Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Spring will come eventually

Walking along the river towards Wolsingham we saw just a few snowdrops poking their stems through ready for spring. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Crab and horsehead nebulae and some meteors

I took advantage of one of a very few clear nights this month to try to capture some meteors using a motion detection system, to image the Crab Nebula and to image the Horsehead Nebula.
For the nebulae I used an hydrogen alpha filter on the camera which combats light pollution and targets the emissions of the nebulae.

Here is a stack of 14 x 5 minute Crab Nebula exposures processed in Pixinsight and Lightroom.

Here is a stack of 12 x 5 minute Horsehead Nebula exposures processed in Pixinsight and Lightroom.

And here's a link to a compilation of nine meteors captured during the night of the 18th/19th December

Sunday, December 07, 2014

California Nebula

I managed to get some time in the observatory on Friday night. There was a full moon so imaging using visible light was a non-starter. 
I fitted the telescope with an H alpha filter which only allows radiation produced by ionised hydrogen through. 
I took an hours worth of data from the California Nebula (NGC 1499) which is an emission nebula in the constellation of Perseus. It is so named because it appears to resemble the outline of the US State of California on long exposure photographs. My monochrome image shows less than 1° of sky along the long edge so only contains a portion of the nebula which is a large object about 2.5° long on the sky The nebula lies at a distance of about 1,000 light years from Earth. Its fluorescence is due to excitation of hydrogen gas in the nebula by the nearby  energetic star Menkib.