The Whale Galaxy and the Crowbar Galaxy are close neighbors from this perspective. Some wiki info:

NGC 4631 (also known as the Whale Galaxy or Caldwell 32) is a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. This galaxy’s slightly distorted wedge shape gives it the appearance of a herring or a whale, hence its nickname.[3] Because this nearby galaxy is seen edge-on from Earth, professional astronomers observe this galaxy to better understand the gas and stars located outside the plane of the galaxy.

NGC 4656/57 is a highly warped barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation Canes Venatici and is sometimes informally called the Hockey Stick Galaxies or the Crowbar Galaxy. The galaxy is a member of the NGC 4631 Group. A Luminous Blue Variable in “super-outburst” was discovered in NGC 4656/57 on March 21, 2005.

Imaged last night with a bit less than an hour of integration time. 180 second subs at 800ISO. Good dark area of the eastern sky for my location, but rather late in the night before they get up enough for a good look.

Whale and Crowbar Galaxies

Around 6 degrees Fahrenheit last night while catching some images. This from Wikipedia:

NGC 2403 is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Camelopardalis. NGC 2403 is an outlying member of the M81 Group, and is approximately 8 million light-years distant.

Just north of straight up around 10:30 last night, I took 21 light frames of 180 seconds each at ISO800 plus darks, flats, and bias frames processed in Deep Sky Stacker and Photoshop CS2. Tracking was rather good for my setup on this high target with end of run RMS error just over 0.8 arc seconds. This is a cropped photo, since I still do not even have a Coma Corrector for this setup. Basically the edges of the picture are very distorted without the corrective lens. That is just the way optics work in a “fast” Newtonian telescope.

The Canon camera at this telescopes focal length of 610mm covers about 1.6 arc seconds per pixel, so if I believe the numbers, most of the time the imaging will stay within one pixel during exposure. Kinda mind boggling actually.  

NGC2403

Getting ready for dark skies!
Astronomy in a box, err shed. Propane heater at the ready!

Clear Skies!

Time to get ready


These photos were taken recently to show something of the current astrophotography setup in our backyard. The mount stays put to preserve polar alignment and is covered with several layers of protection when not in use.

The shed holds the dismounted scope and desktop computer for mount and camera control. I have two house power circuits to the shed ready for future expansion into a more functional observatory building.

The Desktop computer in on our wireless network so I have internet at the scope, and can use Microsoft “remote desktop connection” to run everything from in the house if I want to.

I run Deep Sky Stacker to combine the individual images with the computer outside, and then copy the resulting file to a computer in the house for the post processing. Currently I just use Photoshop CS2 with some action sets and plugins like Astro Flat to get something to share. It would be nice to use PixInsight, but I am not there yet.