Dec 122015
 

Taken 12/5/2015 from Cherohala Skyway, North Carolina.  Sky quality was a little hazy early on and deteriorated by morning.  SQM readings started around 21.1 and topped out around 21.2 mag/arcsec^2.  This has always been a favorite object but I have always struggled processing it.  It’s dim, it’s difficult, it always seems soft…. I’d prefer to shoot these dark dusty nebula from a darker site and if I ever get the chance I’ll be coming back to this object.

NGC 1333 Stellarvue SVQ100 100mm f/5.8 APO Apogee Ascent A694 CCD Atlas EQG Mount w/EQMOD SX-OAG w/ Lodestar Guider Baader LRGB Filters 21x10min Lum, 3x10x5min RGB Cherohala Skyway, NC SQM: 21.1-21.2

 

Sep 072015
 

This was my first visit to Fall Creek Falls for the 2015 Tennessee Fall Star Gaze.  It’s a casual get together held at a clearing within walking distance from the Inn.  The site is reasonably dark measuring 21.42+ on Friday and 21.31 on Saturday after some thundershowers upped the humidity level.  Both nights were good so long as you were prepared for dew.

I spent both nights gathering data on SH2-155; the Cave Nebula.  It’s a fairly dark object and I’d like more than the 4.5 hours of exposure time I got on it but a couple technical issues coupled with the early moon rise limited my time….

SH2-155 AP130EDT f/8 reduced to f/6 AP900GTO3 Mount Apogee Ascent A694 CCD 9x10min Lum 7x10min Red 6x10min Green 5x10min Blue

SH2-155
AP130EDT f/8 reduced to f/6
AP900GTO3 Mount
Apogee Ascent A694 CCD
9x10min Lum
7x10min Red
6x10min Green
5x10min Blue

 

SH2-155 Annotated

SH2-155 Annotated

S 155, also known as the Cave Nebula, Sh2-155 or Caldwell 9, is a dim and very diffuse bright nebula within a larger nebula complex containing emission, reflection, and dark nebulosity. It is located in the constellation Cepheus.

Visually it is a difficult object, but with adequate exposure, makes a striking image. The nebula gets its name Cave Nebula from the dark lane at the eastern side abutting the brightest curve of emission nebulosity which gives the appearance of a deep cave when seen through a telescope visually.

Information Courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Fall Creek Falls Milkyway Pano Canon 6D, 17-40mm @ 17mm f/4, 20sec

Fall Creek Falls Milky Way Pano
Canon 6D, 17-40mm @ 17mm f/4, 20sec

This was my first time to Fall Creek Falls and I was not sure what to expect in terms of amenities.  For those of you considering going:  Restrooms are a 1000+ ft walk from the site.  There are no restrooms at the field, nor is there any power, water, etc.  The only things available at the site are trashcans.  The Inn, as I mentioned before, offers restrooms, along with buffet meals, vending machines, and accommodations on the lake.

 

Aug 112015
 

It ended up being a gorgeous night at Norris.  The MW was clearly visible and seeing looked reasonably good just based on the naked eye twinkle criteria.

I was able to gather a paltry 3x20min of O[III] and 2x20min of S[II] data on M8 (The Lagoon Nebula) to complete a tricolor Hubble Pallet image before it moved behind a tree….

M8_v2

M8 – The Lagoon Nebula SVQ100, Apogee A694, Atlas EQG. Resolution: 1.61 arcsec/pixel FWHM of Raw Frames: 2.6 arcsec Exposure: Ha 8x20min, O[III] 3x20min, S[II] 2x20min

Jul 262015
 

The night started off hazy with a big halo around the 68.5% illuminated waxing moon.  I wasn’t that optimistic about the high thin stuff clearing out so I threw the Lumenera monochrome high frame rate planetary camera on the scope instead of the usual deep sky camera and trained the scope on the moon for the public.  I added a wireless game-pad so they could drive the mount around and check out different parts of the moon on their own and hopefully add to their enjoyment.  After most of the guests had left I took a few videos and stacked them.  Unfortunately, the laptop is not setup for planetary imaging; hard drive space is very limited on the small SSD and I had to move each AVI to a flash drive as I took them…

Stellarvue SVQ100 & TV 5X Powermate with Lumenera Lu070 ccd.  30 seconds at 60 fps

Stellarvue SVQ100 & TV 5X Powermate with Lumenera Lu070 ccd. 30 seconds at 60 fps

AS_f100_Multi_Drizzle15_Moon_224106_g3_b3_ap62_wavelet

Stellarvue SVQ100 & TV 5X Powermate with Lumenera Lu070 ccd. 30 seconds at 60 fps

Luckily, it cleared up and the high thin stuff dissipated.  I grabbed the deep sky camera and got to work on M16, The Eagle Nebuka, in Sagittarius.

M16 - The Eagle Nebula Taken with a Stellarvue SVQ100, Apogee Ascent A694, Atlas EQ-G Mount, Baader 7nm Ha Filter.  Exposure time 8x20min.

M16 – The Eagle Nebula
Taken with a Stellarvue SVQ100, Apogee Ascent A694, Atlas EQ-G Mount, Baader 7nm Ha Filter. Exposure time 8x20min.

 

Jul 182015
 
M8 - The Lagoon Atlas EQ-G Stellarvue SVQ100, Apogee Ascent A694 8x20min through a Baader Ha 7nm filter.

M8 – The Lagoon
Atlas EQ-G
Stellarvue SVQ100, Apogee Ascent A694
8x20min through a Baader Ha 7nm filter.

The Lagoon Nebula (catalogued as Messier 8 or M8, and as NGC 6523) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is classified as an emission nebula and as a H II region.

The Lagoon Nebula was discovered by Giovanni Hodierna before 1654[4] and is one of only two star-forming nebulae faintly visible to the naked eye from mid-northern latitudes. Seen with binoculars, it appears as a distinct oval cloudlike patch with a definite core. In the foreground is the open cluster NGC 6530.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Home Observatory Site looking South.  The faint open cluster appearing on the left is M7 in Scorpius.

Future home observatory site looking south. The faint open cluster appearing on the left is M7 in Scorpius. Taken with a Canon 6D and 24-70mm f/2.8 at 24mm and f/4 for 20 sec at 1600 ISO.

 Conditions were decent up until some clouds rolled in around 3:00am.  There was a lot of lightning flashing to the north so I packed up a little early and headed back to the house.  SQM measurements started around 20.2 but improved to 20.4 with a max of 20.5 around 1:00am.

The light pollution domes seen in the image are Oak Ridge to the south west (right side) and Clinton to the east/south east (left side).

May 312015
 

Last year (2014) I was conducting some mosaic tests for future projects.  I attempted a widefield 9 panel mosaic in Cygnus and processed the hydrogen alpha data but never got around to completing the tri-color Hubble Pallet image until now due to some difficult to process issues in the O[III] and S[II] channels.  Those difficulties, combined with the fact that I only gathered about one frame of each channel per panel in the mosaic (very thin data!), meant that I wasn’t exactly thrilled to process this one to completion.  Time away from the hobby due to the out of state relocation though has made me a little anxious to get back to imaging so I decided to revisit some of this forgotten data.

Cygnus Mosaic Cropped & Reduced to 50% Size. 9 Panels, 1x20min per Ha, O[III], S[II] Channel per panel. Total Time 9 hours. Taken with an Apogee U16M and Tak FSQ-106ED.

Cygnus Mosaic Cropped & Reduced to 50% Size. 9 Panels, 1x20min per Ha, O[III], S[II] Channel per panel. Total Time 9 hours. Taken with an Apogee U16M and Tak FSQ-106ED.

Jan 112015
 

I’ve temporarily pulled the portable (read small) rig out onto my back patio by the pool which has a narrow window allowing imaging of the southern sky.  Since the move to TN I haven’t had a lot of time to do any astronomical imaging but the bug to get out do some imaging finally got to me.

20150110-Rosette-Ha-6x20min

Rosette Nebula, Atlas EQ-G Mount, Stellarvue SVQ100 APO, Apogee U8300, 6x20min exposure with 3nm Astrodon Ha Filter.