Gathering data...

February 13, 2019 - Reading time: ~1 minute

I finished the night of Feb 9th with a small batch of frames to process--really only enough for this bi-color Ha-OIII of the Rosette. I also shot some Ha frames of IC 443,  the Jellyfish supernova remnant. Both are looking okay, but I need more data. And the weather doesn't look like it's going to cooperate until the weekend--snow and rain.  (I was also playing with the old WO 200mm guide scope with this session, and it went well--Total RMS" in the .60s and .70s most of the time. RMS is the Root Mean Square in arcseconds, the standard deviation of the accumulated star movements over a particular guiding session. Lower is better). Exposures: 28 x 240 seconds of Ha, 26 x 240 seconds of OIII. Equipment: William Optics GT81 APO refractor, ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro monochrome 16MP camera (unity gain 139/21), Astronomik filters, iOptron CEM25P mount, INDI/Ekos/KStars running in Stellarmate/Raspberry Pi 3b+

Setup for the night:


Total Lunar Eclipse 2019

January 21, 2019 - Reading time: ~1 minute

A terrible night for a total lunar eclipse--it's freakin' cold (5°F / -15C) and cloudy, but here's a sequence going into the total.

It's very cloudy out there tonight, but I did manage to capture the lunar eclipse in progress. Not a great shot, but was through the cloud layer.


NGC 2327 "Parrot Nebula" and IC 2177 "Seagull Nebula"

January 2, 2019 - Reading time: ~1 minute

The dust and hydrogen gas of NGC 2327 "Parrot Nebula" and IC 2177 "Seagull Nebula" span 100 lightyears between the constellations Monoceros and Canis Majoris. This is another one from last night (New Years Day). After shooting the Flaming Star Nebula for several hours, I dropped down to IC 2177 for the remaining clear skies (up to around 1am). Neither of these targets are strong--or have anything showing up--in the oxygen bandpass. I ended up cutting the OIII frames and going with bi-color Ha and SII. Exposures: 28 x 300 seconds of Ha, 26 x 360 seconds of SII. Equipment: William Optics GT81 APO refractor, ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro monochrome 16MP camera (unity gain 139/21), Astronomik filters, iOptron CEM25P mount, INDI/Ekos/KStars running in Stellarmate/Raspberry Pi 3b+


First astro session of the year!

January 2, 2019 - Reading time: ~1 minute

The star at the core of this nebula is the "Flaming Star", AE Aurigae, in the constellation Auriga (The Charioteer), and all the surrounding dust and clouds of hydrogen is called the Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405). This emission nebula is around 1500 lightyears away and it's fairly large, about 5 lightyears across (roughly 47 trillion kilometers or 30 trillion miles across).

What's interesting is that even though AE Auriga is lighting up the nebula, it was not formed there, but rather is a "runaway star" that was probably ejected several million years ago from the star formation furnace in the core of the Orion Nebula. The star is moving quickly through the nebula, producing a violent bow shock with a wave of high energy electromagnetic radiation. 

Frames: 23 x 300 seconds of Ha, 5 x 300 seconds of OIII (I was not picking up oxygen at all!), and 20 x 360 seconds of SII. Equipment: William Optics GT81 APO refractor, ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro monochrome camera (unity gain 139/21), Astronomik filters, iOptron CEM25P mount, INDI/Ekos/KStars running in Stellarmate/Raspberry Pi 3b+. 


Astro-imaging Highlights 2018

December 30, 2018 - Reading time: ~1 minute

I put together a batch of images from my astrophotography sessions over the last year. This isn't in order, because a wanted a nice mix of color, narrowband, hydrogen-alpha only, wide-field, moon shots, along with some of my astro gear setups for some of these sessions.


California Nebula - NGC 1499 Bi-color Ha + SII

December 28, 2018 - Reading time: ~1 minute

NGC 1499, California Nebula in bi-color narrowband hydrogen-alpha and sulfur 2. I captured this data on the 25th, but didn't have time to capture oxygen 3 frames with high clouds moving in and the moon rising. Even so, I like the way this turned out with the two bandpasses, almost fluorescent. NGC 1499 is about 1000 lightyears away, and if you haven't guessed, it's called "California Nebula" because if you flip this image 90 degrees counterclockwise it looks like the state. 


IC 1805 - Heart Nebula in the Hubble Palette

December 28, 2018 - Reading time: ~1 minute

The clouds and icy rain are here, and I've had time to process some of the data I captured over the last two nights. Here's IC 1805 and neighboring nebulae and star clusters in hydrogen-alpha, oxygen 3, sulfur 2 using the Hubble palette (SHO mapped to RGB). The Heart swings around the north celestial pole below the "W" asterism of Cassiopeia, and with trees to the north and the house blocking the view west I don't have all night to capture data. So, I went with the 11 x 300 seconds of Ha, 21 x 300 seconds of OIII, and 13 x 300 seconds of SII. Equipment: William Optics ZS61 APO refractor, ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro monochrome camera (unity gain 139/21), Astronomik filters, iOptron CEM25P mount, INDI/Ekos/KStars running in Stellarmate/Raspberry Pi 3b+. 


Astro Session with the new ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro

December 26, 2018 - Reading time: ~1 minute

Wide-field of M42, the Orion Nebula--and it's amazing how cloudy and dusty the whole area is. I spent half the night adjusting things--focus distance, off-axis guider spacing, but managed to capture M42 and the surrounding region (two sets of subs: 21 x 300 second, and 20 x 20 second for the bright Nebula core and Trapezium). Calibration frames: 20 Dark and 20 Bias, No flat frames. I shot these with the ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro monochrome camera, Astronomik 12nm Ha filter, William Optics ZS61 APO, iOptron CEM25P mount.

I also managed to capture a dozen frames of the California Nebula: