Friday, April 26, 2013

Hercules Globules - update

Hercules constellation is famous among astronomy amateurs because of the largest globular cluster that can be seen in the northern hemisphere. It is M13 and contains about 300 000 stars and is about 25000 light years away. This globular cluster is composed of some of the oldest stars in the Universe, they are estimated to be 14 billion years old. Near its core the stars are about 500 more concentrated than in the neighbourhood of the Sun.

In the same constellation there is M92 globular cluster, places about 26000 light years away. 
Here is original Messier's description of M92:
"March 18, 1781 
`Nebula, fine, distinct, and very bright, between the knee and the left leg of Hercules, it can be seen very well in a telescope of one foot. It contains no star; the center is clear and brilliant, surrounded by nebulosity and [it] resembles the nucleus of a large Comet: its brightness, its size, approach much that of the nebula which is in the girdle of Hercules. See No. 13 of this Catalog: its position has been determined, by direct comparison with the star Sigma Herculis, fourth magnitude: the nebula and the star are on the same parallel.' (diam. 5')"

M92 photo was taken as RGB with 30 minutes total exposure for each channel unbinned during Full Moon :) M13 photo was 30 minutes each RGB and additionally 90 minutes luminocity.

Clear skies!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Project Moon

Yeah, last time I created Moon mosaic it was so fun that I decided to make actual project on making day by day Moon picture for every day of its cycle. Probably will not be so easy to achieve decent quality pictures for every day of the whole 28 days cycle. All the photos below in the full resolution (4000px) can be downloaded from dropbox: . The full res pictures have scale 1px ~ 750 meters at the Moon surface. Below are small versions (1400px) of the five days of the Moon life cycle.

April 16th, 2013 - lunar age 6.5 days:

April 17th, 2013 - lunar age 7.5 days:

April 18th, 2013 - lunar age 8.5 days:

April 21st, 2013 - lunar age 11.5 days:

April 22nd, 2013 - lunar age 12.5 days:

Clear skies!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Astrojolo Deep Field One

Well, it is nothing one can compare to Hubble Deep Field, but I am gonna get better:)
Coma Cluster is a galaxy cluster about 99 megaparsecs away (320 mln light years). Contains over one thousand identified members. Each member is an entire galaxy - contains millions of stars. Cluster is dominated by two huge elliptical galaxies in the middle right. The larger one - NGC4874 is ten times larger than our Milky Way. The cluster can be found in Coma Berenices constellation and is a part of Coma Supercluster. In the lower left you can find NGC4921 galaxy which is one of the few spiral galaxies in this cluster. Most galaxies are elliptical or S0 type. Dark matter is believed to form 90% of Coma Cluster mass.
The photo above is luminance only (no color yet) with total exposure time 200 minutes. I definitely need to gather more photons of this magnificent field of view - almost every light spot at this picture is galaxy!

Clear skies!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Galaxies in coma

There is modest constellation called Coma Berenices. It is somewhere above well known Leo  and Virgo constellations. Not so many stars visible in Coma Berenices, but very many galaxies. One sample you can see above - the largest galaxy is NGC4725 (no nickname this time). It is spiral galaxy with active nucleus - example of Seyfert galaxy. When you get a closer look into this galaxy you will notice it actuall has only one spiral arm, which is quite unusual. At top left you can see NGC4747 galaxy with traces of tidal tails - these are the outcome of interactions between these two galaxies that are about 50 million years away from us. 
At lower right you can see teeny tiny spiral galaxy NGC4712. It is not actually so small, but is over 200 millions year away, so four times further than the galaxy pair described above.
Picture was taken with usual setup, LRGB filters with total exposure time 4.5h.
Luminance channel below:

Clear skies!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Celestial fast food

Hopefully you can see why this sky item is called Hamburger Galaxy. It has not been noticed by Messier in his famous catalog of faint fuzzies. Messier was comet hunter and was frustrated by object which resembled but were not comets. So he created a list of over 100 objects of that kind in 1771, but missed this nice galaxy. Hamburger Galaxy (NGC3628) has been eventually discovered by William Hershel in 1784.
It is about 35 million light years away and can be found in constellation of Leo. Along with M65 and M66 galaxies forms famous Leo Triplet
NGC3628 is an unbarred spiral galaxy, although its spiral structure is not easily seen. The most obvious structure of Hamburger Galaxy is broad and obscuring band of dust located along the outer edge if its spiral arms. This band effectively cut the galaxy to our view. Distorted galaxy shape suggests that it is interacting with other galaxies of the Leo Triplet.
The photography above has been taken with standard setup. Luminance was exposed in 180 minutes total time. Each of RGB channels exposures were made for 30 minutes with pixel binning set to 2x2. 

The photography below presents luminance only.

Clear skies!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Whale plays hockey

Finally clouds went away (do not really care where) and I had a chance to make some night exposures. There are so many interesting object and so few clear nights, so the decision is really hard. However this time I pointed my scope to the Canes Venatici (Hunting Dogs) constellation again and made the picture presented below. In the upper left there is NGC4631 The Whale Galaxy with its dwarf companion NGC4627 called sometimes The Whale's Calf. Lower right part of this very tightly framed picture is taken by NGC4656 The Hockey Stick Galaxy

All these three galaxies are (or had been) interacting, so that's why their shapes are so irregular. Pale blue color of the external parts of Whale indicate presence of young massive stars, while yellowish center region is due to the old population of red giant stars. In the star color language blue means hot stars, while red means (relatively) cold star. In this scale our Sun is somewhere in the colder star league with its surface temperature about 5800K and yellow tint.
Picture has been taken with usual setup - 6" diameter f/4.5 newtonian scope with coma corrector and Baader entry level LRGB filters plus Atik 314L+ camera. Exposure time LRGB - 195:30:30:30 minutes, binning 1:2:2:2 with single exposure 3 minutes for L, and 2 minutes for RGB.
Here b/w version - luminance only:

Clear skies!