Tuesday, March 25, 2008

M45 and Nebulocity

This image was taken on 4th March when the sky was super clear!
I have used photoshop to try to bring out the nebulocity in the cluster. The blue glow is caused by gas that is ionised by the hot, blue stars in the cluster. I had to play with this for quite a while because I kept getting a 'ghosting' effect when the 60 images were stacked.
The result is in fact only 7 images @ 45 sec stacked.
Brings out the nebulocity nicely!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Crab Nebula

Supernova remanant M1, The Crab Nebula.
Taken on 9th February with the Canon 350D, about 70 exposures at 45 seconds, ISO800.
Again, this is another object that I have not been able to find by just using skymaps and 'star-hopping'. Very frustrating...but now I have managed to image this object a couple of times with help from the SLS GoTo mount and Skywatcher ST80. A feint object really, so I am working at the limit of my present set-up. You can see 'The Crab Nebula' clearly, but does not look much like a crab! I cannot bring out any of the 'filaments' using Photoshop that bring out any detail. I think that longer exposures are needed to capture detail.
I've been investigating buying a Skywatcher 80ED1 Pro (APO Refractor), this seems like the next logical step in order to move on to better imaging with the SLT mount.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Space Shuttle Night Lift-Off

Space Shuttle Endeavour on it's way to the ISS.
Fantastic image of the Space Shuttle this morning on it's way for a 16 day misson to the International Space Station with part of a large Japanese laboratory. The lift-off was about 5.00am here.
Now, when there is a Space Shuttle mission it has always been possible to see the ISS passing overhead, so maybe I will try again to capture some images with the Skywatcher 130 telescope and webcam.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Whirlpool Galaxy M51

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy
Wow! I've waited a long time to try to capture this one!
I gave up trying to see this galaxy with my Skywatcher 130 last year. It is really hard to find in the constellation of The Plough and I just could not find it. Since then The Plough has been low down in the North East so I have had to wait until it is high enough and clear enough to attempt to find it with the SLT computerised mount and Skywatcher ST80 telescope. I was confident that I could find it, but not sure how well to image it.

The image above is beautiful, don't forget that this is taken with a wide-field, short focal length, 80mm scope. I'm amazed!
Here are some details: 60 exposures, 45 sec each, ISO 800 with my Canon 350D. Taken on the 4th March 2008.
A beautiful clear night, the best seeing for a long time!