Last night I got to show off some of my photos on That Show with Billy Wilson over on Google Plus. Not only did I get to show of some of my astro photo’s, but I had the brilliantly awesome, Pamela Gay there to help explain what it was I imaged. I answered a few questions from Jordan Oram, and got to enjoy some great bluesy music by Paul Platt. Was a great show, and I had an awesome time. If anyone watching has any questions now please feel free to post the questions in the comments below and I’ll get back to them as soon as possible.
Pamela Gay is an astronomer, writer, and podcaster. She’s also the project director over at Cosmoquest. She is one of the main people that has helped amplify my love for astronomy, and I enjoy her podcasts, writing, and marking craters at Cosmoquest for science. If you haven’t checked out any of the many things she is a part of I highly recommend that you take a few moments to check her out.
Jordan Oram is a traveler and photographer who helps empower people to discover their passions and their strengths. Find out more about him, and what he’s doing via his website. Jordan is also a photography editor and outdoor adventures editor at Wandering Educators.
Paul Platt is an independent musician, singer, songwriter. His youtube channel has many great songs he has preformed via Google+ hangouts.
And, without further ado, here is a recording of the Live Hangout we did on Google+, and be sure to add me, Michael Rector, to your G+ circles if you have an account.
Recently bit the bullet and ordered a Celestron CG-5 mount. It’s computerized which will allow me to include things like an autoguider for longer exposure images with less chance of star trails.
The mount came in on Monday, February 10. I got it all setup and was able to get out the day after for some practice with star alignment. Looking forward to some more clear skies to give it a full test. Now just waiting for my Orion Starshoot Autoguider to come in along with the guide scope. With this combination I will, hopefully, no longer be limited to my 120 second exposures.
The Celestron CG-5 box
All the pieces from the box, mount, tripod, weights, hand controller, eyepiece tray, hand controller mount, CG-5 dovetail bar.
Mount put together with my Celestron Omni XLT 150 reflector.
Found in the constellation Cassiopeia near the bright variable star, Gamma Cassiopeia, also known as Navi. The orbital period of this binary star is about 204 days with the companion star being estimated to have a mass similar to our sun.
These two nebulae are only 3 to 4 light years away from the bright star within the image. IC 59 is the fainter of the two with IC 63 being the brighter almost cone shaped nebula. IC 63 is dominated by H-Alpha light and IC 59 has significantly less H-alpha emissions with a more blue tint reflected from star light. Both nebula are emission and reflection nebulas.
IC 59 and IC 63 location in Cassiopeia
Through my telescope I couldn’t make out the nebula, but with it’s close proximity to Gamma Cassiopeia I was able to frame both nebula without too much of an issue. I couldn’t make out the binary star of Gamma Cass through my telescope.
IC 59 and IC 63 near Gamma Cassiopeia in the constellation Cassiopeia 11-29-13
This image is 74 images at 2 minutes a piece with ISO 800, 62 dark frames, and 36 flat frames. Images stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and post processing in Photoshop.
I will have to go back to this nebula and try again with either longer exposures or a higher ISO to see if I can get more detail in IC 59, and maybe more of IC 63. I had to stretch this image quite a bit to get both nebula to show in the image.
Screen shot of object location taken in Stellarium http://www.stellarium.org. Image stacking in Deep Sky Stacker http://deepskystacker.free.fr/english/index.html.
Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Modded Canon 350D
T-ring and adapter
Polar Scope for alignment
NGC 869, and NGC 884 in Perseus are two open clusters of stars meaning they are relatively young stars estimated at 12.8 million years old. Both clusters lie at a distance of 7500 light years from Earth. NGC 869 has a higher mass than NGC 884 with 869 being around 3700 solar masses and 884 being 2800 solar masses. Recent research has found that both clusters are surrounded with a halo of stars making the total mass for the complex at lease 20000 solar masses. This object was noted as early as 130 B.C by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus who claims it to be a patch of light in Perseus. In the early 19th century, William Herschel was the first to recognize it as two separate open clusters. Although the pair are bright, and can be seen with the unaided eye, it was not included in Messier’s catalog (most likely because it didn’t look “comet like” to Charles Messier), but it is included in the Caldwell catalog.
Location of NGC 869 and NGC 884
Through the eyepiece this double cluster is visually stunning, with the orange bright stars shining bright with dimmer white/blue stars gathered together in two separate formations. One of my favorite fall/winter clusters which never disappoint to an astronomy pro or newcomer.
NGC 869 and NGC 884 – The Double Cluster 10-12-13
This image is 45 light frames at 2 minutes and ISO 800, 48 dark frames, 35 flat frames, and 52 bias frames. Images stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, and post processing done in Photoshop.
Discovered by Charles Messier on July 12, 1764 which he described as an oval nebula without any stars. We see this nebula on it’s equatorial plane in the constellation, Vulpecula. If we saw it from one of it’s poles it would possibly take on the same shape as M57 – The Ring Nebula. With a diameter of roughly 6 arc minutes, and a fainter region expanding upwards of 15 arc minutes, makes it one of the brighter planetary nebula in the sky at a magnitude 7.4. The distance of the nebula is not very well known, but is estimated by most at 1360 light years from Earth. The central star of M27, which formed the beautiful nebula, is at a much dimmer magnitude, 13.5.
Location of M27 in Vulpecula.
This nebula is actually quite bright considering it’s size making it quite easy to spot in most backyard telescopes. Colors are not visible, but you can make out the dumbbell shape of the brighter portions of the nebula.
M27 – The Dumbbell Nebula 09-26-13
This image is 57 light frames at 2 minutes a piece and ISO 800, 33 dark frames, 35 flat frames, 46 bias frames. Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, and post processing in Photoshop.