Category Archives: Astronomy Picture of the Day

Lagoon Nebula, M 8


The Lagoon Nebula (catalogued as Messier 8 or M8, and as NGC 6523) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is classified as an emission nebula and as a H II region. The Lagoon Nebula was discovered by Giovanni Hodierna before 1654 and is one of only two star-forming nebulae faintly visible to the naked eye from mid-northern latitudes. Seen with binoculars, it appears as a distinct oval cloudlike patch with a definite core. A fragile star cluster appears superimposed on it.

  • Imaging telescopes or lenses: Orion ED80T CF
  • Imaging cameras: Atik 428EX
  • Mounts: Celestron Advanced VX
  • Guiding cameras: Orion Starshoot Autoguider
  • Focal reducers: Orion 0.8x Imaging Focal Reducer for Refractors
  • Software: PixInsight,  Photoshop CS6,  Stark Labs Nebulosity 3.1,  Star Tools
  • Filters: Baader O III 8.5nm,  Baader H-Alpha 7nm
  • Resolution: 1636×1272
  • Dates: June 22, 2014,  April 19, 2015
  • Frames:
    Baader H-Alpha 7nm: 21×420″ bin 1×1
    Baader O III 8.5nm: 15×420″ bin 1×1
  • Integration: 4.2 hours
  • Avg. Moon age: 12.33 days
  • Avg. Moon phase: 13.42%
  • RA center: 271.049 degrees
  • DEC center: -24.321 degrees
  • Orientation: -177.214 degrees
  • Field radius: 0.719 degrees

Author: Ezequiel

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Crab Nebula, M 1


The Crab Nebula (catalogue designations M1, NGC 1952, Taurus A) is a supernova remnant and pulsar wind nebula in the constellation of Taurus. It is not, as its name might suggest, in Cancer. The now-current name is due to William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse who observed the object in 1840 using a 36-inch telescope and produced a drawing that looked somewhat like a crab. Corresponding to a bright supernova recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054, the nebula was observed later by English astronomer John Bevis in 1731. The nebula was the first astronomical object identified with a historical supernova explosion.

  • Imaging telescopes or lenses: Takahashi FSQ 106 ED
  • Imaging cameras: Atik 460 EX Mono
  • Mounts: Takahashi EM 200 Temma 2
  • Guiding telescopes or lenses: Takahashi FS 60 CB
  • Guiding cameras: QHYCCD QHY5 II Mono
  • Software: Main Sequence Software Sequence Generator Pro,  PixInsight
  • Filters: Astronomik OIII 12nm,  Astronomik Ha 12nm,  Astronomik SII 12nm
  • Accessories: Atik EFW2 Filter Wheel
  • Resolution: 1282×1023
  • Dates: Jan. 28, 2014
  • Frames:
    Astronomik Ha 12nm: 12×300″
    Astronomik OIII 12nm: 12×300″
  • Integration: 2.0 hours
  • Avg. Moon age: 26.17 days
  • Avg. Moon phase: 12.25%
  • RA center: 83.628 degrees
  • DEC center: 22.010 degrees
  • Pixel scale: 1.767 arcsec/pixel
  • Orientation: 87.704 degrees
  • Field radius: 0.403 degrees

Author: Kingo

SPONLI is a project about astrophotography, for amateur astronomers.

Become a part of astronomers’ community, register on our web-site and start taking pictures of the Universe:

NGC 281, Pacman Nebula


NGC 281 is an H II region in the constellation of Cassiopeia and part of the Perseus Spiral Arm. It includes the open cluster IC 1590, the multiple star HD 5005, and several Bok globules. Colloquially, NGC 281 is also known as the Pacman Nebula for its resemblance to the video game character.

The nebula was discovered in August 1883 by E. E. Barnard, who described it as “a large faint nebula, very diffuse.” The multiple star HD 5005, also called beta-1, was discovered by S. W. Burnham. It consists of an 8th-magnitude primary with four companions at distances between 1.4 and 15.7 seconds of arc. There has been no appreciable change in this quintuple system since the first measurements were made in 1875.

The nebula is visible in amateur telescopes from dark sky locations. In his book Deep Sky Wonders, Walter Scott Houston describes the appearance of the nebula in small telescopes.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Astro-Physics AP 130mm f/6.3 Starfire EDF
Imaging cameras: SBIG STXL-11002/FW8G-STXL
Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach1AP GTO with GTOCP3
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Astro-Physics AP 130mm f/6.3 Starfire EDF
Guiding cameras: SBIG STXL-11002/FW8G-STXL
Software: Pixinsight 1.8, Photoshop CS5, Maxim DL Pro 5
Filters: Astrodon 3nm SII, Astrodon 3nm OIII, Astrodon H-alpha 3 nm
Resolution: 2719×3600
Dates: Dec. 4, 2014, Dec. 6, 2014, Dec. 11, 2014
Astrodon 3nm OIII: 13×900″ bin 1×1
Astrodon 3nm SII: 14×900″ bin 2×2
Astrodon H-alpha 3 nm: 26×900″ bin 1×1
Integration: 13.2 hours
Avg. Moon age: 15.16 days
Avg. Moon phase: 91.20%
Locations: My back deck, Glen Ellyn, IL, United States

NGC 891


NGC 891 (also known as Caldwell 23) is an edge-on unbarred spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda. It was discovered by William Herschel on October 6, 1784. The galaxy is a member of the NGC 1023 group of galaxies in the Local Supercluster. It has an H II nucleus.The object is visible in small to moderate size telescopes as a faint elongated smear of light with a dust lane visible in larger apertures. In 1999, the Hubble Space Telescope imaged NGC 891 in infrared. In 2005, due to its attractiveness and scientific interest, NGC 891 was selected to be the first light image of the Large Binocular Telescope.[4] In 2012, it was again used as a first light image of the Discovery Channel Telescope with the Large Monolithic Imager. Supernova SN 1986J was discovered on August 21, 1986 at apparent magnitude 14.

RA Centre: 35.633 degrees
DEC center: 42.345 degrees
Direction: 90.030 degrees
Radius field: 0.168 degrees

Author: Roberto Colombari

Astrophoto of the day from SPONLI, 07.12.2014

Crescent Tricolour Start

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The Crescent Nebula (also known as NGC 6888, Caldwell 27, Sharpless 105) is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus, about 5000 light-years away. It was discovered by Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel in 1792. It is formed by the fast stellar wind from the Wolf-Rayet star WR 136 (HD 192163) colliding with and energizing the slower moving wind ejected by the star when it became a red giant around 250,000 to 400,000 years ago. The result of the collision is a shell and two shock waves, one moving outward and one moving inward. The inward moving shock wave heats the stellar wind to X-ray-emitting temperatures.

Imaging telescope / lens: Borg ED 101
Mount: AstroPhysics AP1200 AP1200GTO
Guide telescope / lens: Borg ED 101
Camera guide: QSI 683WSG-8 OAG QSI 683
Focal reducers: Borg Super reducer f / 4
Software: Pixinsight 1.8, Photoshop CS 6 Photoshop CS6
Filters: Astrodon OIII 5nm, Astrodon SII 5nm, Astrodon Ha 5nm
Accessories: Starlight Xpress lodestar Lodestar
Resolution: 3172×2287
Dates: November 23, 2014
Astrodon Ha 5nm: 4×1800 “-20C bin 1×1
Astrodon OIII 5nm: 4×1800 “bin 1×1
Astrodon SII 5nm: 2×1800 “-20C bin 1×1
Accumulation: 5.0 hours
Avg. Age of the Moon: 0.49 days
Avg. Phase of the Moon: 0.27%
Location: Home Observatory, Home, Worcestershire, United Kingdom

Author: Paddy

Astrophotography of the day by SPONLI 04.12.2014

Sun and solar activity 02.12.2014


INFO FROM SIDC – RWC BELGIUM 2014 Dec 02 11:50:40 Solar activity is low. The strongest flare, out of 5 low-level C-class flares reported in the last 24 hours, was the impulsive C5.2 flare (peaking at 08:05 UT) on December 2. The flare originated from the Catania sunspot group 18 (NOAA AR 2217), and does not seem to be associated with CME (currently available data give no indication about possible on disc signatures of the CME). Catania sunspot groups 18 and 24 (NOAA ARs 2217 and 2222) maintain beta-gamma configuration of their photospheric magnetic field and could be the source of C-class flares. An isolated M-class flare is still possible from the Catania sunspot group 24 (NOAA AR 2222). No Earth directed CMEs were observed during last 24 hours.The Earth is currently inside a fast solar wind with the speed of about 550 km/s. This high speed stream which arrived on the midday of December 01, is associated with the extended low-latitude coronal hole (between N25 and N70) which reached the central meridian on the morning of November 26 (the transition of the coronal hole across the central meridian lasted more than two days). During last 24 hours the interplanetary magnetic field was slightly elevated, reaching the magnitude of about 12nT, but its current value decrease to about 5nT. The arrival of the coronal hole high speed stream resulted in the unsettled to active geomagnetic conditions (K=3 reported by Dourbes, K=4 reported by IZMIRAN and NOAA reported Kp=4) in the evening of December 1 and early morning of December 2. The geomagnetic conditions are at the moment quiet to unsettled and expected to remain so in the coming hours.

North America Nebula


The North America Nebula (NGC 7000 or Caldwell 20) is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus, close to Deneb (the tail of the swan and its brightest star). The remarkable shape of the nebula resembles that of the continent of North America, complete with a prominent Gulf of Mexico. It is sometimes incorrectly called the “North American Nebula”.

Imaging telescope / lens: Skywatcher Equinox 80

Imaging camera: Canon 350D Baader

Mount: Losmandy G-11
Guide telescope / lens: Celestron C8
Focal reducers: TeleVue 0.8x Photo Reducer / Flattener TRF-2008
Programs: Adobe photoshop
Filters: eos clip UHC
Accessories: pl1m
RA Centre: 313.804 degrees
DEC center: 44.288 degrees
Pixel scale: 3,322 coal. sec / pixel
Direction: 169.677 degrees
The radius of the field: 1,915 degrees

Author: nono26

Astrophotography of the day by SPONLI, 03.12.2014

Sun online and solar activity 01.12.2014


INFO FROM SIDC – RWC BELGIUM 2014 Dec 01 12:33:26 Several low-level C-class flares and one M-class flare were reported during last 24 hours. A long duration M1.8 flare, observed this morning, peaked at 06:41 UT. The M-class flare, as well as few C-class flares, originated from the Catania sunspot group 24 (NOAA AR 2222) which maintains beta-gamma configuration of its photospheric magnetic field. Currently available data give no indication about possible on disc signatures of the associated CME, therefore, we conclude that the M1.8 flare was most probably confined flare. Four out of ten currently numbered sunspot groups visible on the solar disc have beta-gamma configuration of their photospheric magnetic field and could be the source of the C-class flares and possible also an isolated M-class flare in the coming hours. No Earth directed CMEs were observed during last 24 hours.The Earth is currently inside a slow solar wind, with the speed of about 430 km/s. The interplanetary magnetic field is stable with the magnitude of about 5nT. The geomagnetic conditions are at the moment quiet to unsettled and expected to remain so in the following hours.

Crab Nebula


The Crab Nebula (catalogue designations M1, NGC 1952, Taurus A) is a supernova remnant and pulsar wind nebula in the constellationof Taurus.Corresponding to a bright supernova recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054, the nebula was observed later by English astronomer John Bevis in 1731. At an apparent magnitude of 8.4, comparable to that of the largest moon of Saturn, it is not visible to the naked eye but can be made out using binoculars under favourable conditions.

Telescope / lens shooting: Celestron 8 SLT
Camera to capture: Canon Rebel T5i
Mount: CELESTRON Advanced VX
Program: IrfanView, O’Telescope BackyardEOS, Adobe Photoshop CS2, Deep Sky Stacker 3.3.2
Resolution: 4638×3270
Dates: November 28, 2014
Frames: 90×60 ”
Accumulation: 1.5 hours
Avg. Age of the Moon: 5.84 days
Avg. Phase of the Moon: 33.88%
RA Centre: 83.617 degrees
DEC center: 21.983 degrees
Pixel scale: 0.427 arc. sec / pixel
Direction: 100,600 degrees
Radius field: 0.336 degrees
Location: Rolnick Observatory, Westport, Connecticut, United States

Author: Michael Southam

Astrophoto of the day from SPONLI, 02.12.2014

Andromeda Galaxy

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The Andromeda Galaxy /ænˈdrɒmɨdə/ is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years (2.4×1019 km) from Earth[4] in the Andromeda constellation. Also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224, it is often referred to as the Great Andromeda Nebula in older texts. The Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy, but not the nearest galaxy overall. It gets its name from the area of the sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda, which was named after the mythological princess Andromeda. The Andromeda Galaxy is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 44 other smaller galaxies.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: SkyWatcher Black Diamond 80ED
Imaging cameras: Canon EOS T1i unmodified
Mount: Skywatcher NEQ6 PRO
Focal reducers: Skywatcher 0.85x Focal Reducer / Corrector for the ED80
Software: Stark Labs Nebulosity 3, O’Telescope BackyardEOS, PHD Guiding, Adobe Photoshop CS 6
Accessories: Kendrick Digifire 10 Dew Heater, KW Telescope Qhy5 CCD Guider
Resolution: 4357×2230
Dates: November 18, 2012
Frames: 20×120 ”
Accumulation: 0.7 hours
Avg. Age of the Moon: 4.66 days
Avg. Phase of the Moon: 22.61%
RA Centre: 10.632 degrees
DEC center: 41.282 degrees
Pixel scale: 1,858 coal. sec / pixel
Direction: -69.936 degrees
The radius of the field: 1,263 degrees

Author: John Burns

Аstrophotography of the day of  SPONLI, 01.12.2014