After a significant pause I was finally able to get out to the telescope the night before and capture this image of M106. After rebuilding the astroshed computer and reloading software this was the first actual run so there were a few bugs to work out. The same goes for my desk computer were I processed this image after reinstalling software and getting things set up again. It never fails to amaze me that while looking at one galaxy, there are several other galaxies photo-bombing! The night sky is a constant reminder of our place in the universe and how precious our existence is here on this pale blue dot.

“Despite carrying his name, Messier 106 was neither discovered nor catalogued by the renowned 18th century astronomer Charles Messier. Discovered by his assistant, Pierre Méchain, the galaxy was never added to the catalogue in his lifetime. Along with six other objects discovered but not logged by the pair, Messier 106 was posthumously added to the Messier catalogue in the 20th century.”

Looks like several other galaxies photo bombed the main attraction!

Maffei 1 is a massive elliptical galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. Once believed to be a member of the Local Group of galaxies, it is now known to belong to its own group, the Maffei Group. It was named after Paolo Maffei, who discovered it and the neighboring Maffei 2 in 1967 via their infrared emissions.”

In the North Eastern sky I found this galaxy in Stellarium (planetarium software). In the 300 second subs it was rather dim but after stacking 23 subs it was visible at least. Masking the stars and pushing the data hard I came up with this image.

Last night was the first clear night without a moon in a while. Cold weather with single digit nightime temperatures wound up below zero by early morning. I used almost two and a half hours of 360 second subs for this image.

“NGC 891 is an edge-on unbarred spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda. It was discovered by William Herschel on October 6, 1784.”

“it’s one of the best examples of an edge-on galaxy in the sky although a challenging object for small scopes. Due to its attractiveness and scientific appeal, NGC 891 was selected on October 12, 2005 to be the first light image of the Large Binocular Telescope at Mount Graham International Observatory in Arizona. In 2012, it was again selected as first light image, this time for the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) Large Monolithic Imager at the Lowell Observatory in Happy Jack, Arizona.”

    “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!


     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