NGC 147/DDO3/Caldwell 17

NGC 147 is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia at about 2.58 million light-years away. NGC 147 is part of our local group of galaxies, and is another satellite galaxy to M31 (like the two close galaxies M32, and M110 which can usually be seen in shots of Andromeda). This galaxy is close-by to NGC 185, a dwarf spheroidal galaxy. It was discovered by John Herschel in 1829 during the month of September, and he noticed that NGC 147 was fainter and slightly larger than its neighbor, NGC 185.

Location of NGC 147 in Cassiopeia

Location of NGC 147 in Cassiopeia

Through the eyepiece in my light polluted yard I was unable to see this 10.4 magnitude galaxy either due to its size, or brightness, or due to the light pollution washing out the dimmer deep space objects.

NGC 147/DDO3/Caldwell 17 taken September 26/27, 2014

NGC 147 taken on the night of September 26, 2014 into the morning of the 27th. This image consists of 18 images at 300 seconds each, 32 dark frames, and 32 flat frames.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150
CG-5 Advanced Series Go-to
PHD Autoguiding
Orion Starshoot Autoguider
Modified Canon 350D

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 59 and IC 63 – Ghost of Cassiopeia

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

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.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Modded Canon 350D
T-ring and adapter
Intervalometer
Polar Scope for alignment

M52 and NGC 7635 – Open Cluster and Bubble Nebula

Open Cluster, M52, discovered by Charles Messier in 1774, can be found in a rich field of the Milky Way. M52 has been dubbed the name “salt and pepper” cluster. The distance to the cluster is not very well known, but estimates anywhere from 3,000 light years to 7,000 light years, but the Sky Catalogue 2000.0 gives it a distance of 5,200 light years. Estimates are complicated due to higher interstellar absorption the light suffered during its travels toward Earth. Using 5,000 light years as an average the clusters diameter is estimated to be around 13 arc minutes corresponding to a diameter of 19 light years.

The Bubble Nebula, NGC 7635, discovered by William Herschel in 1787, lies in close proximity to the open cluster, M52. The bubble formed from stellar winds from the massively hot central star (SAO 20575 or BD+60°2522) at an 8th magnitude. The nebula itself has an estimated distance of 11,000 light years away with an apparent magnitude of ~10, and a diameter of 15 x 8 arc minutes.

Location of M52 and NGC 7635.

Location of M52 and NGC 7635.

Through the eyepiece from a nice dark location it is easy to make out M52 just fine and count many of the main stars within the cluster without the use of averted vision. The bubble nebula is a little more of a challenge. When I imaged the picture below there was an 88% moon which made it impossible for me to find NGC 7635.

M52 and NGC 7635 – Open Cluster and Bubble Nebula. 08-17-13

This image is 65 x 120 sec light frames, 33 dark frames, 33 flat frames, and 43 bias frames. Taken on the night of August 17, 2013 with an 88% moon washing out a lot of the sky. Image stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and post processing in Photoshop. There were some major editing I had to do in order to clear out noise created from thin clouds on occasion, and the light of the moon making my illumination a bit uneven.

All my Messier Object information from: The Messier Catalog. Screen shot of object location taken in Stellarium. Image stacking in Deep Sky Stacker.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Modded Canon 350D
T-ring and adapter
Intervalometer
Polar Scope for alignment

M52 – Open Cluster

This open cluster can be found around the edge of the boarder of the constellation Cassiopeia, right between Cassiopeia and Cepheus. M52’s distance from Earth is uncertain due to interstellar absorption of light, but is estimated to be around 3,000 to 7,000 light-years away (usually listed as 5,000) spanning a diameter of 20 light-years across. Open clusters are older clusters of stars, and this cluster is estimated to be around 35 million years old. Charles Messier discovered M52 on September 7, 1774 as the comet of that year was passing by this open cluster.

‘X’ marks the spot of M52

My Observation: A bit faint in the eyepiece, but due to it’s grouped stars it made it easy to distinguish it from other stars in the area. Many of the stars of the cluster were very faint or not visible at all. Knowing I had M52 in my sights and that NGC 7635, the Bubble Nebula, was nearby I tried to see if I could spot this faint nebula, but being a dim magnitude of 11 I was unable to see it, and it only showed up in images after a bit of processing in Photoshop.

M52 and NGC 7635

This image of M52 is 12 images at 60second exposures and ISO800 to keep from getting a picture with too much noise. Also included is 10 dark frames. In Photoshop I followed a tutorial on creating Artificial Flat Frames to reduce vignetting to help me bring out more detail in the faint Bubble Nebula, and reduce sky glow from light pollution.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150
Canon 350D
T-ring
T-ring adapter
Intervalometer