SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M64 (Black Eye Galaxy)

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: Celestron/Baader Multi Purpose Coma Corrector (MPCC)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 32 x 8min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 4hrs, 16min
Date: 5/17/2007 9:38:43 PM PDT (Start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Sharpening, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is M64, aka, the “Black Eye Galaxy”, a spiral seyfert galaxy in the constellation of Coma Berenices. Seyfert galaxies have an active galactic nucleus containing a supermassive black hole. A higher resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
Milky Way (Core)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Milky Way (Core)

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 14mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 32 x 4min @ ISO 200
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 8min
Date: 7/25/06 11:11:40 PM PDT (start)
Location: Montebello Open Space Preserve (near Palo Alto, CA, USA)
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: Manual
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Masked Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, compositing, JPG conversion
  • Mencoder: AVI conversion (animations)
  • PTAssembler: Panorama creation

Image Description:

This is my first attempt at an ultra-widefield image of the Milky Way, inspired, in part, by Axel Mellinger's astonishing All-Sky Milky Way Panorama to which my modest attempt hardly compares. Check out the next frame to the left, shot soon after this image was taken, and also a panorama containing both of these images. Also check out the large (712 kB) or small (113 kB) animation, showing the earth rotating undernearth the Milky Way over the course of several hours. Each frame of the animation is one of the 32 exposures that were ultimately stacked to form the image shown above.

The Canon 14mm lens captures a generous 77° × 56° swath of sky with the 350D's sensor. But that large field comes with a significant amount of distortion and chromatic aberration towards the edges, surpassed only by (here comes a technical term) a boatload of coma, as can be seen in the higher-resolution image. (These aberrations did not appear to improve by stopping the lens down to f/4.0 or to even f/5.6.)

Those of us at mid-Northern latitudes are at a significant disadvantage when trying to shoot the Milky Way's core. This is because the core is located in the Southern Celestial Hemisphere, at a Declination of -29°. Therefore, it never gets higher than roughly 23.5° above the southern horizon at my latitude. And because I have fairly tall mountains to the south, well, a road trip to a site with better horizons was in order.

So, the other member of the Saratoga Astronomical Society (aka Rich) and I loaded up the RX300, and headed to Montebello Open Space Preserve. Montebello is a reasonably dark site with very good horizons in almost all directions. I think it was well worth it, because the photo above reaches Declinations within a few degrees of what is theoretically achievable at our latitude.

Processing this photo was a significant challenge, as the usable portion of the image — i.e., that portion which was above the horizon — changed appreciably from frame to frame. I therefore wrote some code to implement what I've named Masked Kappa-Sigma Stacking. The algorithm allows only valid data to be included in the sigma computation and, ultimately, in the stack at any given pixel location. A mask image determines which data is valid and which is not (i.e., because it's at or below the horizon) for each, respective image. Of course, the natural and unavoidable consequence of such an algorithm is that the closer you get to the horizon, the noiser the image, because relatively few exposures are being stacked. In the limit, only a single image is being “stacked”. And, of course, the closer to the horizon, the more atmosphere the camera is looking through, and the worse the captured image will be regardless. A future article will describe this technique in detail.

Mouse over the image to see constellation outlines and some other annotations. The image is oriented along the galactic plane, which is to say, the Milky Way's North Galactic Pole is up. Earth's North is inclined at roughly 27° with respect to the galactic plane (63° with respect to the North Galactic Pole), as can be seen by the direction arrows in the mouse-over. A higher resolution image is also available.

 
B33 (Horsehead Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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B33 (Horsehead Nebula)   [obsolete]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Orion ED80 (80mm f/7.5 APO Refractor)
Configuration: Focal Reduced
Additional Optics: William Optics 2" APO 0.8x Reducer/Field Flattener
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 480mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/6
Exposure: 21 x 8min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 48min
Date: 2/21/2006 7:35:35 PM PST (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Compositing, Levels, Desumdging, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is B33, aka the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation of Orion. Photos of this stunning object captivated me as a kid, and were among the many things that kindled my interest in astronomy. In that sense, capturing this image is satisfying at a number of levels, even though it could probably use another several hours of exposure. There was a nasty internal reflection from Alnitak that I had to de-smudge-i-fy in Photoshop in order to remove. Not sure what caused it, but it most certainly involves interactions among the Hutech Type I UV/IR block filter, the WO reducer, and the ED80 objective. Time for some science to figure out the culprit.

This is my second attempt at the Horsehead. My previous attempt from last year just ain't all that great. This one is much better. Funny what happens when you triple the effective exposure time. <grin> Mouse-over the image above to see the annotations, and see the link to last year's image for more information about this target. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is left.

 
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6960, NGC 6992, NGC 6995 (Veil Nebula Widefield)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6960, NGC 6992, NGC 6995 (Veil Nebula Widefield)

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/2.8
Exposure: 45 x 4min @ ISO 200
Total Exposure: 3hrs, 0min
Date: 9/27/2005 8:30:51 PM PDT (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: Manual
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a widefield shot of the Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant in the constellation of Cygnus. Even with 3hrs of exposure, this faint nebula tends not to stand out very well from its rich background of Milky Way stars. A higher resolution image of this widefield shot is also available, as is a closeup of NGC 6992 (the Eastern portion) from last year. North is up.

 
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6992 (Network Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6992 (Network Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: Celestron/Baader Multi Purpose Coma Corrector (MPCC)
Filter: Hutech Hα Front Filter (HA-FF)
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 32 x 8min @ ISO 400 (RGB), 32 x 8min @ ISO 1600 (Hα)
Total Exposure: 8hrs, 32min
Date: 9/21/2006 (RGB); 9/22/2006 (Hα)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, HαRGB combination, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, sharpening, JPG conversion
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction

Image Description:

This is NGC 6992, aka the Network Nebula and the Eastern portion of the Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant in the constellation of Cygnus. This image consists of 4+ hrs of RGB exposure and 4+ hrs of Hα exposure over two nights. See my recent NGC 6960 image for more details on processing. Also, for grins, check out my previous attempt. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is left.

 
Jupiter
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Jupiter   [obsolete]

[Hα+R G B]

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Eyepiece Projection
Additional Optics: Celestron "Kit" 9mm Plössl
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 6650mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/33.2
Exposure: 20 x 0.3 second @ ISO 100
Date: 6/21/2004, 9:41pm PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: Manual
Focus: Manual
Dithering: None
Guiding: None

Processing:

  • IRIS: registration, stacking, wavelet processing, cropping
  • Photoshop: Saturation, levels, JPG conversion

Image Description:

A decent Jupiter picture, but DSLRs just can't compete with webcams for planetary imaging in my opinion. The dark spot in the center of the North Equatorial Band is Jupiter's moon Ganymede. The pale, reddish patch on the far right side of the South Equatorial Band is Jupiter's Great Red Spot, affectionately known these days as the Great Pale Spot, since it's color has faded over the years. This is a crop of the full-size image. Earth's North is up, so Jupiter appears tilted counter-clockwise by 23.5°.

 
M78 (Reflection Nebula)
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M78 (Reflection Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: SBIG ST-2000XM
Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
Scope: TMB 152/1200 APO Refractor
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: Astrodon RGB I-Series Filters
Effective Focal Length: 1200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/7.9
Exposure: {15 R, 13 G, 12 B} × 8min @ -20°C
Total Exposure: 5hrs, 20min
Date: 2/09/2008 10:08 PM PST, 2/10/2008 07:24 PM PST (Start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: CCDSoft
Focus: FocusMax
Dithering: CCD Commander
Guiding: Self Guided

Processing:

  • IRIS: Registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Dark subtraction, Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction
  • Photoshop: Neil's Trick, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is M78, a reflection nebula n the constellation of Orion. This was shot over two really horrible nights, with awful transparency and a bunch of high clouds. This object requires tons of exposure on pristine nights to do it justice. The colors do look pretty cool though, even in this modest attempt. A higher resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
Moon and Venus
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Moon and Venus

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Orion ED80 (80mm f/7.5 APO Refractor)
Configuration: Negative Projection (Barlowed)
Additional Optics: William Optics 2" APO 0.8x Reducer/Field Flattener
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 480mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/6
Exposure: 62 x 1/1000s @ ISO 100 (Still); 106 x [ibid.] (Animation)
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 0min
Date: 5/19/2007 8:11:11 PM PDT (Start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, Registration, Stacking, White Balance, Gamma stretch
  • JimP: Flat field, Pattern-noise removal
  • Photoshop: Sharpening, levels, cropping, JPG conversion
  • Mencoder: AVI creation

Image Description:

This is a conjunction of the Moon and Venus, separated by a degree or so during twilight on the night of May 19, 2007. The above (still) image is a stack of 62 exposures.

Far more interesting are the following animations, each consisting of 106 exposures:

A higher resolution image is also available. Zenith is up (north can be seen by mousing-over the image).

 
NGC 7635 (Bubble Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 7635 (Bubble Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: SBIG ST-2000XM
Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
Scope: AP Starfire 160EDF APO Refractor
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: Astrodon SII, Hα, OIII 6nm Filters
Effective Focal Length: 1200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/7.5
Exposure: {8 Hα, 14 OIII, 16 SII} × 32min @ -15°C
Total Exposure: 20hrs, 16min
Date: 8/9/2008
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: CCD Commander
Focus: FocusMax
Dithering: CCD Commander
Guiding: Self Guided

Processing:

  • IRIS: Registration
  • JimP: Dark subtraction, Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: JPG conversion
  • CCDStack: Deconvolution

Image Description:

This is NGC 7635, aka, the “Bubble Nebula”, an emission nebula in the constellation of Cassiopeiae. This is the first tricolor narrowband image with my new AP 160 Starfire EDF refractor.

Mousing off the image reveals a “Hubble Palette” narrowband image, with R:G:B = SII:Hα:OIII. Mouse-over the image to see a pseudo-“True Color” image, in which those narrowband emission lines are mapped to their approximate color as seen by human vision. Specifically, the red SII and Hα wavelengths are mapped to red, and the aqua (blue-green) OIII wavelength is mapped to both green and blue. Also, a smidge of Hα is added into blue to simulate the Hβ wavelength.

Even after 8 hours of Sii data and 7 hours of Oiii, the image was still fairly noisy in those channels, so I replaced the luminance with the Hα image and cranked the color saturation a little. This really tamed the noise while preserving the essence of the tricolor image.

A higher resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
NGC 6781 (Planetary Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 6781 (Planetary Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: SBIG ST-2000XM
Mount: Takahashi NJP
Scope: Takahashi Mewlon 180
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: Astrodon RGB I-Series Filters
Effective Focal Length: 2160mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/12
Exposure: L: 21 × 8min (1×1); RGB: 7 × 8min (1×1)
Total Exposure: 5hrs, 36min
Date: 8/15/2007 9:21pm PDT (L), 9/4/2007 9:30pm PDT (RGB)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: CCDSoft
Focus: CCDSoft
Dithering: Manual
Guiding: Self Guided

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal li>JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • CCDStack: R-L, LRGB combine
  • Photoshop: scaling, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is NGC 6781, a planetary nebula n the constellation of Aquila. After a couple of false starts trying to figure out the new camera, scope, and mount, this one came in pretty well on a night of only average to below average seeing and transparency. A higher resolution image is available. North is up.

 
NGC 7293 (Helix Nebula [test shot])
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 7293 (Helix Nebula [test shot])

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: SBIG ST-2000XM
Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
Scope: TMB 152/1200 APO Refractor
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: Astrodon Hα OIII 6nm Filters
Effective Focal Length: 1200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/7.9
Exposure: {1 Hα, 1 OIII} × 16min @ -20°C
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 32min
Date: 12/5/2007 6:46 PM PST (Start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: CCDSoft
Focus: Manual
Dithering: None
Guiding: Self Guided

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Dust and Scratches, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is a test shot of NGC 7293, aka, the “Helix Nebula”, a planetary nebula in the constellation of Aquarius. This is First Light for my new TMB 152/1200 APO Refractor and my new Astro-Physics (AP) 1200GTO German Equatorial Mount. I snuck in these two exposures, one each of my Hα and OIII, before the clouds wiped me out. I didn't even bother to really nail the focus, which I think I missed slightly. Nonetheless, I found the shot interesting enough to post. This is a pseudo-“True Color” image, with R:G:B = Hα:OIII:OIII. A higher resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
B33 (Horsehead Nebula)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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B33 (Horsehead Nebula)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: SBIG ST-2000XM
Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
Scope: TMB 152/1200 APO Refractor
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: Astrodon SII, Hα, OIII 6nm Filters
Effective Focal Length: 1200mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/7.9
Exposure: {5 SII, 5 Hα, 5 OIII} × 32min @ -20°C
Total Exposure: 8hrs, 0min
Date: 2/7/2008 8:19 PM PST, 2/8/2008 7:20 PM PST (Start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: CCD Commander
Focus: FocusMax
Dithering: CCD Commander
Guiding: Self Guided

Processing:

  • IRIS: Registration
  • JimP: Dark subtraction, Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: JPG conversion
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction

Image Description:

This is B33, aka, the “Horsehead Nebula”, a dark nebula silhouetted against the bright nebula IC 434 in the constellation of Orion. Compare this closeup with the true color, wide-field, DSLR image, which shows the Horsehead in context with the bright belt star, Alnitak.

Mousing off the image reveals a “Hubble Palette” narrowband image, with R:G:B = SII:Hα:OIII. Mouse-over the image to see the H-alpha only image in grayscale. A higher resolution image is also available. North is left.

 
NGC 4725 (Spiral Galaxy)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Dec 21: TMB 80/480 Arrives!

Dec 3: AP1200 Arrives!

Nov 30: TMB 152/1200 Arrives!

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NGC 4725 (Spiral Galaxy)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: Celestron/Baader Multi Purpose Coma Corrector (MPCC)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 20 x 8min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 40min
Date: 5/16/2007 9:28:57 PM PDT (Start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Sharpening, levels, cropping, JPG conversion
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction

Image Description:

This is NGC 4725, aka, the “One Armed Galaxy”, a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Coma Berenices. NGC 4725 is a Seyfert Galaxy, suggesting an active galactic nucleus containing a supermassive black hole. A higher resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
M5 (Globular Cluster)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Latest news

December: Test shots with new scopes/mounts

Dec 21: TMB 80/480 Arrives!

Dec 3: AP1200 Arrives!

Nov 30: TMB 152/1200 Arrives!

Links:

M5 (Globular Cluster)

[Hα+R G B]

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Takahashi Mewlon 180
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 2410mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/13.4
Exposure: 17 x 4min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 1hrs, 8min
Date: 6/22/2007 11:41pm PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Off-Axis Guider

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal, wavelets
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: scaling, JPG conversion
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction

Image Description:

This is M5, a globular cluster in the constellation of Serpens. This is my first shot through (at the time!) Drew's Takahashi Mewlon 180, which I ended up buying. It's a great little scope and wonderful for long focal length work. It suffers from coma off-axis, but it's an incredible on-axis performer. This image was off-axis guided wtih Rich's (thanks Rich!) Celestron Radial Guider. It prevented flexure from ruining the exposures. A higher resolution image is also available. North is up.