30 Jun 2010

On Summer break...

No darkness here until August! 

But some plans are made already for the next season...

27 Apr 2010

M86 and friends

I imaged this one at the end of March but the data was so poor that I almost threw everything away... There was quite a lot of high clouds which brought huge gradients to all channels.

Here's 2h of luminance and 20:30:30 min of RGB.

20 Apr 2010

Arp 188 final

I decided to end the season 2009-2010 with this one so I gave it more light. Last two nights I took some more blue and quite a lot of Luminance.

So here it is!!

This one has 7h 20min (22*20min) of Luminance and 2h 35min of RGB (50:50:55 binned 2*2, 5min subs).

I added all the luminance data to next one and processed that without deconvolution which gave much softer result. This one has 11h 10min of luminance and 2h 35min RGB.

I'm not sure which one is better so I let viewer to decide...

14 Apr 2010

Arp 188: Tadpole galaxy

This season is about to end and I think this will be one of my last images for 2009-2010.

This faint (mag 14.4) barred spiral galaxy is located in constellation Draco and is located about 400 million light years away.  Its most dramatic features are a trail of stars about 280 thousand light-years long. 

First night I got about 4h30min of exposure but not a single usable frame of blue. But I was lucky and was able to image blue channel the next day, just before clouds arrived. But I got only 30min which really isn't enough for this object.

Total exposure of this image is 6hrs: L=2*15min+20*10min, RG=10*5min, B=6*5min (RGB binned 2*2)

Here's only L-channel, 3h 50min

27 Mar 2010

SkyWatcher ED80 Pro

I just noticed that there's no proper picture of my imaging setups. So here's the one with smaller scope:

From left: QHY9, QHY filter wheel with Astronomik's HaLRGB filters, TS 9mm OAG with Atk314e, WO 0.8 reducer and finally the ED 80Pro with Robofocus. The mount is EQ-6 SynTrek.

24 Mar 2010


This spiral galaxy was my next target. It is located approximately 39 million light years away.

Total exposure of the image is 8h 15min (L=5h 50min, RGB=50:40:55).

18 Mar 2010

M101; Pinwheel Galaxy

This is another part of my two-night project. In both nights I started with M65&M66 and after 3-4 hours of imaging continued with this one.

This can be found in constellation Ursa Major and lies about 27 million light years away. With a diameter of 170000 light years it's nearly twice the size of the Milky Way (our own galaxy).

Picture have a total exposure of 5h 35min (L=8*10min+9*15min, RGB=8*5min each, bin2*2)

17 Mar 2010

Part of Leo Triplet; M65 and M66

I imaged these galaxies in two separate nights. And the latter one was the first I monitored over internet. Everything worked fine so maybe next summer I have to update my observatory a bit... Maybe to fully automated version. We'll see!!

Like mentioned above, these two spiral galaxies are located in constellation Leo. Distance from here is about 22 million light years. The missing part of the triplet is NGC3625.

Image is LRGB combination, with total exposure of 7h15min (L=12*600+11*900sec, RGB=10*300sec each binned2*2).

Now I have to say that I'm very happy with the result!!

10 Mar 2010

C/2005 L3 (McNaught) and C/2007 Q3 (Siding Spring)

On monday weather forecast was clear sky but I gave up at midnight because sky still was filled with clouds. Yesterday forecast was cloudy but sky was almost clear until 10pm. There were scattered clouds so I didn't even try any deep sky imaging. So I aimed my scope to few comets!

First one I was going to image on monday. Or actually I was going to image M94 but the McNaught was right beside it. On tuesday they still were so close that I got them to same field. I knew that the comet was quite faint, on mid January it was measured to be at magnitude 14.9 but I wanted to try to capture it.

Comet is on right and slightly up of the galaxy (M94). Exposure was 4*2min + 1*5min of luminance (bin3*3).

I tried to measure comet's brightness and here's the result (red line. Others are magnitudes of reference stars):

Another one that I had time to image was C/2007 Q3. This is one of the brightest comets on the northern hemisphere at the moment. It was mag 11.1 about month ago.

This is combination of 5*2min exposures binned 2*2 (L).

And here's photometry: (which is quite weird because comet's should be brighter than mag 10...)

7 Mar 2010

NGC 4565; Needle Galaxy

This winter has been awful for astrophotography... Last clear night was about three weeks ago and after that has been snowing regularly. Here in southern Finland is now over 80cm of snow.

This time I changed my Meade's focal reducer to Celestron's f/6.3 which has much greater back focus. I put the distance to 105mm which gives me 1325mm of focal length (pinpoint) and an f/6.5 scope. And no problems with OAG picture anymore, great!!

This faintish (mag 9,5) galaxy can be found in constellation Coma Berenices and is about 20 million light years away.

Picture is taken with Celestron's C8 SCT f/6.5 and QHY9.

Exposure: Luminance 9*10min (bin1*1) and colors 8*5min (bin2*2).

20 Feb 2010

M64: Black eye galaxy

Spring time sky is full of galaxies but unfortunately they are all really small...

I finally changed my 8 inch Celestron to the mount. I've tried it few times earlier but I've never took proper images through it. Biggest problem is that I bought Meade's f/6.3 focal reducer which has really short distance to the chip, only some 55mm. And I have OAG and filter wheel in front of the camera... And because the distance isn't right, there's quite bad coma near edges and OAG's mirror and that causes really odd shaped stars to the guider.

But when I finally get everything working I was quite satisfied with the result. Even though seeing was awful, FWHD was over 4 all the time.

Here is sleeping beauty galaxy or M64 of constellation Coma Berenices. Exposure is 2h 15min of Luminance and 4*5min of RGB (bin 3*3).

30 Jan 2010

IC 5146: Cocoon nebula re-processed

M51: Whirlpool galaxy re-processed

I had good time trying to re-process my old images when I sat in a hotel room in my business trip.

Here's M51 imaged with Atik314e.

25 Jan 2010

M38, NGC1907, IC417, NGC1931, Sh2-237 and parts of Sh2-230

There's a lot of stuff in this part of constellation Auriga. A lot of dim nebulosity of those Sharpless -objects and many open clusters.

I took the color data when I had problems with that camera driver, so RGB channels are not calibrated. Processing this object was really hard for my skills, because I wanted to maintain the colors of the stars. But I'm quite happy for the final result!

The image is Ha(HaR)GB with exposure of 6*20min (Ha) and 3*10min (RGB).

M45; The Pleiades

I've planned to image this nice object since I started few years ago, and now I finally aimed my telescope towards it.

Camera's new driver is working perfectly so imaging is now more than easy!! Just have to make a script in CCDCommander and let it do all the work. But there's still some final adjustments left to do with it...

Exposure: 6*10 minutes of luminance and 6*5 minutes of RGB (bin2*2)

14 Jan 2010

M81 and M82 with colors

Few days ago I tested and adjusted new software of the main camera. I got the binning modes running again so I also calibrated Focusmax and made some test drives of whole system. Everything run smoothly so I took more images of these galaxies.

Of course the clouds came in again and stopped my session to only 3 images of blue channel so it is weaker than the others. There's also a lot of noise left in L-channel.

 I'm not satisfied with this now but maybe I'll give this some more light later...

5*10 min of luminance, 6*5 min (bin 2*2) of red and green and 3*5 min (bin 2*2) of Blue.

10 Jan 2010

M81 and M82

There has been some cold related problems in my main camera's driver so I haven't been able to take proper pictures. And temperature has been less than -20C on every clear night for a last week.

Yesterday before the clouds came I took few images of M81 region with luminance filter.

There's only three 10 minutes exposures in the picture.