Visiting Some Old Objects

This post is a bit like one of your favorite childhood movies or tv shows being redone, but only better. It’s better because these remakes came out much better than their original versions. Below I have setup a side by side comparison of old and new, and then the new version below it for a comparison, with a click-through link of the original post in the titles.

All of these remakes were all made from the same stacks as the originals; the only thing different is my steps in post processing of the image in Photoshop. The links back to the original pictures have the information on the stacks if you’re curious about how many lights, and dark frames I did.

I did a bit more than just adjusting levels and curves. I took the steps a bit further by adjusting highlights and mid-tones, applying an artificial flat, and adjusted vibrance and hue.

M16 – The Eagle Nebula

M16 – The Eagle Nebula. Before on the Left, After on the Right

M16 – The Eagle Nebula

M20 and M21 – The Trifid Nebula, and Open Cluster

M20 and M21 – Trifid Nebula and Open Cluster. Before on the Left, After on the Right.

M20 and M21 – The Trifid Nebula and Open Cluster

M27 – The Dumbbell Nebula

M27 – The Dumbbell Nebula. Before on the Left, After on the Right

M27 – The Dumbbell Nebula

M33 – Triangulum Galaxy

M33 – The Triangulum Galaxy. Before on the Left, After on the Right.

M33 – The Triangulum Galaxy

M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy

M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy. Before on the Left, After on the Right.

M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy

Look at all the faint galaxies I was able to pop out in view in M51. A few months of editing has come a long way.

IC 348 – Open Cluster and Nebula

A small star forming region in the constellation Perseus about 1030 light-years, or 315 parsecs, from the Sun. This small looking cluster contains around 400 stars in a diameter of 20” at an age of 2 million years old. The nebula around this cluster is a reflection nebula. Also nearby is a dark nebula in the same region.

X Marks the spot of IC 348

With my eye up to the eyepiece I was not able to make out any nebulosity, and I could only make out a couple of stars within the cluster itself.

IC 348 – 11-11-12 and 11-13-12

10 images stacked at 1 minute and ISO 800, and another 15 images at 1 minute and 1600 ISO. Images taken on two separate nights, 11-11-12, and 11-13-12. I was curious as to why my upper right section contained very few stars, and upon more research I found out about a dark nebulous region in that area.

Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Canon 350D
T-ring adapter
DIY Reticle eyepiece for drift alignment

Some Naked Eye Objects For May

Naked Eye Objects are objects in the night sky that you can view without any magnification of any kind. These are great if you don’t have a pair of binoculars or a telescope to view with. They may seem small or nothing spectacular but if you then take a pair of binoculars or a small telescope you will start to see them larger and with more detail. It’s amazing just what you can see with the naked eye. I’ll put this in Constellations for this month with the objects you should be able to see from a nice dark location with nothing but your own two eyes. Remember, light pollution is a killer of these objects if you are viewing with your naked eye. So make sure you are in a really good dark location.

Check this map to see if you are in a good spot for viewing these objects with the naked eye. I would say anything in a black to blue (green may also work for you) area is good enough to see some, if not all of these objects.

All of the objects listed below are in constellations for the month of May, and I used (click the link, scroll down to where it says May 2011 PDF Downloads) chart for this month to make my list of Naked Eye Objects.


M13 is a naked eye globular cluster.


Saturn is in Virgo, it will be the orange “star” you see just west of the star Spica


NGC7000 (North America Nebula) The unaided eye sees only a wedge-shaped star-cloud may be quite dim, but dark skies shall make it pop out a bit. Will be near the star Deneb.

M39 small patch of stars at a magnitude of 4.6

Northern Coalsack which is a bulbous northern end of the Great Rift, it’s a complex of dust clouds that bisects our galaxy. The Northern Coalsack is a large dark nebula.

LG3 (nebula) just west of M39, not much info on this one, but worth a shot.

Ursa Major

Mizar and Alcor is a double star in the handle of the Big Dipper. Was once used as a test of good eyesight before glasses. Mizar resolves into a beautiful blue-white and greenish white binary.

If you can see these constellations give them a try, if not it’s alright, they’re low and setting by the time it gets dark out


Praesepe, or M44 is a huge cluster pretty much right in the middle of Cancer. It’s a huge cluster (I believe people also refer to it as the Beehive Cluster) that is more than a moon’s diameter. Known to ancients and easily seen with the naked eye.


M37 one of the best open clusters

M36 fairly sparse galactic cluster. The brighter stars form an oblique cross.

M38 Kind of looks like the greek letter for Pi. May not be able to see it with the naked eye, but it’s always worth a shot.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day, Cassiopeia, Emission Nebula, IC 1805, HeartHappy Valentine’s Day everyone! Click the picture for a larger version of it.

This Nebula is just a part of a larger nebula located in Cassiopeia (constellation). It was photographed by the Spitzer Space Telescope. This nebula is very close to the “Soul Nebula” and the two are often classified together as the “Heart and Soul” Nebula.

The Heart Nebula is roughly 7,500 light years away from Earth, and itself is about 200 light-years across, roughly 2.5° across our sky, or about 5 times the diameter of our Moon. It’s an emission nebula showing glowing gas and dark dust, it’s formed by plasma of ionized hydrogen and free electrons. The hydrogen has been ionized by radiation from young bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun. Plus there are many more dim stars that are only a fraction of our Sun’s mass.

The Heart Nebula is usually referred to as it’s scientific (or is it astronomical?) name of IC 1805.

Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and I hope you enjoyed the Heart Nebula.