Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hydrogen Soul

First approach Deep Inside Soul
Then whole B/W frame Many Shades of Soul
Now IC1848 Soul nebula in HaRGB palette. Actually only eastern part. 
45x15 minutes H-alpha, 10x5 minutes each of RGB.

IC1848 Soul nebula in HaRGB

Clear skies and Merry Xmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

IC349 Barnard's Nebula

IC349 - Barnard's nebula
It is just a small nebula that lies about 0.06 light years from Merope star (bright one in the center). It is quite a difficult object, because it is well hidden in the bright light from the illuminating star. 
Picture has been taken during Pleiades exposition - it is ten exposures, each one lasted 30 seconds. Current setup: TS 130/910 0.79x, Atik383 with L Baader filter. Image is crop resized 150%, so the scale is 1"/px.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Many shades of Soul

There always happens a lot in the Milky Way areas of our sky. For example Soul and Ghost nebulaes can be found in the constellation of Cassiopeia. They are pretty large, so the frame below is only the eastern part of Soul nebula pictured in hydrogen alpha red light. More color to come, but due to unpretty weather not quite sure when. 
IC1848 - eastern part of Soul nebula
It's total 40 exposures 15 minutes each with TS130/910 0.79x refractor, Atik383 camera and Baader Ha filter. All set up on EQ6 mount.

Clear skies!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Literature moons

Did you know that all known Uranus moons (there are currently 27 of them) are named after characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. Some of them can be spotted from Earth using telescope or pictured as well, but most have been discovered during Voyager 2 flyby.
Last night I turned telescope to Uranus for a moment and tried to picture them.
TS 130/910 0.79x, Atik383x, Baader CCD G filter, 10x10 seconds exposure. Resize 150%, so 1' = 1px
Uranus moons
Clear skies!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

AstroHub 3.0 - almost there

Just a bunch of pictures - prototype is done, software 95% completed and tested.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Red Lion

Lion has gained some color. It is only 3x40 minutes of each RGB channels added, and hydrogen light colored with red. No actually the true or real colors, but close to (if you only that human eye is blind for faint red color nebulosity).
Sh2-132 Lion nebula - HaRGB composite
To right and left bottom corners are guarded by two crimson red beauties - C* 3121 carbon star*%203121&submit=submit is the one to the right. SU Lac Mira Ceti type variable star is the bottom*%20SU%20Lac&submit=submit

Clear skies!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Deep inside the Soul

IC1848 Soul Nebula is quite extended object and there is no way for my setup to cover it all at once. But even in narrow field images there is plenty of interesting objects to notice there, like "Fish" globule at the picture below. It is IRAS 02497+6018 object - you can see it in the right bottom corner of the picture:
Detail of IC1848 Soul nebula - notice "Fish" globule in lower right
It is 4h exposed with hydrogen alpha filter. Atik383 camera, TS130/910 0.79x refractor, EQ6 mount.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

November testing

Atik came back from its origin - it has been sent to service and now is in perfect condition. Meanwhile I adjusted my refractor collimation, so I wanted to check if everything is ok. For the first light after service and adjustments I have chosen frame full of stars. And here it is:
Barnard 147 dark nebula and neighborhood
So a little to the right of the frame center there is a Barnard 147 small dark nebula, and that's it. Nothing else there. Well, except of several thousands Milky Way stars, gas and dust clouds... And among them a little below B147 crimson red star. I hoped it is another carbon star, but not this time. It is V2007 Cygni star - red variable giant of type Mira Ceti. As you can see below it is quite bright object seen through the red filter, quite faint through green one, and not detected through the blue filter:

V2007 Cygni red giant variable star - a little to the right and below the frame center

Total exposure time about 3h.
Clear skies!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

QHY6 for guide rescue

QHY6 camera
I must say I like off-axis guiding during astrophotography. It provides uncompromised stiffness, but at some cost. Off-axis guider field of view is very modest, and sometimes it is not so easy to find bright enough star to hook on. That's why quite sensitive and preferable cooled camera is wanted for OAG. Using ASI120 I was happy almost in all cases except a few when I needed to reframe my picture to find a star to guide. So I decided to test QHY6 camera in that role also sold at ALccd-QHY6 name by . 
Compared to ASI120MM
Camera is equipped with peltier cooling that drops sensor temperature about 24C below the ambient. Neither cooling power nor temperature cannot be controlled. Cooling fan is very quiet, and temperature stabilizes quickly. Camera drivers at both 32 and 64 bit windows machine have been installed without any problem, and camera has started at first connection. Camera drains 0.3A from the 12V power supplier, so it is not power hungry.
First night tests showed that camera is quite sensitive. 5 seconds exposure with TS13/910 refractor recorded stars as faint as 15mag. Stars brighter than 14.5mag has SNR better than 10, so they can be used for guiding.
5 seconds exposure with QHY6 camera
I am quite happy with the camera sensitivity, comparing to ASI120MM it is better about 2.5-3mag. It is especially obvious when ambient temperature is quite high. 


  • it is small and lightweight
  • does not require much power 
  • can be supplied only with 5V from USB port (then it is not cooled)
  • it is fast (USB2) so image is beeing read quickly
  • no problems with windows 7 32 and 64 bit
  • it is interlaced camera, so saturated images needs to be deinterlaced
  • pixel is not square - 6.5x6.25um
  • there is no control for colling - on or off
  • sensor chamber is not sealed, so frost can occur at high humidity (over 90%). Hovewer there is a place in camera body to put dessicant bag
Sample bias frame

Sample 300s dark frame
Clear skies!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

M29 - so obscured

Messier 29 is yet another open star cluster in the Cyngus constellation. Its stars belongs to the Cygnus OB1 association. Five brighters stars of this cluster is giants of B0 spectral type - its absolute magnitude is about -8mag, so each one is 160000 times brighter than the Sun. The M29 cluster is quite modest, its brightest members have visual magnitude fainter than 8mag, but if there would be no Milky Way dusts between the cluster and us, these stars would be 1000 times birghter than they are now. The distance to this cluster is not well determined - according to different sources it is something between 4000 and 8000 light years. 
Picture below has been shot with RGB filters - 40 minutes each one, and hydrogen alpha filter - 4 hours with 15 minutes subs. With Atik383 camera and TS130/910 0.79x refractor with reducer.
M29 open star cluster with hydrogen clouds and Milky Way stars

Clear skies!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

AstroHub on its way

JoloFocuser ( ) almost has another revision - codename AstroHub 3.0 :) Prototype has been assebled, now time for coding. AstroHub is a little bit reacher with functions, and also contains I2C and RS232 communication end points, so can be extended with additional modules. 
AstroHub 3.0 prototype (right) and its brain - Arduino Mega 2560 (left)

And both modules sandwiched
Will keep you informed!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Comets wanted

There is no spectacular comet right now in the heavens, but I have not pictured any of them for some time, so I started to miss them :) I picked up comet C/2015 F4 (Jacques) for just a documentary picture, and here it is - one 10 minutes exposure, whole frame and crop.
Picture has been made at 2015-09-16T19:34 UT. Atik383, TS130/910 0.79x, Baader L 10 minutes shot:
Comet C/2015 F4 (Jacques) 
Comet C/2015 F4 (Jacques) - frame center crop. You may notice some faint galaxies there
Clear skies!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cocooned with interstellar medium

Three years ago using Canon DSLR and newtonian telescope I pictured Cocoon nebula . At last star party in Zatom I decided to get back to this item. Cocoon is placed about 4000 light years away in the constellation of Cygnus and consists of several parts - symbol IC5146 corresponds to the star cluster there. Hydrogen emission nebulosity is denominated in the Sharpless catalog as Sh2-125, and the whole area is surrounded with dust. A little to the right there is small vdB147 nebula, and large, dark cloud in the right part of the picture (and well beyond this frame) is Barnard 168 nebula.
In Zatom I was able to collect 2.5h of luminosity frames, and 1h of red channel. Remaining blue and green channels plus another 2.5h of luminosity I gathered at my backyard.
Shot with Atik383 camera and TS130/910 refractor with 0.79x reducer.
Cocoon nebula complex in the Milky Way.
Clear skies!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sun in Zatom

Last weekend (September 10-13) another star party in Zatom, Poland had happened. I was once again very happy to participate there, some pictures have been collected, and we all have a very good time.
For a moment, two pictures of the Sun made with Baader ASSF filter, TS130/910 refractor, Baader SC filter, TV x2 barlow and ASI120MM camera:

Clear skies!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

As faint as Lion

Sharpless catalog is a list of 313 HII regions (that are emission nebulae) visible in the northern hemisphere from declination -27 degrees. Most of these objects are quite faint and in the same time pretty large, so they are tricky targets for visual observations, but quite tempting targets for astrophotography.
One of Sharpless items - Sh2-132 is an emission nebula located in the border of Cepheus and Lacerta constellations. It is placed about 10000 light years away in the Perseus Arm of our Galaxy. It is sometimes called by astrophotographers a Lion Nebula.
Picture below was made with Atik383 camera and two instruments: 30 exposures 10 minutes each with 200/800 newton, and 35x10 minutes with TS 130/910 apogun. It is monochrome hydrogen alpha channel, more colors to come :)

Sharpless 132 nebula (Lion Nebula)
Clear skies!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Planetary mite

After a few days spent on post processing Pelican nebula ( Pelican can wait ) I decided to rest a little and collect some human readable color picutures. Due to almost full Moon bright sky I have choosen M39 open cluster. But tiny planetary nebula also has been framed inside. This nebula has apparent size 38x27" and has been catalogued by R. Minkowski at number 1-79. 
Atik383, TS130/910 0.79x, RGB 3x12x5 minutes. Full frame (nebula at top left corner :) )
M39 open cluster and M1-79 at top left corner
Planetary full scale close-up:
Minkowski M1-79 planetary nebula
and apparent size comparison to well known M27 Dumbbell planetary nebula:
Apparent size comparison M1-79 (left) and M27 (right)

Clear skies!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Pelican can wait

Here it is some color added to hydrogen black and white picture from Pelican in Swan post. Hydrogen presence has been mapped to green color, sulphur to red, and oxygen to blue - this is so called HST color palette. It was made popular by the pictures from Hubble Space Telescope. 
Here I gathered 4.5h with hydrogen filter (which is pretty enough) and 2h for each sulphur and oxygen filter (which is not enough, although exposed in bin2 mode). I will collect more photons, but not in the near future - Pelican can wait :)

IC5067 nebula in Swan (false color)

Setup: current :) That means - TS 130/910 apochromatic triplet with 0.79x 3" reducer/flattener, Atik383L+ mono camera, Baader 36mm filter set, EQ6 belt modded mount, guided with ASI120MM and off axis guider.
Clear skies!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Too many stars in color

Time has come to colorize new refractor first light. I collected some exposures of M27 Dumbbell nebula with RGB filters, and here is the result:
M27 planetary nebula in Vulpecula
Total exposure time was 50 minutes for luminance and 30 minutes for each of RGB filters. Each single exposure was 5 minutes long. Below crop 1:1 with nebula centered (right click and open in new window to see full resolution):
M27 nebula 1:1 crop
Image pixel scale is 1.5"/px. Shot under moderate sky - about 5 mag NELM.

Clear skies!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Pelican in Swan

There is autumn incoming shortly, and one of this season gems (in northern hemisphere) is Cygnus (The Swan). It flies ofer the reach Milky Way region, and we can find there whole lot of star clusters and nebulaes. Nearby the Deneb - birghtest star in Cygnus there is large (over four degrees of apparent diameter) nebulae complex, and part of this complex is IC5070 Pelican nebula. And part of this nebula (designated IC5067) I pictured over last two nights. 
IC5067 - part of Pelican nebula in Cygnus

Picture above has been shot with Atik383 mono camera, Baader Ha filter and TS130/910 refractor with 0.79x reducer. Exposure time was 18x15 minutes. Below there is 1:1 crop of the ionisation front, where new stars are born.
Star forming region in Pelican nebula
Clear skies!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Yet another starfield

Yesterday between dusk and astronomical night I shot a few warm up frames. One of them was Messier 71 globular cluster in Sagitta constellation. It is only one 5 minutes exposure with new 130mm apogun, but outcome is decent - down to 18.5mag under suburbian sky. Also some distant galaxy has been recorded as seen through Milky Way stars and dusts.
M71 globular cluster and Harvard 20 open cluster below

M71 cluster crop

PGC86297 galaxy seen through Milky Way stars (little right and below center)

Clear skies!

PS - I promise you next entry will be colorful :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Too many stars

Last night I caught a few almost cloudless moments, and was able to collect first frames using TS130 refractor with 0.79x reducer. The proper distance to sensor has been adjusted, and here it is 50 minutes with M27 Dumbbell nebula:
M27 Dumbbel nebula

1:1 crop at 1.5"/px scale
Collected under about 5mag sky, 10x5 minutes with L filter, Atik 383, TS130 f/7 with 0.79x reducer.
Tests are done. Time to work :)

Clear skies!

Friday, July 17, 2015

TS 130/910 APO - first look, first light

TS apochromatic triplet 130mm f/7
New instrument onboard - after many years of picturing with newton telescopes I eventually decided to change to lenses. After a few emails with very nice and professional discussion with and few more days for selecting and adjusting the big gun arrived. Of course it is larger than expected, and it seems that 3/4 of its weight is placed in the lens cell. Refractor is well build, focuser is stiff and fits directly to the 2.5" 0.79x reducer using Zeiss M68 thread. Last night first light was possible, but only for a few minutes. I used Canon 550D attached to the focuser without reducer (still waiting for adapters) and pictured Albireo binary star. 

Albireo with TS130/910 and Canon 550D, single 10s exposure
Above it is a 1:1 crop from frame center. Picture scale is 0.97"/px, it means that small stars at the image have apparent diameter, like one cent coin seen from 2km distance.

Albireo with TS130/910, 20x10 seconds stack, crop 1:1

...and the full Canon 550D frame
I am very happy with the results, the stars are pinpoint, there is no visible color fringes, and with only 10 seconds exposures stars as faint as 15mag have been recorded (so about 3000x times fainter than stars visible with naked eye).
More images to come (hopefully) soon :)

Clear skies!