17
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm
f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 68 x 90s
ISO: 1600
Temp: 18 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gradient Exterminator, Astronomy Tools, StarTools.
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/Messier-Objects/


Captured a Satellite While Imaging Markarian's Chain.  


Captured a Russian Satellite While Imaging Markarian's Chain.
Most people are not aware of how many satellites there are orbiting Earth. I checked Stellarium and it appears that the satellite photobombing my image was Molniya 3-41. It was originally part of a Russian military communications network but since 1967 the Molniya satellites are used for Russian TV.