M74/M71/M56/M52/M34

Except for the galaxy M74 these are all clusters. Except for M56 they are all a dozen or so 80 second ISO 800 shots with the canon t3i through the william optics z61(360mm, f/5). M56 was accidentally done at 10 sec ISO 6400. I’m not sure it suffered all that much for the skimping.

M74
M71
M56
m52
M34

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M72/M73

These are crappy, pro-forma, messier sweep images but I like them. I was shooting for M73 which was too close to my roof and getting closer so i grabbed a dozen shots 10 seconds at iso 6400. The one above with the roofile out of focus at the bottom has a nice sky colour. It’s cropped below to show M73 – an asterism of four stars near the left – and M72, a larger globular cluster on the right.

M14 and M92

M14
M92

These don’t amuse me nearly as much as nebulae and galaxies but i guess i’m going to work through the messier catalog as they wheel past me. M14 and M92 are both about 30,000 light years away so part of our galaxy.

These are both low effort images – 9 or 10 exposures at 60 seconds for M92 and 90 seconds for M14 all at ISO 800 with the canon t3i on the William Optics Z61(360mm f/6).

M102 is Shy But Has Distant Companions.

M102 is a small galaxy considered to be the same as NGC5866. It’s visually small even as galaxies go but it was in an easy part of the sky last night so i captured 30 subs of 60 seconds ISO 800 with the canon t3i and the william optics z61(360 f/6). The usual processing in Siril. The second picture below shows a broader crop where two other galaxies are obvious – NGC5879 on the lower left and NGC5905 on the right. M102 is about 50 million light years away. The third picture is a screencap of wikipedia’s image of M102 and the final one is wikipedia’s NGC5907 both of which blew me away.

M104 – Sombrero Galaxy

Thirty lights 60 seconds each at ISO 800 with the canon t3i through the William Optics Z61(360mm f/6). Processed in Siril with photometric colour calibration and asinh.

I took it for the Sombrero Galaxy but my eye is always caught by the patterns formed by stars in these images. Toward the top right is what feels like a cartoon of a rocketship fleeing the frame and near the middle left there’s kind of an arrow pointing to it. It’s all just perspective though – the sombrero galaxy is 30 million lightyears away and the individual stars are all in our own galaxy but nowhere near each other some are as “close” to us as a few hundred light years and some over 1,000.

My rocketship though is apparently well known as the “Stargate” asterism STF 1659.

M3 – I’m Dithering!

Over-processed as always, this is 40 25 second shots at ISO 800 through the Z61(360mm f/6). Processed with siril’s photometric colour calibration then the black point raised .2. Of the 40 shots, 30 had dithering applied. That’s easy to do, just a button in Backyard EOS, but i can’t see that it made a difference.

Below is a comparo where i processed 10 images with no dither(ND), 10 with dither(D10), 30 with dither(D30) and the whole lot(ALL40).

Even Messier with a Triplet

This is what’s called the Leo Triplet: M65, M66, and NGC 3628. Unsurprisingly, they are in the Constellation Leo.

They’re not too far visually from Markarian’s chain and the background here is also full of less spectacular galaxies. Just to pick one at random, IC 2792 in the bottom right corner is magnitude 17 and apparent size is .5X.3 arcminutes as opposed to M66, closest to it in the image which is magnitude 10 and 9X4 arcminutes. So M66 might be visible in binoculars but IC 2792 is hopeless. NGC3596 in the top left, visible as a faint fuzzy in my image is mag 12 and about 4X4 arcminutes.

I took 42 images of 75 seconds at 800 ISO with the Canon t3i through the William Optics Z61(360mm f/6). Stacked and processed in Siril.

The Rosette Nebula

This has been my great white whale for the last couple of months. It’s in the south in the winter which makes it tricky from my back yard. Last night I went to a nearby park where I have a view to the south over farmland. With the snow gone I was able to get 30 100 second subs at 800 ISO through the william optics z61(360mm f/6). I had to stand for the better part of an hour blocking a streetlight but it seemed worth it. There was a pretty strong gradient in the subs but I found a new siril script that seems to do a good job knocking down gradients. Probably a few weeks ago at the last new moon would have been better but i’ll take this for now. The blotch at around 2 o’clock is dust that wasn’t mitigated by my flats. Besides the script I would have used siril’s auto-stretch histogram, the asinh function to raise the blackpoint and colour saturation to boost the colour.

I’ve been looking lately at all-in-one astrophotography solutions like stellina or the EVscope. It’s not that i can’t get decent results but it’s a lot of hacking around in the field and after the fact.

Polarissima Cluster

Another pretty name, the polarissima cluster is also just a few degrees away from polaris opposite polarissima borealis.I seriously just bagged it for the name. The bright star to the right is not polaris – it’s 2 uMi, magnitude 4.

This is 30 60 second shots at 800 iso through the william optics Z61(360mm f/6).

Polarissima Borealis

I just think that’s a wonderful name for a galaxy. Unfortunately it’s far away and dim. it’s a stunning 285 million light years away and appears as magnitude 14. Not hard to find but hard to photograph. The near star in the inset is magnitude 12 Gaia DR2 1152635154843863808 (well probably). Polarissima Borealis is NGC 3172.

This is 30 shots of 60 seconds at 800 ISO through the william optics Z61 (360mm f/5).