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.

Another year and my gaze turns to the lovely Pleiades cluster. This is hard for me to image because of the very bright stars and the diffraction spikes and the associated “star” artifacts. I lowered my sub exposure time to 120 seconds but next time I should go even lower. More subs is a good thing especially when dithering like I am. There is 1 hour 50 minutes here, or 55 exposures combined here.

From November first, NGC 1333 is a reflection nebula located in the constellation Perseus. Scattered clouds cut the session short so this one only has an hour and twelve minutes of combined five minute subs. the individual images were not impressive so this one got stretched quite a bit and shows some blotchy space, but this seems like a good target to come back to one day for more!

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.”

Looks like I did this one in 2017 so it was time for another visit! About two hours of integration on this image with 240 second subs at ISO 800. Image is cropped in a bit as this is a smaller target. Worth the look at full resolution by clicking on the picture below. At a distance of about 1227 light years and a visual magnitude of 7.5 it is easily visible in binoculars, and a popular observing target in amateur telescopes.

From NASA:

“Spotted by Charles Messier in 1764, M27 was the first planetary nebula ever discovered. The term “planetary nebula” is a bit of a misnomer based on the nebula’s round, planet-like appearance when viewed through smaller telescopes. The nebula is the result of an old star that has shed its outer layers in a glowing display of color.”

From July 28th I captured this nebula low in the southern sky. Despite what seemed unsettled air and not the best guiding, the 1 hour 20 minutes of 5 minute subs combined for a nice presentation. A very warm evening with a few shooting stars and near new moon darkness. So nice to out in!

From EarthSky.org:

The Omega Nebula – M17 – is visible through binoculars and glorious in a low power telescope. It’s one of our galaxy’s vast star-forming regions. Barely visible to the unaided eye on a  dark , moonless night, Messier 17 – aka the Omega Nebula – is best seen through binoculars or low power on a telescope. It’s very near another prominent nebula known as  Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula , home nebula of the famous  Pillars of Creation  photograph. These two closely-knit patches of haze readily fit within the same binocular field of view.

How to see M17. If you want to see deep-sky objects like this one, learn to recognize the constellation Sagittarius the Archer. It’s located in the direction of the center of our Milky Way galaxy; many beautiful star clusters and nebulae can be found in this part of the sky. Luckily, this constellation contains an easy-to-find star pattern, or asterism, in the shape of a teapot. From the legendary Teapot asterism in Sagittarius, it’s fairly easy to star-hop to the Omega Nebula and its companion nebula, M16.

From the Teapot, draw an imaginary line from the star Kaus Austrinus and pass just east (left) of the star Kaus Media to locate M16 and M17. These two nebulae are close together and located about one fist-width above the Teapot.

As seen from the Northern Hemisphere, the Teapot, M16 and M17 are summertime objects. They’re highest up when due south on late August evenings.

When you look at either M16 or M17, you’re gazing at deep-sky wonders in the next spiral arm inward: the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The M17 Omega Nebula is thought to be around 5,000 light-years away.