Category Archives: Astrophotography

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Tree


NGC 2264: Cone Nebula at bottom with inverted Christmas Tree cluster above the cone; the bright star just above the cone is the tree topper and the very bright star at the top of the image (S Monocerotis) is the center of the tree trunk. The Fox Fur Nebula is at the top right corner. The Snowflake nebula is in the middle.

Credit: ESO

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

Heart Nebula


The Heart NebulaIC 1805Sh2-190, lies some 7500 light years away from Earth and is located in the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. This is an emission nebula showing glowing gas and darker dust lanes. The nebula is formed by plasma of ionized hydrogen and free electrons.

Telescope / lens shooting: Stellarvue SV105 APO
Camera to capture: QSI WSG-683 5
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G + EQDIR
Camera guide: QHYCCD Q5L-II-M
Focal reducers: Hotech SCA Field Flattener
Program: AstroTortilla Plate Solver, Photoshop CS 2 Photoshop CS2, Cartes du Ciel Planitarium, Nebulosity 3.1 Nebulosity und PHD
Filters: LRGB, Astrodon OIII 3nm, Astrodon 5nm H-alpha
Resolution: 2930×1936
Dates: September 1, 2014, October 25, 2014, October 26, 2014
Astrodon 5nm H-alpha: 14×1800 ”
LRGB: 30×180 ”
Astrodon OIII 3nm: 12×2700 ”
Accumulation: 17.5 hours
Avg. Age of the Moon: 3.01 days
Avg. Phase of the Moon: 13.59%
RA Centre: 38.074 degrees
DEC center: 61.486 degrees
Direction: 80.860 degrees
Radius field: 0.772 degrees

Author: Josh Smith

Astrophotography of the day by SPONLI 05.12.2014

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

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 theAndromeda 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 princessAndromeda. 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 80ED black diamond
Imaging cameras: Canon 1000D Eos
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Skywatcher 80ED black diamond
Guiding cameras: Philips SPC900 SPC900
Resolution: 3826×2530
Dates: Nov. 1, 2014
Frames: 50×240″ ISO400
Integration: 3.3 hours
Darks: ~21
Flats: ~41
Bias: ~60
Avg. Moon age: 8.33 days
Avg. Moon phase: 60.00%
RA center: 10.647 degrees
DEC center: 41.287 degrees
Pixel scale: 2.252 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: -97.228 degrees
Field radius: 1.435 degrees

Author: Bottles74

Astrophotography of the day of SPONLI, 08.11.2014












































Dumbbell Nebula



The Dumbbell Nebula (also known as Apple Core Nebula, Messier 27, M 27, or NGC 6853) is a planetary nebula in the constellationVulpecula, at a distance of about 1,360 light years.

This object was the first planetary nebula to be discovered; by Charles Messier in 1764. At its brightness of visual magnitude 7.5 and its diameter of about 8 arcminutes, it is easily visible in binoculars, and a popular observing target in amateur telescopes.

The Dumbbell Nebula appears to be shaped like an prolate spheroid and is viewed from our perspective along the plane of its equator. In 1992, Moreno-Corral et al. computed that its rate of expansion in the plane of the sky was no more than 2.3″ per century. From this, an upper limit to the age of 14,600 yr may be determined. In 1970, Bohuski, Smith, and Weedman found an expansion velocity of 31 km/s. Given its semi-minor axis radius of 1.01 ly, this implies that the kinematic age of the nebula is some 9,800 years.

Like many nearby planetary nebulae, the Dumbbell contains knots. Its central region is marked by a pattern of dark and bright cusped knots and their associated dark tails (see picture). The knots vary in appearance from symmetric objects with tails to rather irregular tail-less objects. Similarly to the Helix Nebula and the Eskimo Nebula, the heads of the knots have bright cusps which are local photoionizationfronts.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Meade LX200 12″ GPS Pier mount
Imaging cameras: QSI 640 WSG-8
Mounts: Meade LX200 fork mount standard fork mount
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Borg 101ED/F6.4
Guiding cameras: SBIG STi-C
Focal reducers: Starizona SCT Corrector f/7.5
Software: Cyanogen Maxim DL5, Software Bisque TheSky
Filters: Astronomik Ha 12nm, Asronomik OIII , Astronomic SII 12nm
Accessories: Shoestring Astronomy FCUSB, Focuser JMI EVN-2
Resolution: 2048×2048
Dates: Oct. 1, 2014
Locations: Home Observatory
Frames: 33×300″
Integration: 2.8 hours
Avg. Moon age: 6.54 days
Avg. Moon phase: 41.10%
RA center: 299.901 degrees
DEC center: 22.708 degrees
Pixel scale: 0.722 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: -10.793 degrees
Field radius: 0.291 degrees

Autor: Ray G, 04.10.2014

Triangulum Galaxy



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The Triangulum Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 3 million light-years (ly) from Earth in the constellation Triangulum. It is catalogued as Messier 33 or NGC 598, and is sometimes informally referred to as the Pinwheel Galaxy, a nickname it shares withMessier 101. The Triangulum Galaxy is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way, theAndromeda Galaxy and about 44 other smaller galaxies. It is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed with the naked eye.

The Triangulum Galaxy is sometimes informally referred to as the “Pinwheel Galaxy” by some amateur astronomy references and in some public outreach websites. However, the SIMBAD Astronomical Database, a professional astronomy database that contains formal designations for astronomical objects, indicates that the name Pinwheel Galaxy is used to refer to Messier 101, and several other amateur astronomy resources and other public outreach websites also identify Messier 101 by that name.

Under exceptionally good viewing conditions with no light pollution, the Triangulum Galaxy can be seen with the naked eye. It is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed without the aid of a telescope. Being a diffuse object, its visibility is strongly affected by small amounts of light pollution. It ranges from easily visible by direct vision in dark skies to a difficult averted vision object in rural or suburban skies. For this reason, Triangulum is one of the critical sky marks of the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Skywatcher Equinox 100 ED
Imaging cameras: Canon 1100Da
Mounts: Skywatcher HEQ5 PRO
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Skylux / ” LIDLSCOPE ” Achromat 70mm f/10
Guiding cameras: Skywatcher Synguider
Focal reducers: 0.85 Focal Reducer-Flattner(ED80) Skywatcher
Software: DeepSky Stacker 3.3.2, PS 2, Fitswork Photoshop
Resolution: 4290×2856
Dates: Sept. 29, 2014
Frames: 6×900″
Integration: 1.5 hours
Avg. Moon age: 4.52 days
Avg. Moon phase: 21.35%
RA center: 23.635 degrees
DEC center: 30.863 degrees
Pixel scale: 1.356 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: 95.561 degrees
Field radius: 0.971 degrees

Autor: Enrico, 03.10.2014




47 Tucanae (NGC 104)

47 Tucanae (NGC 104) or just 47 Tuc is a globular cluster located in the constellation Tucana. It is about 16,700 light years away from Earth, and 120 light years across. It can be seen with the naked eye, with a visual apparent magnitude of 4.9. Its number comes not from the Flamsteedcatalogue, but the more obscure 1801 “Allgemeine Beschreibung und Nachweisung der Gestirne nebst Verzeichniss” compiled by Johann Elert Bode.

47 Tucanae was discovered by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1751, who thought it was the nucleus of a bright comet. Its southern location had hidden it from European observers until then. The cluster appears roughly the size of the full moon in the sky under ideal conditions.

It is the second brightest globular cluster in the sky (after Omega Centauri), and is noted for having a very bright and dense core. It is also one of the most massive globular clusters in the Galaxy, containing millions of stars.

The core of 47 Tuc was the subject of a major survey for planets, using the Hubble Space Telescope to look for partial eclipses of stars by their planets. No planets were found, though 10-15 were expected based on the rate of planet discoveries around stars near the Sun. This indicates that planets are relatively rare in globular clusters. A later ground-based survey in the uncrowded outer regions of the cluster also failed to detect planets when several were expected. This strongly indicates that the low metallicity of the environment, rather than the crowding, is responsible.

47 Tuc’s dense core contains a number of exotic stars of scientific interest. Globular clusters efficiently sort stars by mass, with the most massive stars falling to the center. 47 Tuc contains at least 21 blue stragglers near its core. It also contains hundreds of X-ray sources, including stars with enhanced chromospheric activity due to their presence in binary star systems, cataclysmic variable stars containing white dwarfs accreting from companion stars, and low-mass X-ray binaries containing neutron stars that are not currently accreting, but can be observed by the X-raysemitted from the hot surface of the neutron star. 47 Tuc has 23 known millisecond pulsars, the second largest population of pulsars in any globular cluster. These pulsars are thought to be spun up by the accretion of material from binary companion stars, in a previous X-ray binaryphase. The companion of one pulsar in 47 Tucanae, 47 Tuc W, seems to still be transferring mass towards the neutron star, indicating that this system is completing a transition from being an accreting low-mass X-ray binary to a millisecond pulsar. X-ray emission has been individually detected from most millisecond pulsars in 47 Tuc with the Chandra X-ray Observatory, likely emission from the neutron star surface, and gamma-ray emission has been detected with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope from its millisecond pulsar population (making 47 Tuc the first globular cluster to be detected in gamma-rays).

There is no evidence yet for the existence of any black holes in 47 Tuc; Hubble Space Telescope data provides the strongest constraint on the mass of any possible black hole at its center, < 1500 times the mass of our Sun.

In December 2008, Ragbir Bhathal of the University of Western Sydney claimed the detection of a strong laser-like signal from the direction of 47 Tucanae.