NGC 404 is a dwarf lenticular galaxy 10 million light years away. It lies just 7 arc-min away from the star Mirach, a red giant. The close proximity has earned it the name of Mirach's Ghost because of the difficulty of seeing it.
NGC 436 is a small open cluster located in Cassiopeia, not far away from the more famous Owl or E.T. Cluster. Discovered by William Herschel in 1787.
3C 147 is a quasar located in the constellation of Auriga. A quasar is a term that originated with the term quasi-stellar object (QSO). When first discovered, they looked like stars, but their spectrum resembled a galaxy, and when their red-shift of their spectrum was measured, it indicated an object at extreme distance, which was quite a paradox. They now are identified as a active galactic nucleus powered by a super massive black hole with in-falling matter creating a light source that can be thousand times brighter than an entire galaxy. The red-shift of 3C 147 indicates that the light we see today took 5.1 billion light-years to reach us.
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.