“Messier 96 is an intermediate spiral galaxy about 32 million light-years away in the constellation Leo. It was discovered by French astronomer Pierre Méchain on March 20, 1781”

M96 is the one in middle, M95 to the right and M105 to the left top are all around the same distance from us.

NGC 3384 is 26 million light years, and finally NGC 3389 classified as a magnitude 12.4 and the farthest at 80 million light years. 

I captured this group last night and this image was made from the later and darker sub exposures representing  just one hour integration time. It seems I included a frame with something running diagonal through the lower left. Surprised it was not processed out in stacking, and it only showed up in the image at the last curves adjustment as I was finishing up. Oh well, it adds something of realism I suppose!

M96

     Thought it was going to be warmer but not by much!

Some trouble getting things started and one of the imaging programs decided to not cooperate with the guide camera. The guiding software itself connected without problems but guiding was very poor. Not sure if there were some light clouds or what. Still many mysteries in this business for me! Only a little over an hour of data on this one. Because the guiding was so wonky I felt it was not worth continuing. I tossed four subs, one with a satellite going right through it!

From the web: First recorded in 1785 by William Herschel, the Needle Galaxy is an edge-on spiral galaxy about 30 to 50 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices with a visual magnitude of approximately 10. A small companion galaxy (NGC 4562) can be seen to the right. For those curious, the New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (NGC) is an extensive catalogue of astronomical deep sky objects that was compiled by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1888.

 

Another year and back for another run at NGC 2403. I did not crop this image as I did before, but comparing full size the image scale is similar. Compared to a year ago I am dithering now and using longer exposures on the subs. Definite improvement!

Just over two hours imaging at 5 degrees below zero. All the gear still working and I get to monitor from inside the house! A rare clear day and then night had me intrigued to see if I could get all the gear running. It has been a while and was glad to see it worked! 

Discovered by William Herschel in 1788, it is thought to be about 8 million light years away. Located in the sky not too far south from the north pole in the constellation Camelopardalis. 

 

NGC 2403

 I had an image of the Triangulum before back in September of 2017 with my first astrophotography setup. Since then I have some upgrades and had a break in the weather to get imaging this target very high up in the sky. About two hours integration on this and a tiny bit better at image processing. Although the improvements in hardware and experience are minimal, the result is I think significant. The prior image was cropped in closer but I include it here for comparison.

 

 vs 2018 

    OK this was an unplanned capture last night, but I am so glad I spent that extra half hour on the 600LB gorilla in the night sky! Of course at this time of year it is not in the best position, but with the New Moon and being as it was around 2:30 in the night Andromeda was ready for a look. This is imaged at full scale with the 600mm focal length scope and the crop sensor DSLR. I got on target and the framing looked great so I went for it. At this scale four moons fit easily across the field.

From Wikipedia:
      The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth, and the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way. It contains approximately one trillion stars, more than twice the number of the Milky Way’s estimated 200-400 billion stars. The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are expected to collide in ~4.5 billion years, merging to form a giant elliptical galaxy or a large disc galaxy.

Andromeda

Up at a decent height in the northeast sky by 1:00 AM last night one of my favorite subjects, FIREWORKS!  Well the galaxy at least! 9 subs of 360 seconds each at ISO 1600 for this dim object brings out a crowded field of stars along with the much closer open cluster know as NGC 6939

From Wikipedia:

(Fireworks Galaxy) “Discovered by William Herschel on 9 September 1798, this well-studied galaxy has a diameter of approximately 40,000 light-years, about one-third of the Milky Way’s size, and it contains roughly half the number of stars as the Milky Way. The galaxy is heavily obscured by intersteller matter as it lies quite close to the galactic plane of the Milky Way.” 

“NGC 6939 is located near the border of the constellations Cepheus and Cygnus, at the southwest corner of Cepheus. The open cluster is located  2/3° northwest from the spiral galaxy NGC 6946 (The Fireworks Galaxy), which has visual magnitude 8.8. They appear as two patches of haze with 10×50 binoculars. NGC 6939 can be glimsed with 7×35 binocoluars where as 25×200 binocoluras are required to start resolve the cluster. The cluster can be glimsed with a 4 inch telescope and is resolved at x72 magnification.”
Fireworks Galaxy with neighboring open cluster

 

 Located approximately 52 million light years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major, this galaxy was nearly straight overhead toward midnight last night. No moon helped and guiding was very good in this mount orientation. It was warm though for my un-cooled DSLR camera so noise levels were up. 19 subs at 240 seconds each or around 1 hour 15 minutes combined for this image.

Some information on this region from “http://www.astronomersdoitinthedark.com”  :

“NGC 3718 is classified as a peculiar barred spiral galaxy. The galaxy’s spiral arms are quite warped due to the gravitational interaction with its close neighbor on the left of this image, NGC 3729. NGC 3718 features a prominent, dark spiral dust lane wrapping around its nucleus. The core of the galaxy probably contains a supermassive black hole.”

 If you look at the full screen image you can see another galaxy group.

“The group of 5 galaxies (To the left and up a bit) is Hickson 56. The Hickson 56 group is a background group of galaxies that is 400 million light years from us – 8 times farther than the foreground group”

 

NGC 3718 and neighbors

       From April 19th around 1:00 I was able to find this group shot of galaxies known as Markarian’s Chain in the Virgo Cluster. The brighter ones are M84 and M86. An American astrophysicist Benjamin Markarian, found that a group of seven galaxies in this region are traveling together at about the same speed, with M86 (as the highest “blue shifted” object in the Messier Catalog) traveling toward us at 150 miles per second. Even though they are headed our way right now, in the long run they are attracted to the Virgo Cluster which is between us. Two galaxies just left of center are distorted by gravitational interaction and the one above is clearly asymmetrical.

A dozen or more galaxies easily found
Leo Triplet Galaxies

Just spent a little time on the exact same stacked image from 03/11 with a few more tricks. Just an example of what happens in photo development. Lots more could be done especially with more advanced software, but for now this is just an earmark of my current workflow. Arguably over worked but an interesting comparison to the previous rendering.