Thursday, August 27, 2015

Auriga the Charioteer

The skies have been quite smokey during the past few weeks here in northern Utah, so I am showcasing some of the images I took in February of this year in the constellation Auriga. Auriga hangs high over head in the winter mounts, and contains some of the sky's best open clusters. There are a few emission nebula as well.

 Messier 37 one of the brighter and richest open clusters in Auriga.
 Messier 36, a open cluster with fewer members, but impressive in a telescope
 NGC 1931 emission-reflection nebula of glowing cloud of hydrogen gas with a small star cluster in the center
 NGC 2281 another open star cluster in Auriga
NGC 1778 Open cluster, with fewer members.
 NGc 1857 another open cluster with a bright star near the center
 NGC 1778 Open Cluster

 NGC 1907 an open cluster with a condensed center
NGC 2126 Open cluster with an impressive bright star.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Draco the Dragon

I chose the constellation of Draco to image in this week because it is high in the sky, but the smoke from forest fires has taken it's toll on my images this week. I was able to image some galaxies and planetary nebula. When smoke or haze is thick in the air the images are noticeably reddened  as you may notice below, but the images are interesting anyway. Several Perseid meteor's flashed through some of my images, but I didn't hit the save button quickly enough to record them.

 Messier 102 is a missing galaxy in the Messier Catalog. It is thought that it may have been referring to NGC 5866 shown here.
NGC 4965 is a nice edge on and was discovered in 1788 by William Herschel using a nearly 19 inch reflecting telescope.
 NGC 6503 is a spiral galaxy, about 17 million light years distant and 30,000 miles in diameter.
NGC 6543 is a Planetary Nebula, just barely visible in this image. In much longer exposures it forms a ring around the bright star near it. It was created when an old sun blew off it's outer layers.
NGC 6742, a small faint round bluish ring near the middle of this image is also a planetary nebula.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Swan, Whirlpool, Wild duck, Uranus, and a nice Edge on galaxy.

During the third week of July our family visited the Grand Teton National Park, to relax and enjoy the magnificent beauty of nature. In the past I have wandered down to Jackson lake near Colter Bay, to view the night sky, where as far as I can tell there is no light pollution in any direction. The view really takes your breath away. The sky is filled with the Milky way and so many stars that the constellations seem to dissolve among the myriads of distant suns that fill the sky overhead. It has to be experienced to be understood. No description can adequately describe the view.

I was able to image a few objects before our vacation. Several roadblocks prevented me imaging after our vacation. The moonlight began to interfere with the full blue moon making its appearance at the end of July. Also the software I am using on my video camera was updated and I am going through a learning curve getting it to work the way I want. Below is a few of the objects that I imaged earlier in the month of July

 This is Messier 17 the Omega Nebula, also called the Swan Nebula, in the constellation of Sagittarius. It is an emission cloud receiving its light from  an embedded star cluster. This type of  material is what stars are made from.
 This gorgeous Spiral Galaxy called the Whirlpool Galaxy  in the constellation Canes Venatici. It shows a long arm connecting it to a smaller galaxy nearby. The Spiral arms are are clearly visible in this image suggesting rotation of the Galaxy in space.
Messier 11, also called the Wild Duck Cluster, and is a loose star cluster in the constellation of Scutum.
 This Edge on Galaxy NGC 7814, is located in the constellation of Pegasus. You may notice the dark lane passing through the center of this galaxy. This is obscuring dust clouds hiding the stars in the central region of this galaxy.
This is the Planet Uranus, the seventh planet of our solar system. It is shown here with several of it's moons. The diameter of Uranus is about 16000 miles, nearly twice that of earth. It takes 84 of our years to circle the sun one time. It is composed mostly of Hydrogen and Helium. It was discovered by William Herschell on March 13, 1871. A few days later he observed it again and thought it was a comet because it had moved slightly against the background of the stars.