NGC 281 – The Pacman Nebula

Within the constellation Cassiopeia at a distance of 9,200 light years from earth is NGC 281. This nebula is in the Perseus arm of our Milky Way galaxy and includes the star cluster IC 1590 which is formed from around 279 individual stars in and about the cluster. Due to the darker nebulous regions of the cluster it has been dubbed the Pacman Nebula after the video game character. Discovered in 1883 by E. E. Barnard who described it as a “large faint nebula.”

Location of NGC 281 in Cassiopeia.

Location of NGC 281 in Cassiopeia.

In a clear dark sky you should be able to spot this nebula with an amateur telescope. From my backyard I couldn’t make out the nebula no matter how dark adapted my eyes were.

NGC 281 – The Pacman Nebula 08-01-2014

This image of composed of 23@300 second light frames, 13 flat frames, and 25 dark frames. Stacking done in deep sky stacker and post processing done in Photoshop.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150
CG-5 Advanced Series Go-To
PHD autoguiding
Orion Starshoot autoguider
Modified Canon 350D

IC 5070 – The Pelican Nebula

IC 5070 lies closely to the nebula NGC 7000 in the constellation, Cygnus. This large emission nebula looks like a pelican to some viewers which gives it its name, The Pelican Nebula. The Pelican lies close to the star Deneb, about 1800 light years from our solar system, and the dark space splitting IC 5070 and NGC 7000 is actually a dark nebula. The Pelican Nebula is an active star forming region that is highly studied due to it’s evolving gas clouds.

This nebula has an apparent magnitude of 8.0, but due to its large size it was not visible in my telescope from my back yard. I had to use the camera to try to center it the best I could for imaging.

IC 5070 – The Pelican Nebula 06-27-2014

This is 17 images at 5 minutes a piece, 22 dark frames, 22 flat frames, and 22 bias frames. Stacked in deep sky stacker and post processing in Photoshop. I personally don’t see a pelican in this nebula whether it’s my picture or one of the others out there online, but either way this is a huge and beautiful nebula.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150
CG-5 Advanced Series Go-To
PHD autoguiding
Orion Starshoot autoguider
Modified Canon 350D

55% Moon in Daylight July 05, 2014

During the daylight hours I was attempting to get images of the moon since I had the scope still setup and aligned from the night before. My backyard is absolutely filled with trees and my view to the south is about 1%, and that’s between leaves. I was able to get a quick snap of the moon as I watched with my eye up against the cameras eyepiece, snapping pictures as the wind would move the branches of the trees. I took at least 30 shots in the course of an hour, but only one was clear enough to use.

55% Moon from July 05, 2014

Some of the craters along the terminator are Plato, Montes Caucasus, Aristillus, Montes Alpes, Ptolemaeus, Arzachel, Purbach, Tycho, Maginus, and Clavius.

NGC 6992 – The Eastern Veil Nebula

The brightest portion of the Easter Veil Nebula is the region of NGC 6992. This is just a small section of the entire Cygnus Loop. The Cygnus Loop consists of the Western Veil , Eastern Veil, and Pickering’s Triangle. Discovered on September 5, 1784 by William Herschel, he described the western end as ex extending through the star 52 Cygni and roughly 2 degrees in length. He also described the eastern veil as branching nebulosity stringing and coming together towards the southern end. This nebula is large, but relatively faint, and it is a supernova remnant. The source of the supernova is estimated between 5,000 and 8,000 years ago. The entire Cygnus Loop covers and area of 3 degrees in diameter with an estimated distance of 1,470 light years from Earth. Analysis by the Hubble Space Telescope indicate the presence of oxygen, sulfur, and hydrogen.

Location of the Eastern Veil Nebula

Location of the Eastern Veil Nebula

Through the eyepiece I couldn’t see the nebula, and even a 2 minute photo it was very faint and hard to spot. The 5 minute images brought out more of the nebula and showed hints of the blues tucked into the red. Maybe the ¾ moon played a roll in washing it out so it was hard to see in the eyepiece.

Eastern Veil Nebula taken June 08, 2014

This image is 18 shots at 5 minutes each ISO 800. 33 Flat frames, and 20 dark frames. Stacked in deep sky stacker and post processing in Photoshop.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150
CG-5 Advanced Series Go-To
PHD autoguiding
Orion Starshoot autoguider
Modified Canon 350D