My New and Improved Ring Nebula, Dumbbell Nebula and Pleiades Open Cluster

As you may remember, I had my telescope out at the time of writing last post. At that time I already noticed that I was too late to get an awesome image of the Ring Nebula, I took better photos of the Dumbbell Nebula at different settings and tried to capture some Pleiades nebulosity. While working on last post, I was waiting for clouds to pass over, but eventually, they didn’t.

I think I’d better postpone my efforts to capture a glimpse of the Horsehead and Flame Nebula untill the Orion constellation is higher, somewhere in December, Januari… Apparently I live in an area where amateur astronomers are being terrorized every evening by foggy skies. By the time deep sky objects in Orion are high enough to be imaged, fog has already kicked in.

Nevertheless, as I mentioned, I also shot some decend images of other objects. I started with the Ring Nebula. But after my first test image, the photos became too faint because the roof was partially obstructing the view. The single frame I did get turned out quite nice by the way:

A single frame of the Ring Nebula.

A single frame of the Ring Nebula.

When I manage to get more and longer exposures of the ring nebula, it should display more yellow and red features.

As quickly as I found the Ring Nebula, it took me over 10 minutes to get the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) in view. I took 12 good 15 seconds frames at ISO 6400 and 7 good 30 second frames at ISO 1600. The ISO 1600 frames showed less noise and stacked nicer so I used those to get the image below. I really like the amount of stars visible in the image. M27 is located in the constellation Cygnus which lies exactly over the star littered arm of the Milky Way.

Long exposure stack of the Dumbbell Nebula (m27)

Long exposure stack of the Dumbbell Nebula (M27)

My 5 stacked 30 second exposures of the Pleiades open cluster (M45) do finally show some faint blue nebulosity around the stars. Especially the lowest of the 6 brightest stars shows a glow with a well defined edge. The lines at the bottom right are the remains of an airplane saying ‘Hi’ while I was imaging.

Really faint, some blue nebulosity is visible in this image of m45. Especially the strokes that are caused by stellar winds.

Really faint, some blue nebulosity is visible in this image of m45. Especially the strokes that are caused by stellar winds.

Last week’s coolest

As I am quite busy with my study at the moment, I haven’t had the time to get out with my telescope. Apart from that, there also isn’t much new to show you this time of the year. You have seen what I can make of the brightest planetary nebula, star clusters and the andromeda galaxy:

There certainly is lots and lots of more interesting stuff up there, but nothing that’s bright enough for me to be able to photograph with the equipment I have right now. Once I get more time and saved me enough to buy a motorized mount, I will have so much more to show you. Until then, I will wait for Jupiter and the Orion constellation to be up at a reasonable time. I’m sure I can make some cool pictures of those with the setup I have right now.

Even though I haven’t been shooting cool pictures myself, I’ve certainly seen some taken by others that I would to share with you. Starting with this awesome image of the Dumbbell Nebula, M27 (click for supersized image):

Collective image of the Dumbbell Nebula shot by 13 different amateur astronomers: Claudio Bottari, Paolo Demaria, Giuseppe Donatiello, Marco Favuzzi, Andrew Genualdi, Federico Lavarino, Rolando Ligustri (CAST), Andrea Pistocchini, Craig Prost, Christian Riou, Bert Scheuneman, Tim Stone, Rubes Turchetti (CAST)

Collective image of the Dumbbell Nebula shot by 13 different amateur astronomers: Claudio Bottari, Paolo Demaria, Giuseppe Donatiello, Marco Favuzzi, Andrew Genualdi, Federico Lavarino, Rolando Ligustri (CAST), Andrea Pistocchini, Craig Prost, Christian Riou, Bert Scheuneman, Tim Stone, Rubes Turchetti (CAST)

This image is a result of 13 amateur astronomers that stacked their results (which are stacks of long exposures themselves) together into one image that contains data obtained during what must have been more than 24 hours total. You can actually see the inner star, radiating so intenste that it blows it’s outer shell away. This image is mostly green and red corresponding to¬† Oxygen-III and H-alpha emission respectively.

On the 2nd of September, a group led by the University of Hawaii published how they discovered the structure of our supercluster. Our what? Well you know that the Earth orbits around the Sun right? And that the Sun, together with millions of other stars, orbits a supermassive black hole to form our galaxy, the Milky Way. Together with Andromeda and some 50 smaller (dwarf) galaxies we make up something called the ‘Local Group’: a small group of neigboring galaxies. This little group is in turn part of the Virgo cluster of small groups. Well, Virgo and 2 other galaxy clusters, make up our supercluster and she’s called: Laniakea, which means immeasurable heaven in Hawaiian. Her shape it shown in the image below where our Milky Way is marked with a blue dot.

Our home supercluster: Laniakea

Our home supercluster: Laniakea

Astronomers have indexed a huge amount of galaxies with their positions and velocities. Subtracting the velocity of the galaxies caused by the expansion of the universe, they were left with the velocities due to gravitational attraction. From their velocities (paths marked by white lines), the astronomers were able to deduce the point all galaxies in our supercluster are heading to, called ‘The Great Attractor’. Great name right?

The Northern lights have been all over the news this week and I have seen a lot of beautiful pictures coming from Canada, Alaska and Scandinavia. The best I’ve seen wasn’t photographed last week, but over a year ago. The photograph also shows a huge meteor crashing through the atmosphere and I just had to post it here.

Shannon Bileski caught this beautiful picture at March 29, 2013

Shannon Bileski caught this beautiful picture at March 29, 2013. You van find more of her photos at http://www.signatureexposures.com