Tag Archives: space

Star Shots – Antares

Antares – a red supergiant star in the constellation Scorpius. This is a 5-minute stacked image of Antares and the surrounding region including the globular cluster Messier 4 (M4). Antares is now slowly heading toward the southwestern horizon after sunset, catch it soon before it is gone until next year. DETAILS: Canon 6D, 400mm lens, iOptron ZEQ25 mount.

Antares - a red giant star in the constellation Scorpius.

Antares – a red giant star in the constellation Scorpius.

Perseid Meteor Shower – Framed by Andromeda and Pleiades

Here is another image I snagged this morning at 2:57 AM local time in Weatherly, Pennsylvania. This image shows a Perseid meteor passing from the constellation Perseus and cutting through the sky between the Andromeda Galaxy and the Pleiades Star Cluster.

Perseid meteor from August 12, 2015.

Perseid meteor from August 12, 2015.

Image details – captured using a Canon 6D and Samyang 14mm lens set at f/2.8. ISO was set to 3200 and the exposure length was 40 seconds, all unguided.

Hope you have clear skies for this evenings show!

…Tom

Messier 22 – Globular Cluster

Messier 22 (M22 or NGC 6656) was photographed on July 16, 2015. The final image is composed of 14, 30-second images captured at ISO 3200. A Canon 6D camera was mounted on a Celestron 6″ telescope at prime focus. The imaging system was mounted on an iOptron ZEQ25 mount.

Subframes were captured using the software package Backyard EOS and the iOptron mount was being controlled using StarryNight Pro v6 software. The camera and mount are controlled by running ethernet cables to a desktop computer inside my home (using USB to Ethernet adapters).

The subframes were stacked using DeepSkyStacker along with 9, 30-second dark frames. The final image was stretched and processed in ImagesPlus and final mods were completed in Corel Paintshop Pro X5 software. Our LINKS page have links to all the software and hardware mentioned.

Messier 22

Messier 22

M22 is nothing less than spectacular. It is ranked in the six finest globulars in the entire Milky Way (from our observation point). Most rank M13 as being better in the Northern Hemisphere, I do not agree. What I like about this globular cluster is that the stars are easy to resolve since most are about 11th magnitude. The total number of stars in this system are believed to number about 500,000.

Steaming Teapot of Sagittarius - look for M22.

Steaming Teapot of Sagittarius – look for M22.

For Northern latitudes, enjoy this awesome globular cluster while it is high on the southern horizon over the next 60-days.

Clear skies!

…Tom

Broken Astrophotography

The Leisurely Scientist is looking for astronomical photographs that have been ruined by planes, objects, lighting, etc. to compile an album of ruined astronomical images called “Broken Astrophotography”.

Do you have an image of a plane flying through a Messier object? Please submit it! Please include a brief description, what was being imaged, and a link to your Facebook or personal web/blog for image credit/links. Images may be submitted to:  tom@leisurelyscientist.com

You can also upload them to our Facebook page, Leisurely Scientist.

I will be compiling the best of the broken images into an upcoming gallery here in the blog. Thanks for sending them!

My image is a plane flying through a sub-frame of Messier 51, still makes a pretty image.

Plane through M51 image.

Plane through M51 image.

MESSIER 44 – The Beehive Cluster

LSci LogoMessier 44 – The Beehive Cluster (or also called the Praesepe) is a fantastic open cluster to view and photograph using a wide-field setup. I first observed this open cluster on October, 18, 1977 and my comment in my journal was “Good open cluster over 350 stars”.  Understatement of the year…

This open cluster lies in the constellation Cancer, the location also creates a great many photo opportunities as it is located close to the ecliptic (the line that planets, the sun and moon follow across the sky) thus creating many different conjunctions. You can reference the finder chart below to find the location of M44 in the night sky on the night of March 31, 2015, just follow the line from the Moon to Jupiter as a pointer.  If you can’t get out tonight (because of the spring snow, sigh) just look straight up at 9:00 PM over the next couple weeks, the brightest object you see will be Jupiter.  Scan around the area of Jupiter with binoculars and you will find the Beehive.

The view below is from my location, roughly 40-degrees North latitude at 10:00 PM local time.

Beehive Finder Chart - chart generated using the software package STELLARIUM.

Beehive Finder Chart – chart generated using the software package STELLARIUM.

First, a few facts.  Its visual brightness is magnitude 3.7, so it is easily visible using a modest telescope and can easily be seen using binoculars (it is actually much nicer in a wide-field view). Distance is around 577 light years. Total number of stars in this cluster are in the range of 200 to 350.

The name Praesepe is Latin for “manger”.

According to Burnham’s Celestial Handbook, the Praesepe was used in ancient times as a weather indicator, if you couldn’t see it on a clear night it meant a violent storm was coming.

Galileo was the first to view the Beehive in the telescope and counted 36 bright stars in the group.

The wide-field image below was taken on March 12, 2015 using my standard wide-field astrophotography setup. Total exposure time was 18 minutes using 60-second subframes @ ISO 3200. The image was stacked using DeepSkyStacker, stretched with ImagesPlus and editing in Corel PaintShop Pro X5.

The Beehive Cluster, Messier 44, photographed by Tom Wildoner on March 12, 2015.  18-minutes total exposure using 18 stacked 60 seconds exposures.

The Beehive Cluster, Messier 44, photographed by Tom Wildoner on March 12, 2015. 18-minutes total exposure using 18 stacked 60 seconds exposures.

The image below is from earlier in the month showing the Beehive in a 100mm camera lens.

Photo taken by Tom Wildoner on March 11, 2015 using a Canon 6D and 100mm lens.

Photo taken by Tom Wildoner on March 11, 2015 using a Canon 6D and 100mm lens.

For at least the next month, the Beehive Cluster is high in the sky right after sunset, an excellent time to view and image deep-sky objects because they are at peak elevation and the atmosphere is the thinest.

Here are some submitted images from friends

Stephen Olson took this image of M44 using an Atik 420 color camera, Hyperstar on a celestron EDge HD8 scope.

M44 by Stephen Olson. You can visit Steve on Facebook by clicking is name.  Steve also helps manage the Messier Object Photography Group on Facebook, check it out.

M44 by Stephen Olson. You can visit Steve on Facebook by clicking is name. Steve also helps manage the Messier Object Photography Group on Facebook, check it out.

 

Roger Snee took the image below in March 2015  using a modded Canon 100D sitting on a Skywatcher 130 PDS Newtonian OTA and EQ6 AZ GT gem mount. ISO1600, 22 x 3min subs with darks, flats, dark flats and bias.

M44 by Roger Snee taken in March 2015 using a modded Canon 100D.

M44 by Roger Snee taken in March 2015 using a modded Canon 100D.

 

Don Curry took the image below on March 2, 2015 using 2 images 90 seconds each at ISO 100 with a Canon T2i camera attached to a Hyperstar III lens and a IDAS-D2 filter at F1.8 operating at 520mm with a converted Celestron C11 for fastar imaging.

M44 by Don Curry from March 2, 2015 with Canon T2i camera.

M44 by Don Curry from March 2, 2015 with Canon T2i camera.

Do you have an image of Messier 44?  Please share it with our readers by commenting on this article on our Facebook page.

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You can also reach the Leisurely Scientist on Twitter:

Twitter (@leisurelysci) https://twitter.com/leisurelysci

…and on Instagram  Instagram

…or via email at tom@leisurelyscientist.com

Enjoying the Messier Objects? Check out the Messier Object Photography group of Facebook.

See you soon!

…Tom

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