The Great Andromeda Galaxy M31 is one of the most visited and imaged destinations in the sky. This closest neighboring galaxy spans the width of over six full moons and is easily captured even in small low-power telescopes. A good image is however quite challenging because brightness ranges from quite intense at the core to very faint at the edges. This image is my fifth version of this classic spiral galaxy and is again for my daughter, Monique.
These photos are special considering the highly skilled imaging and the untold dedication needed/required by the hobby. Note that astrophotography is possible only when skies are clear during summer and becomes almost nil during the rainy season when clouds blanket the sky.
For more photos, please check our Home Page for more recent photos, see Astrophotography in the Appulse issues of this PAS website, the Photos in our Philippine Astronomical Society Yahoo Groups, and visit John Nassr's website at http://www.stardustobservatory.org/.
M66 and M65 is a striking galaxy pair in Leo. They are well placed in the early evening this time of year. Because of their relative size and brightness, both make good visual and imaging targets even through modest apertures.
This is a first-light image through my new QSI 683 camera. It is non-blooming, relatively light-sensitive, lightweight, and quite noise-free making it a pleasure to work with. (Imaged March 27, 2014 at Baguio City.)
Here is flyby of magnitude 14 Comet Loneos C/2006 S3 passing south of the famous Sombrero Galaxy, M106. (Imaged by John Nassr on March 28, 2014 at Baguio City.)
When the season is predominantly cloudy, an astronomer will jump at even a quick patch of starry sky which is like a welcomed and much needed breathe of fresh air. Last night was such the case for this deprived astroimager. All the weather allowed was a quick 15 minutes of dark clear sky for me to capture as much light from M20 the Trifid Nebula as possible, before closing in and bringing rain again. The nebula is in Sagittarius inhabiting the dense central part of our own Milky Way galaxy. It is a star forming stellar nursery similar to M42 in Orion. Here is my catch for the night.
Clear sky finally graced the monsoon season last night and I could not resist to at least attempt a quick image of a bright and easy to find target. I swept the dark sky with binoculars and was quickly attracted to the glow of the Milky Way and the obvious nebulosity of the Lagoon Nebula, M8 in Sagittarius. I decided to use an uncooled Nikon D7000 color camera partly to test its high ISO capabilities and partly to make sure I would be able to still bag an image even if clouds suddenly got in the way, which was simply too risky if I used a monochrome camera requiring four filters to go through. The result of my test is a 2-minute exposure of M8 at ISO6400. content
The constellation Virgo holds some of the finest collection of galaxies in the night sky with configurations that makes one marvel at the varying shapes of gravitationally interacting stellar material in the universe. It is not uncommon to find two galaxies interacting together. However, it is not too common to find four interacting galaxies close enough for the scrutiny of amateur telescopes. The interacting group of galaxies NGC 4410, NGC 4410b, IC790, VCC934, and VCC914, a possible fifth interacting galaxy, is one such example found in the upper center of this six-hour image. NGC4410 is a LINER-type galaxy with an active high energy nucleus believed to be a result of accretion of mass by a super-massive black hole at its center. The two larger spiral galaxies below are NGC4411 and NGC4411b.
GOTCHA !!! After two weeks of hit and miss (all because of cloud cover). finally got Comet Panstarrs.................
Comet Pan-STARRS, March 12, 2013 imaged from Manila, Philippines using a Canon 450D DSLR, 50 mm lens, f/1.8, ISO 400, 1/3 sec exp.
M35 is a beautiful open star cluster in the constellation Gemini. It consists of a loose grouping of dazzling young blue stars. To the lower right is another more distant star cluster, NGC 2158. Its red reddish stars are indicative of its older age and its denser arrangement is almost like a globular cluster.
M27, the Dumbbell Nebula, a planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula imaged using a Sky-Watcher 100 ED 4 in f/9 refractor, Kenko NES mount, Canon 450D DSLR, 5 x 90 sec exp, IS0 1600. April 5, 2012, Camarines Norte, Philippines.
Close pairing of the planet Venus and the open cluster M45, or Pleiades. Image taken with a Canon 450D DSLR on a tripod, 50 mm f/1.8 lens, 2.5 sec exp, IS0 1600. April 6, 2012, Camarines Norte, Philippines.
M20 is a cloud of ionized hydrogen gas some 25 light-years in diameter. Dark lanes visible in 3-4 inch telescopes may be seen extending from its center towards the west, northeast, and southeast, effectively dividing the nebula into 3 distinct patches, hence the name ‘Trifid’ which means ‘split into three,’ was derived. M21, an open cluster, is also visible in this photo (upper left of the nebula). Sky-Watcher 100 ED 4 in f/9 refractor, Kenko NES mount, Canon 450D DSLR, 240 sec exp, IS0 1600. April 6, 2012, Camarines Norte, Philippines.
Waning Crescent Moon rising a few hours before sunrise. Sky-Watcher 4-in f/9 refractor, Kenko NES mount, Canon 450D DSLR,1/800 sec exp, IS0 1600. April 15, 2012.
I got the chance to go to Tanay Rizal with my friends to visit their farm. Since the sky was clear, I brought along with me my astro stuff. My target are Orion nebula (M42) and Rosette nebula
Both image where taken using William Optics Zenithstar 80 II, Canon EOS 550D. iso 1600, Meade LXD75. Orion nebula 4 X 60sec = 4 min.
My repaired mount controller finally arrived and I was happily able to have my 16" scope usable again! Mars has grown to 12.7 arc seconds as it makes closest approaches to Earth just three weeks from now. Unsteady seeing made focusing extremely difficult but the major features of the Red Planet were nevertheless distinctly captured. Both northern and southern polar caps are evident. Clouds and haze also cover a good portion of Mars.
At a distance of 2.2 million light-years, Andromeda Galaxy is the most distant celestial object visible to the naked eye. It is listed in astronomical catalogs as M31 or NGC 224. The two spiral arms (dark bands) and its companion galaxy, M32 (upper left), are visible in this photograph. (Sky-Watcher 100 ED on Kenko NES mount, Canon 450D DSLR prime focus at f/9, ISO 1600, 2 x 120 sec exposure stacked using Registax 5.1, 23-Dec-2011, Basud, Camarines Norte © Anthony Urbano)
After the Christmas festivities, it was pleasant to find clear night skies for a change and took this image on the 26th of December 2011 at 3:20 in the morning. I knew that the comet Lovejoy discovered would still be around so I took advantage of the nice clear skies.
This image was taken from my backyard in the city of Gold Coast, Queensland. Initially I wanted to go to the beach to avoid the bright city lights but I wasn't sure I can drive. So I took some test shots of the comet and was happy to see that the comet can be seen just above my neighbor's roof, shame about the light pollution though.
The comet's head couldn't be seen at all, it's all tails - or headless, a headless comet! So it looks like someone shining a very bright torch on the sky, like one of those searchlights. Although to the naked eye the comet is very faint, one can barely see it with an averted gaze. Anyway, this is my very first comet to take a photo of. Actually, this is my first comet full stop.
Set up on an unstable tripod so I can only get five usable images to stack. Exposure times for each was 3 seconds at ISO 200, Canon 50mm at f/1.8. Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and curves done on Digital Photo Professional.Click to add text, images, and other content.
I uploaded it in this group and here is the link, I hope it works.
By John Nassr - featured in Spaceweather.com. Taken at Stardust Observatory, Baguio City.B
By Anthony Urbano - Amateur Astronomy Picture of the Day - taken at Antipolo.
See other total lunar eclipse photos and info on Home Page.
Last night the sky was still clear, after scanning the sky for 10 minutes I grab my WOZSII 80 and start my setup and did my imaging session again. My target, Orion Nebula
Here's my setup:
William Optic ZenithStar II 80mm f6.8
Meade LXD75 mount
Taken @ iso1600, 30sec X 20 = 10 minute total
Process on DSS and FastStone image
I woke up at 3:30 this morning to catch my first glimpse and image of Mars as it approaches its March 3, 2012 opposition. I easily distinguished the red planet glowing conspicuously at magnitude 1.2 in the constellation Cancer. The sky was stunningly clear but seeing was mediocre at best so the view through my 16-inch Newtonian and high power eyepiece revealed an undulating rust-colored disk with indistinct dark markings and a prominently white polar cap. It felt good to see an old friend again!
Very little else could be observed on Mars with such poor seeing. The planet is still also a tiny 5.5 arc seconds in diameter at a distant 1.6 Astronomical Units from Earth.
A quick image reveals slightly more details. The large dark region directly under the north polar cap is Mare Acidalium. An extensive blanket of clouds is evident on the eastern left side of the planet that faces the Sun. The South Polar Region also exhibits either some cloud cover, ice, or a combination of both clouds and ice.
I set my alarm at 3am early this morning to capture first light with my new Flea3 camera. Jupiter shone brilliantly in the clear sky and was well placed near the zenith but skittish seeing made focusing extremely difficult. It was nevertheless a joy to see an old friend again and capture my first image of Jupiter since its conjunction with the Sun. The South Equatorial Belt (SEB) is now very well re-established and busy after fading away completely in 2009. The Great RED Spot swirls as vigorously as ever.
The Flea3 camera is a significant and welcome improvement over my older DBK21 camera. It avails of Sony's newest ICX618 CCD which is more light sensitive than the older Sony ICX098 and is capable of 120 frames per second versus 30 frames per second with the DBK21. The increased sensitivity also permits lower gain settings that yield smoother images with less noise. A superior global shutter on the Flea3 makes high shutter speeds yield sharper images than cameras using the traditional rolling shutter.
Ultimately though, the final quality of a planet image is dictated most significantly by how steady the atmospheric seeing is during an imaging session. I eagerly look forward to nights of good seeing when I will be able to realize the full potential of the Flea3.
(Imaged August 13, 2011)
Situated in the Tucana constellation right next to the Small Magellanic loud, 47 Tucanae, or NGC 104, is about 15000 light years away and competes with Omega Centauri for the title of the most splendid globular cluster in the entire sky. Its center is more centrally condensed and is thus brighter. An atypical feature of this cluster is that it has a paucity of blue stars and it has a large number of pulsars.
In 2008 A SETI scientist has observed a laser-like signal coming from the vicinity of this cluster but was never found again.
Always above the southern horizon at this time of the year, this globular cluster is visible with the naked eye. This cluster shines at magnitude 4.5 and a 4-inch scope easily brings out the stars in this cluster. With modest size telescopes from 100mm, stars are individually resolved.
This image is a single 40-second exposure using my trusted Canon and 150mm Newt, cropped and processed in Canon Digital Photo software. Imaged at Australia on August 2, 2011 with mount set at -28 latitude, 153 longitude.Source: Skywatching by David H. Levy, 2007 revised edition; Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia
A 36-min exposure of Comet Garradd C2009 P1 using 16-inch scope and capturing its color as well. Imaged July 23, 2011 at Stardust Observatory.
This work is dedicated to Victor Badillo S.J. It is a small token of recognition for someone who through many decades has wholeheartedly fostered and promoted astronomy in the Philippines. His gentle patience and tireless efforts nurtured fledgling beginners, myself included, as well as specialized professionals.
07h 03' -11d 25'
Date Imaged :
February 25, 2011
Astrodon HaRGB 90,15,60,60 minutes
Stardust Observatory, Baguio
The first solar eclipse of 2011 occured January 4 and was visible partially from much of Europe, North Africa and central Asia. Following is a partial solar eclipse photo taken by Dr. Wolfgang Beisker on January 4 at 8h 5min UTC near Holzkirchen in South Germany.
Saturn was nearly directly overhead when I imaged it on January 27 at 5:00 in the morning. Strong seasonal trade winds made seeing difficult to focus. Two successive images captured a blue-green spot in the the north electrostatic disturbance (NED), which continues to spread across the planet. This is the first time I noticed this development.
GN 07.02.9 is a blue reflection nebula surrounding HD53623 a 7.9-magnitude star in Canis Major. F3R 6114 is the Simbad identifier for the red HII ionized region behind it. An undesignated dark nebula occupies space to the right of this energetic star forming region south of the Gum 1 Nebula.
Jupiter and Crescent Moon, February 7, 2011, Manila, Philippines
Canon S3IS, f/2.7, 2-second exposure at ISO 100
A phenomenon called earthshine occurs when sunlight reflected from the Earth's surface is reflected back onto the moon's night side, causing it to glow dimly. The bright region is illuminated by the Sun, while the rest of the moon is illuminated by sunlight reflected off the Earth. This image was taken last February 7, 2011 during the Jupiter-Moon conjuction. Canon S3IS, f/2.7, 2-second exposure at ISO 100.
My alarm woke me at 4am to a magnificently clear though not too steady sky. Saturn was well placed above the eastern horizon to catch the northern electrostatic disturbance (NED) which is very prominent in this image.
Venus shone like a bright beacon lower to the east and displays its delicate bluish carbon dioxide atmosphere in this image.
103P/Hartley is a small periodic comet with an orbital period of 6.46 years. It is an early evening object glowing at approximately magnitude 10.2 and currently located in the constellation Andromeda. The comet is expected to be brightest at magnitude 5 as it passes within 0.12 AU of the Earth on October 20, 2010, which is only eight days before perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on October 28, 2010. During this passage, the comet may become faintly visible to the naked eyes in the constellation Cygnus.
Observation made with the Spitzer Space Telescope in August 2008 estimates its nucleus to have a radius of 0.6 km. Never-the-less, barring a catastrophic breakup or major fragmentation event, the comet should be able to survive up to another 100 apparitions (~700 yrs) at its current rate of mass loss.
103P/Hartley 2 was discovered photographically by Malcolm Hartley in March 1986 at Siding Spring in Australia. The reason it had not been discovered earlier lies in the fact that it made a close approach to Jupiter in 1982. The gravity of the planet changed the comet's orbit into its present one.
There is a planned flyby of Comet Hartley by NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft which successfully encountered Comet 9P/Tempel 1 in 2005. The spacecraft is targeted to approach within 700 kilometers of the comet on November 4, 2010. 103P/Hartley 2 was selected as backup target for the Deep Impact extended mission, EPOXI, in October 2007 after failing to locate its initial target, Comet
Date imaged - Sept 12, 2010; Lens - Astrophysics 5; Camera - Atik 16HR; Exposure - 23x1min; Filter - Luminace; Mount - AP600; Location - Stardust Observatory, Baguio.
Please see Home Page for recent images on Comet Hartley by John Nassr.
Click image to view the highest image resolution
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) and smaller storm “Red Jr.” are currently passing in conjunction of each. This image, taken under fair 5/10 seeing, probably represents the resolving limit of a 5” telescope working at f/48.
Date imaged - Aug 25, 2010; Lens - Astrophysics 5" Starfire; Camera - DBK21; Exposure - 90secs; Filter - RGB; Mount - AP600; Location - Stardust Observatory, Baguio.
Comet 81P Wild 2 (below). I felt like a kid again in a toy store under all the stars with my newly repaired Gemini mount controller that had been out of commission nearly three months! I had a hard time deciding which object to test my systems on and finally picked magnitude 10 Comet 81P Wild 2 which is slowly fading as it recedes further from the Sun and Earth. A faint tail still trails behind its distinct coma with a greenish blue glow.
May 16, 2010; Lens: N16 f/4.5; Camera: ST10XME; Exposure: 24 minutes; Filter: Astrodon LRGB 9,5,5,5x1min; Mount:
Losmandy Titan. Location: Stardust Observatory, Baguio. Image by John Nassr
Saturn (below). I just want to share the first image of Saturn that I took on the 3rd of April 2010. The rings are a bit edge on this year apparently. This image is as big as I could make it with the equipment I used. Taken on average seeing.
Camera: Orion SSPIAG; Lens: 150mm Newtonian at f20; Mount: EQ3-2; Exposure time: 5 minutes; Software processing: Registax V5. Image by Clem Brazil, Queensland, Australia.
I was quite surprised when not just two but three gas shells were captured after 6 hours of hydrogen alpha exposures in this image of planetary nebula NGC2438! I decided to do a long Ha exposure after I noticed hints of a second outer shell in a red POSS2 image. The magnitude 10 planetary nebula is in the foreground of M46, a beautiful open star cluster in the constellation Puppis.
This Milky Way Galaxy image was taken during the 2011 Philippine Messier Marathon Open on March 26 under the dark skies of Caliraya, Quezon. Canon S3IS, f/2.7 at ISO 200, tracking for 150 seconds.
NGC 4438 and smaller NGC 4435 is a pair of interacting galaxies in Virgo called "The Eyes". Powerful gravitational forces distort the symmetry of the stars, gas, and dust in the larger and peculiar galaxy, NGC 4438, which is also known as Arp 120. Its active nucleus is believed to harbor a black hole. Numerous other more distant background galaxies are also captured in this four- hour long exposure.
I decided to image M97 again to see how much more new details could be coaxed with a larger aperture, more sensitive camera, and longer total exposure. A 3nm narrow band Oxygen III filter was also used to reveal an extremely faint outer bubble surrounding this expanding ball of stellar material located southeast of Merak, one of the two stars in the Big Dipper that point to the North Star. A total exposure time of 12.6 hours was used for this image compared to 3.5 hours for an earlier image taken four years ago.
Coordinates: 11h 15' +54d 57'; Date imaged: May 6, 2011; Lens: N16 f/4.5; Camera: ST10XME; Exposure: 12.6 hours; Filter:Astrodon L:R:G:B:OIII 130:90:90:120:330; Mount: Losmandy Titan; Location: Stardust Observatory :