Messier 42, The Orion Nebula is one of the most iconic deep sky objects and one of the brightest nebula, it can be seen as a fuzzy star in the sword of Orion figure. Illuminated by a central cluster of stars, the four primary ones are referred to as the Trapezium, for their shape of a trapezoid. As a stellar nursery it is in the process of forming new stars as pockets of the nebula collapse under gravity.
Messier 35, and NGC 2158, two open clusters located in Gemini the Twins. These are more like distant relatives. M 35 is relatively near by at only 2,800 light years, and NGC 2158 is a distant 15,000 light years away. M 35 is a young cluster at around 150 million years old, and NGC 2158 is an old 2 billion years old cluster. M 35 has an abundance of bright blueish stars that burn through their fuel at a faster rate, and only the older more yellowish survive in NGC 2158.
NGC 7510 a compressed young open cluster located in Cepheus. Some dimming of the stars due to a plume of gas and dust that is plentiful in the area.
Messier 57 is a planetary nebula located in Lyra. A planetary nebula when a star nears the end of its life at the end of its red giant phase, the outer layers are blown off as the star shrinks down to be come a white dwarf. The exposed core of the star ionizes the surrounding gas causing it to glow. Planetary nebula typically only last a few ten thousands of years as the gas dissipates.
The blueish-green light comes from ionized oxygen, and the red outer layers come from ionized hydrogen. In deeper images it can be seen extending out much further. The central star shines at magnitude 14.8
Messier 1 or the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant from a star that went supernova in 1054 observed and recorded by Chinese astronomers. Being so bright, it was even visible in the day time. All that remains of the star is a neutron star that spins at 30 times a second that emits pulses of radiation. Such stars are called pulsars as the beam from their magnetic poles causes a pulse of radiation as they rotate. The expanding nebula is illuminated by the radiation outpouring from the pulsar and is expanding at the rate of 1,500 km/s.
iTelescope.net is an web based network of remotely controlled telescopes currently based in four areas. The service has telescopes based in New Mexico, and California in the United States, in Spain, and in Australia. Using a web browser, one can control or upload a planned observation that can reserve telescope time and execute automatically at the appointed time. It describes itself as a Self-Funding Observatory with most of the profits invested back into upgrading their operation.
Here are a few of the images I've taken with the new camera and equipment. Still working out the bugs with the new equipment and camera.
First up is the Great Globular Cluster in the constellation of Hercules. Imaged under a full Moon, so not the best imaging conditions.
Just received a new camera, and no charge for the extended cloudiness that comes with any astronomical purchase. Received a just out ASI 1600MM-Cool camera. It is a 16 megapixel 4/3 CMOS sensor, that has a resolution of 4656 x 3520 pixels, and a pixel size of 3.8 nanometers. It also has a two stage TEC cooling system that can take the sensor down to 40C below the ambient temperature. It also has a very low read noise, which is good for deep sky, and with its relatively high frame rate it can also be used as a planetary camera. Looking forward to trying it out in both types of imaging.
After using the dome for several years, started thinking about the next observatory. Wanted the capability of using two scopes in those seeming rare clear moonless nights, and the ability to image without having to rotate the dome. At the time, automating my dome was looking rather difficult and expensive.
Settled on a roll off roof observatory, and after doing research, ordered plans for a SkyShed RoR. Picked the 10 foot by 10 foot one, based on my ability to haul the supplies, and most likely I would be building it by myself.
When you first start astrophotography, it quickly becomes apparent how much a convenience a permanent setup brings. First you have to bring out the tripod, the counterweights, and the scope. Then haul out the power, either battery(s) or A/C cord. Then a table for the computer, then the computer. Then all the cables to control the mount, the cameras. Then the mount has to be polar aligned with the axis of the earth so the mount can track objects better as they rotate through the sky. Of course, by then, clouds will appear out of no wheres.
So a high priority was to build a permanent setup for the scope and equipment. I decided to tackle building a dome, well because I think domes are cool. They also do a great job of blocking wind, reducing dew, and any stray light, which luckily I don't have much of a problem with.