Gibbous Moon: 17 September 2021

•September 18, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Last night, for the first time in a while, I broke out the telescope. I thought I would try for a shot of the moon, two days before it is full. Being a bit before full moon, the image shows a lot of detail around the limb (left side of the images) that would be washed out at full moon.

The telescope is an Orion 120mm refractor (focal length 1,000mm; f/6.3). The camera was the Olympus Pen-F at prime focus. The settings were 1/160 second at ISO 200.

The raw file was processed in Photoshop with some enhancement using Luminar and then Topaz noise reduction and a little sharpening.

The biggest challenge was getting good focus because the whole rig is not very rigid. Nevertheless, I thought the result was reasonably sharp. Even the crops, which are only about 20% of the full frame, hold together.

(You can click on the images to see larger versions.)

Astrophotography at the Berkeley Art Works Friday September 3

•August 31, 2021 • Comments Off on Astrophotography at the Berkeley Art Works Friday September 3

M81: Galaxy in Andromeda

Stop by the Berkeley Art Works this Friday, September 3 from 5-9 pm during the First Friday Art Walk!
I will discuss astrophotography using remote telescopes over the Internet. I became interested in capturing images in space while staying at home during COVID. I will discuss the various aspects of remote astrophotography, including the use of telescopes in the northern and southern hemispheres, downloading and processing data, and software. I will also share many of the images I processed this past year.
The Berkeley Art Works is located at 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg.

 

Eta Carina Nebula in Hydrogen Alpha

•August 15, 2021 • 1 Comment

The image data was captured from telescope.live using the new 20cm Officina Stellare RH200 telescope at the El Sauce Observatory in Chile.

The observation included Hydrogen Alpha, Oxygen II, and Sulfur III narrowband exposures. I processed this only from the Halpha data, partially as an exercise, but also I guess because I have always loved black and white photography.

I will definitely go back and process the full image in color using all three filters. In the meantime, you can look at this image, which I captured and processed last year.

Sadr Region

•July 7, 2021 • Comments Off on Sadr Region

High above the northern summer sky is the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. Also known as the Northern Cross, the bright star at the center is Sadr (Gamma Cygnii). Sadr is approximately 1,800 light years away from the Milky Way and far behind it, at about 4,900 light years is an emission nebula that is ionized by the radiation of nearby stars. The visible part of the nebula is an HII region that is more than 100 light years across. While the nebula is referred to the Sadr Nebula, they are far apart and not related in any way other than being in the same line of site.

Sadr is a large bright star of magnitude 2.23 with 12 solar masses and 150 times the Sun’s radius. Sadr is about 33,000 times more luminous than the Sun.

The data for this image was captured with the Takahashi 10cm f/3.6 telescope at the IC Astronomy Observatory with Hydrogen Alpha, S2, and Oxygen3 filtration. The image was processed with Pixinsight and Photoshop.

 

Antennae Galaxies

•July 4, 2021 • Comments Off on Antennae Galaxies

 

Designated NGC4038/NGC4039, this object is what happens when two galaxies come within contact range of each other. The name is due to the two long tails of stars and dust, which has been ejected as a result of the collision. The name refers to the resmblance of two insect antennae. The galaxies are about 45 million light-years from the Milky Way.

According to the article on the Wikipedia, “Within 400 million years, the Antennae’s nuclei will collide and become a single core with stars, gas, and dust around it. Observations land simulations of colliding galaxies suggest that the Antennae Galaxies will eventually form and elliptical galaxy.”

The image data was captured with the Planewave CDK24 telescope at the El Sauce Observatory in Chili through the website telescope.com. Data was captured with luminance, red, green, and blue filters. The image was processed using Pixinsight, Photoshop, Luminar, and Topaz Denoise AI.

 

Rim Nebula

•July 1, 2021 • 1 Comment

The Rim Nebula, catelogued as NGC 6188 in the constellation Ara, is illuminated by the open star cluster NGC 6193. This is a star-forming region and the complex texture of the gas and dust clouds are sculpted by massive, young stars that have “recently” formed within the last few million years. The data was captured with the Planewave CDK24 telescope in the El Sauce Observatory in Chile and downloaded from the website telescope.live.

The image was processed in my studio using Pixinsight and Photoshop with noise reduction from Topaz and color enhancement from Luminar AI.

Gabriela Mistral Nebula

•June 9, 2021 • Comments Off on Gabriela Mistral Nebula


Known as the “Gabriela Mistral Nebula”, it is a combination of the open cluster NGC 3324 and the emission nebula IC 2599, located in the Carina constellation. The object is northwest from the Carina Nebula shown in a previous post and is associated with the Carina Nebula. The name refers to Gabriela Mistral, the Chilean Nobel Prize winner for literature.

It is described as a “cosmic cloud” sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from the hot young stars in the NGC 3324 cluster. It is located about 7,500 light-years from Earth and is about 35 light-years across.

The image above  was processed from a data set captured by Nik Szymanek using the Planewave CDK24 telescope operated by the Telescope.live web site in the El Sauce Observatory in Chile. The images were filtered for hydrogen alpha, sulphur 3, and oxygen 2 emissions and processed using Pixinsight and Photoshop.

As a contrast, the image below was processed from a data set captured through with the Plane Wave CDK 17 Dall-Kirkham telescope operated by Slooh.com. It is located at the observatory of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile in Lad Dehesa, Chile.

This image was captured using luminance, red, green, and blue filters and processed with Pixinsight and Photoshop. This filtration usually results in more realistic colors. For example, the hydrogen gas around this object is rendered red, which is the color we would see if we viewed the object directly in a large telescope that gathered enough light for our eyes to respond.

Astrophoto Juried into Photo21

•June 7, 2021 • 2 Comments

I am excited to have my image of the “Statue of Liberty” nebula accepted into the Photo21 juried photography exhibit sponsored by the Berkeley Arts Council. The exhibit will be on display June 3 – July3, 2021, at the Berkeley Art Works in Martinsburg.

Star Nursery

•June 6, 2021 • 2 Comments

At a distance of about 460 light-years, the cloud of gas and dust around the star Rho Ophiuchi is one of the closest star-forming regions to our Solar System. The cloud fills an area of sky 4.5×6.5 degrees.

The data was captured with three different observations using the Takahashi FSQ-106ED 10-cm telescope at Heaven’s Mirror Observatory in Australia over the telescope.live website.

The images were captured through red, green, and blue filters plus a clear “luminance” filter. After downloading he raw data, I combined the images using Pixinsight, Photoshop, and Luminar 4 to produce the color image.

The Triffid and Lagoon Nebulas

•June 6, 2021 • Comments Off on The Triffid and Lagoon Nebulas

This wide field image of two of the famous Messier objects was captured with the Takahashi FSQ-106ED Telescope in the Heaven’s Mirror Observatory in Yass, New South Wales, in Australia.

These nebulosities float in a vast sea of stars in the Sagittarius region of the Milky Way.

The image was processed using Pixinsight and Photoshop from data from three separate observations with the 10 centimeter telescope. The final image was cropped to bring the objects a bit closer and balance the composition.

One of the interesting parts of the process was to remove the stars from the image so that the background nebulosity of dust and gas can be edited and refined without changing the pinpoint rendering of the stars.

These are two objects in the Messier Catalog.The Triffid Nebula above left is catalogued as Messier 20 and the larger Lagoon nebula is catalogued as Messier 8. In the nineteenth century, Charles Messier catalogued over 100 objects that he found while he was hunting for comets. He catalogued these objects as objects that were not comets.

 
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