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M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy
I recently found some image files that I had taken four years ago but had not processed. Exposures were 20 of 10 minutes each for the luminance and10 x 5 minutes each for the red, green and blue. Taken with the Starlight Xpress SHV-H9 camera attached to my 250mm Telescope working at f8. Guiding was achieved using my piggybacked f10 refractor.
Colour processing done with MaxIm DL. My best result yet of this gem!
M17 Omega or Swan Nebula
The same technique as used below was performed on this emission nebula in the constellation Sagittarius. Typical exposures were 400sec and 10 of these were averaged using the Halpha, OIII and SII narrowband filters. The narrow filters only allow 656nm wavelengths to pass for ionised hydrogen, 495.9 and 500.7nm for doubly ionised oxygen while the SII filter allows only wavelengths around 675nm to pass. Again the complex gas cloud can be seen with these elements in various concentrations and dark dust lanes weaving throughout. This is an active star forming region and many stars are being "born" deep in this nebula.
M27 Dumbbell Nebula
I used this target to try my hand at narrowband imaging using Halpha, OIII and SII filters. The idea is to use these narrow filters to determine the concentration of ionised hydrogen, oxygen and sulphur in deepsky objects. The process involves imaging the target using the separate filters, assigning a colour to each filter and then combining the separate images into the final tricolour one. In this case hydrogen is red, oxygen is green and sulphur is blue. This planetary nebula target shows the predominance of hydrogen and oxygen in the expanding shell after the original star exploded. Processed on 13/10/09. I purposely overprocessed the image to enhance the colours for effect.
Tried my hand at a series of double stars with typical exposures of about 1 second. I took the images through the LX200 at f/8 and then used MaxImDL to process the images. To find the position angle and separation, I used CCDSoft. Just to go a stage further and learn more about the properties of the individual stars, I plotted them on a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (not shown here). The image above is of STF1082 (a triple) and then from left to right below is: S617, STF1448, 54Leo, S548 and 20Gem.
2/4/09 at 22.55 UT
Clusters of stars can be very beautiful too. This is an LRGB image of a cluster in the constellation of Cancer. The bright star in the top left corner is SAO98178. Exposures were 10x10 sec for the L, R, G and B subframes and taken through the 254mm LX200 SCT at f/8. Processing was by MaxImDL.
Taken on 4/3/09 at 22.18 UT with my 254mm LX200 at f/8.
Exposure was .001 sec
The rugged area from Ptolemaeus south has a number of large craters including Albategnius, Alphonsus, Arzachel and Werner
Another lunar image, this time taken on 4/3/09 at 22.17 UT showing the lunar appenines at the top and the large crater Ptolemaeus at the bottom.
Just a few images taken of the moon showing the terminator changes over the space of a day. The first was at 17.05UT, the second was taken at 18.20 UT on the same day while the third was taken the following day at 19.07 UT
The sunrise on the Jura mountaints can be clearly seen
A notable change in one day. Mare Imbrium almost completely sunlit.
Moon on 19/12/07
I decided to try my hand at a mosaic of the Moon. This is my first attempt at any mosaic so it was a learning experience. I took 10 frames of various parts of the Moon using my SXV-H9 camera through my 254mm LX200 working at about f7. The exposures were 0.003 seconds and monochrome. Images were acquired using AstroArt4 and stitched together using maxImDL. Happy enough with the first attempt although more care could have been used in the alignment. I may try my hand at some deepsky objects.
M82 "The Cigar"
This image was taken without any guiding as my guide camera was faulty. The LRGB format was a combination of one hour of luminance using 2 minute unguided subframes together with R,G and B colour of 10 minutes using 2 minute subframes.
Western Veil 20/10/07
The western element of the famous Veil Nebula. Format as below with exposures of 12x10min for the Ha and 4x5min for the R, G and B. Taken via the ED80 refractor and processed with MaxImDL and PS. A certain amount of haze resulted in the lack of contrast in some areas.
Eastern Veil October 2007
This is an HaRGB format. The H-alpha frames were taken in November 2006 and the RGB colour information was only added at the end of October 2007. Ha was made up of 15 x 10mins binned 1x1 and the RGB were 4 x 5mins each. Alignment and processing using MaxImDL. Taken with the SXV-H9 camera through my ED80 refractor working at f/5.
NGC1499 California Nebula
Taken on 2nd June 2007 with my SXV-H9 through an ED80 refractor working at f/5. HaRGB format with 2x2 binning on all channels. Total of 60mins exposure on Ha with 15 mins on each of the colour.
Sunspot on 2/5/07
Taken with the SXV-H9 through my Coronado PST. Single exposure of 0.005 sec at 14.38 UT. Image acquisition with AstroArt 4 and processed with Photoshop to produce the colour.
Located in the Constellation of Cygnus, this nebula covers a wide area and too big to fit on my camera chip so I concentrated on the "Gulf of Mexico" area.
The sequence of images were taken on 1/11/06 but I only processed them recently. The images were taken via my ED80 refractor working at F4.7 and comprised of 11 Ha subframes of 10 minutes each followed by 8 subframes of R, G and B which were 5 minutes each. The Ha was taken at a 1:1 binning and the R, G and B were at 2:2 binning. All image acquisition and processing was done with AstroArt 4.
Had another go at finding my limits of imaging distance. The adjacent image is of a Quasar by the name of SDSS J161705 +443522 which has a redshift of 5.49 and with a light travel time of 12.6 Billion Light Years. It was taken through my 10" LX200 scope on 29th August and was an average of 5 ten minute exposures.
I think this is likely to be my distant object limit for the present!
Decided to try using the SXV-H9 to image the sun rather than using the webcam. I needed to use a neutral density moon filter to reduce the glare but was able to find focus using a Scopetronix Maxpower lens. Unfortunately the whole image can not then fit on the chip but ok for a first try. The exposure was 0.005 sec and was taken at 09.43 U.T. Image acquisition was by AstroArt3 but all processing was done in Photoshop.
Prompted by an article in a recent issue of S&T I decided to try to see how deep I could image using my setup. The image at left is an average of four four minute images via my LX200 at F8 and shows a quasar at magnitude 16.7 at a distance of 9.1 Billion Light Years. This is a gravitationally lensed object having two visible components - A&B. Then I turned my attention to another object at a magnitude of 18.1 having a redshift of 3.16 and at a distance of 11.6 Billion light years. On another occasion I will try to dig even deeper but it's nice to feel that I am seeing most of the way to the end of the universe! The quality of the images is not very good as I omitted to flat field them and so the dust doughnuts can be seen, especially on the image on the left.
An LRGB format image taken on 27/4/06 at f8 through the LX200. Exposures were 90:15:15:15 minutes with 20 minute subexposure in the Luminance and 5 minutes in the RGB. I left the sky background bright to show the spiral arms better.
This was imaged last August on 8/8/05 but I have only recently processed it. An HaRGB format through my 80MM ED80 refractor working at f4.8. Managed to get the nebula and cluster in the same frame. The exposure was 75:15:15:15 minutes with 5 minute subexposures. Some slight processing in PS
Taken on 23/4/06 through the 10" Lx200 working at F8. LRGB format with exposures of 70:15:15:15 minutes with 5 minute subexposures. Some processing in Photoshop
Taken between 11th and 27th June 2005 (over 3 nights). HaRGB format with exposures of 75:15:15:15 minutes, taken through my ED80 refractor at f5. The difficulty was mainly getting enough exposure through short breaks in cloud during the short summer night.
A difficlt part of the sky to image as the light pollution from the local town of Maynooth usually interferes. In this case I used an H alpha filter to bring out the glowing cloud while filtering out the background noise. Imaged through my 80mm ED80 refractor using an HaRGB format with exposures of 70:20:20:20 minutes on 2nd August 2005. I like the folds in the nebula - almost 3D
M5 on the left and M13 on the right. Both taken on 11th June via lx200 working at f8. Subexposures of 1 minute were used to avoid saturating the stars and to ensure the correct colour was captured. LRGB format used with total exposures of 15:5:5:5 minutes. The differences in the colours was quite noticable between the two clusters.
Pluto between 10/8/05 and 16/8/05
Pluto images taken on 10th August and 16th August 2005 and show the motion of Pluto between thos dates. The bright object near the centre is SAO160548 which is at mag 8.2. Pluto itself is at mag 13.9 but still very visible. The images were 4 minutes of luminance taken with the SXV-H9 camera through My LX200 at f8
Was doing a long widefield image run last night when I got a text message from David Moore of Astronomy Ireland alerting me to the announcement of a supernova in M51. When I finished the regular imaging session I slewed to the Whirlpool and took a quick 15 minute luminance image as seen here. Taken with my SXV-H9 through my ED80 refractor at F7.5 on 1st July 2005 at 01.24 UT. Quality not great but I wanted to get an image before some trees blocked my view. Compare it with the image below to see the possible progenitor of the supernova
Took me a few nights of imaging between clouds to get enough exosure to do this gem justice. Main luminance taken on 5/5/05. Working at F8 through my LX200 SCT and guided in my usual way. An LRGB setup with exposures of 75:25:25:25 minutes. I would have liked to get more luminance but the weather was not in my favour so I did a bit of noise filtering in Neat Image and final processing in PS.
Taken on 5th March with my ED80 working at F5.8, this again shows the advantage of a wide field view. LRGB with exposures of 65:20:20:20 mins. M81 is the typical spiral shape but M82 seen partly edge on and distorted due to a close encounter with M81 a few tens of millions of years ago. Processing with AA3 and final crop in PS. No darks or flats used
Taken through my ED80 refractor at F7.5, LRGB format with exposures of 75:25:25:25 minutes. NGC5477 can be seen as a faint smudge in the upper left of the frame
This is where the widefield ED80 Apo refractor shows its class. Crisp to the edges. LRGB with exposures of 10x5:4x5:4x5:4x5 mins. Processed with AstroArt 3 and MaxIm DL. I stretched some thread across the objective lens to produce the diffraction spikes. Really happy with this scope.
This was taken over a number of nights as the weather was so poor for many weeks that I could only get ten or fifteen minutes of imaging at any one time. Taken at f5.8 through my Orion ED80 piggybacked on my LX200 and guided with an HX516 camera attached to another Piggybacked refractor. My first attempt at HaRGB with exposures of 6x10:4x10:4x10:4x10 mins. I would have liked to have a longer Ha exposure but the weather was against me. I believe the addition of an L frame would improve the colour of Alnitak - the bright star in the centre.
I wrote a script file (with the help of my son) to automatically take a number of subframe images in LRGB an this was the first trial of that. LRGB exposures were 6x5:3x5:3x5:3x5 mins, processed in AstroArt and cropped in PS. Taken on 14/02/05 via my ED80 refractor at f5.8
Still not very happy with my processing but still able to capture the tail etc. Taken through a 300mm camera lens at f8, piggybacked on my LX200., on 23rd January 2005 and imaging began at 19.50 UT. LRGB using 20x2:3x5:3x5:3x5 mins all binned 2x2 with final crop in PS
Too big to fit in the frame of the camera, some of the extended spiral arms are not seen. A better colour rendition than that taken with the MX7C. Taken over several nights as patchy cloud, rain, wind and just about everything else conspired to prevent a complete evening's imaging. As in the image below, the exposures were LRGB at 40:20:20:20 at 2x2 binning. Some coma visible and guiding still needs improvement.
First light with this camera. A frequently imaged object but with a very wide range of brightness levels. Taken with the camera connected to my 10" LX200 working at f4.7 and using the True Tech motorised filter wheel. Guiding was by my HX516 camera via a piggy backed 80mm refractor. Two sets of images were taken and then merged in Photoshop to produce the final result.
LRGB of 40:20:20:20 mins and also 20:20:20:20 secs. Colour balancing was a bit tricky as there is no actual sky background to use as a reference. Guiding errors are more readily noticed than on the MX7C because of the smaller pixel size of this camera