Thursday, December 6, 2018

NGC 7635 - Bubble Nebula & Vicinity

I have an image of the Bubble Nebula from three years ago when I imaged the globular cluster M52 for my Messier Catalog.  Needles to to say, this HOO image blows it away.  NGC 7635, the Bubble Nebula, is being pushed out by the stellar wind of massive star inside the nebula. Also in this region is a cloud of gas and dust in this region which is able to contain the expansion of the bubble gas.  However, the gas gets heated by the hot radiation from the bubble's central star causing it to glow. The Bubble is about 10 light-years across.  Also located in this image is M52 - Cassiopeia Salt and Pepper Cluster off to the right and the even more impressive NGC 7538 - Northern Lagoon Nebula to the left.  I was going to crop the Bubble like many other imagers do but I saw the Northern Lagoon and decided to keep the large field.  Besides there are many other great close ups of the Bubble with larger aperture scopes so I decided to keep the large field.  The upper left portion of the image contains even more nebulosity and and not just hydrogen, the gas also had a strong oxygen signal as well.

I was not planning to image this object this year or at least with the ED80 as I thought my new telescope (ordered three months ago) would have arrived by now, oh well - I hear it is in California waiting to go through customs. I imaged this in Ha and OIII and did capture a little SII but chose not to add it as it was less than an hour and I was not happy with the focus.  I am being more picky with focusing these days.  In fact I through out a nights worth of oxygen as it was way out of focus.  I thought my filters were par focal before learning the hard way that par focal is a bunch of hogwash.  Unfortunately I did not have time to add any RGB for a star field either so this will have to do for now. I am looking forward to the new winter constellations most of which are visible from my astronomy shed which makes setup much easier.

Processing took a little while as always as I was trying new things in PI and PS.  I took a short course on processing with PixInsight and Photoshop offered by fellow AB imager Shannon Calvert of the Westport Astronomical Society (WAS) the other night and picked up some new tricks especially with noise reduction.  Of course it was on one of the few perfectly clear nights we have in Connecticut.

HOO

Ha

OIII

NGC 7635 - Bubble Nebula
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 11-11-18, 11-29-18
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO Ha, OIII
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: Ha 41 x 180, OIII 50 x 180 (4.55 hr total)
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Temp: -10 C
Post Processing: PixInsight and Photoshop
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Friday, November 30, 2018

NGC 404 - Mirach's Ghost

I was not planning to image Mirach and the Ghost (NGC 404) as I just needed a bright star to carefully check how far off or how close each filter's focus is from one another.  I assumed they were all par focal since they were same brand but I had my doubts.  I recently shot the Bubble in Ha and then the following night in OIII. On the second night I checked the focus in luminosity.  The night was wasted, after stacking, it was clear the focus was way off. After some research and AB communication with Gary Imm I discovered there is no real such thing as par focal.  I don't have a fancy electronic focuser that takes care of offsets so I thought I would see if I could make a chart and do it manually.  That really did not work however I did get much better at focusing and discovered that the LRGB and Ha are very close, beyond detection, however, the OIII and SII were different.  From now on I will carefully check each filter in particular the narrowband filters.  I re-imaged the Bubble in OIII last night and although I did not stack them, the individual subframes were far sharper than I have seen in my previous OIII images.

The Ghost is a dwarf lenticular galaxy, similar to the Small Magellanic Cloud.  Astronomers suspect one or several mergers with smaller galaxies roughly 1 billion years ago caused star formation and that NGC 404 is a former spiral galaxy that was transformed into a lenticular one by those events.

In my image NGC is to the lower left within Mirach's shine.  I did not crop it much as I liked the star field and this was more of a test anyway.  Several blue and yellow stars are scattered throughout the image.  Mirach or Beta Andromedae is a red giant 197 light-years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 2.05 - perfect for focusing practice.


NHC 404 - Ghost of Mirach
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 11-27-18
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO R, G, B
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: R 10 x 90, G 13 x 90, 16 x 90 (58.5 min total)
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Temp: -10 C
Post Processing: PixInsight and Photoshop
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Orion Atlas Mount Extension is the same diameter as Orion SkyView Pro Mount Extension

The Orion Atlas Telescope Mount Extension ($99.99) is the same diameter as Orion SkyView Pro Mount Extension ($99.99).  The Atlas Extension is 8.4" (21.3 cm) where as the SkyView Extension is a whopping 16" (40.64 cm) and both extensions have a 4" (102 mm) outside diameter.  The connection/adapters are different so you will still need to get both extensions if you want the larger length tube with the Atlas mount or visa versa.

     Orion SkyView Extension                                           Orion Atlas/Atlas Pro Extension
                                 

In Addition:
The Atlas Mount uses the same diameter adapter as the Atlas Pro Mount and I believe the Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro Mount - both extensions should work.  The Sky-Watcher version of the smaller extension is Sky-Watcher Pier Extension for the EQ6 and EQ6-R mount.

Sky-Watcher Pier Extension for the EQ6


Also, the Orion SkyView Pro Telescope Mount Extension works with the original Orion Sirius Mount (discontinued) and I believe the original Sky-Watcher HEQ5, therefore, these extension swaps will work with these mounts as well!

Note:
The new Orion Sirius Pro AZ/EQ-G Mount and Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ5 have a different mount head adapter that bolts to a 3-5/8" (92 mm) diameter tube and will not work with this extension swap.

Orion Sirius Pro Extension


So why do I know all this?  


I have a concrete pier in my astronomy shed with a modified Orion SkyView Pro Mount Extension to hold my telescope.  In order to open the roof of my shed, I had to move the telescope as home orientation was too high.  It did not need to be so high as I have trees which block low altitude objects anyway.  I purchased a new Atlas Pro last year and noticed when I imaged past the meridian, the camera hit the leg so I knew I needed an extension.  When I started looking into purchasing the Atlas Extension I noticed it looked like the SkyView Extension only smaller.  I contacted Orion to check if they knew the tubes were interchangeable, they did not think it would work since the adapters were different.  However, since I was getting one Atlas Extension it could hurt to see if the bolt pattern and diameter lined up.  As luck would have it, the extension fit perfect and I order another extension for my mount.  Both the concrete pier and Atlas Pro Mount are happy!

         Orion SkyView Extension                                        Atlas Pro with Extension
                                    

It is too bad Orion or Sky-Watcher could not offer the tubes and adapters separately so you can chose what size lift you would like.  Oh well!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Ghost of Cassiopeia - IC 63 (2018)

They say there are no such things as ghosts but there sure looks like there is one in Cassiopeia. Located approximately 550 light-years away IC 63, a.k.a. the ghost of Cassiopeia is a a nebula being shaped by radiation from a nearby variable star, Gamma Cassiopeia (a.k.a. Navi the middle star in Cassiopeia), which is slowly eroding away the ghostly cloud of dust and gas (source: ESA/Hubble).

I was not planning on imaging IC 63 but it was finally clear and an OK size for my 80 mm refractor. I ordered a new larger refractor (115mm) a couple of months ago and have been waiting for to arrive.  I imaged over three nights although I was only planning on two, however, the camera moved slightly so I moved it back, quickly checked the focus and imaged.  When I looked at the images the next day it looked as if the focus was off a bit so I re-imaged after carefully focusing the following night.  Turns out the focus seemed the same so I used all the images, I attributed the difference to better clarity the first night.

Processing was basically trying things to see what looked good.  I processed the Ha and OIII and combined them into an HOO image.  I then experimented with combining Ha and OIII into the green channel at various percentages.  I then did an HaRGB but really just used the Ha in place of the red channel.  I then did a normal RGB image.  After much trial and error, the final image was a combined HaGB with HOO.  The HOO was made with 100% Ha - red, 80% OIII + 20% Ha - green, 100% OIII - blue.  I then added RGB for the stars.

 HaGB+HOO(0.8/0.2)

New Version - Less NR, added 25% Luminosity

HOO(0.8/0.2)

HOO

RGB

Ha

IC 63 and IC 59 - Ghost of Cassiopeia
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 11-8-18, 11-10-18, 11-11-18
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO Ha, OIII, R, G, B
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: Ha 37 x 180s, OIII 60 x 180s, R 36 x 90, G 38 x 90, 39 x 90 (7.7 hrs total)
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Temp: -10 C
Post Processing: PixInsight and Photoshop
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Triangulum Galaxy, M33 (2018)

After a month of crazy weather, pneumonia, and finishing other projects, I finally finished the Triangulum galaxy (M33).  This spiral galaxy is the third largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, after Andromeda and the Milky Way.  It is located 3 million light-years from Earth in the Triangulum Constellation and can be seen with the naked eye in dark locations.  Triangulum is moving towards Andromeda and studies from 2005 and 2011 suggest that it may have interacted with Andromeda in the past.  Several regions contain star-forming HII nebula some of which are visible in my modest image.   

Once again this was a great learning experience with PixInsight as I did a little more processing with it which is why it took a few days to finish.  I had to watch more videos and there is a lot of trial and tweak.  I was able to add Ha data but not as a 100% addition but as a 20% addition to enhance the Ha regions which already were visible in the LRGB version.  PI is a great tool for experimenting with combining data sets.  I also did the final processing with PS as there some things which are much easier for me in PS at this point in time.

Lastly, while collecting imaging I made a couple of short YouTube videos on using AstroPhotography Tool (APT for Idiots).  I plan on making more over the course of a year but they won't necessarily be in any logical order until I am done.  I am a firm believer that best way to learn something is teach it and hopefully the videos will benefit new APT users.

Using APT - Focusing (4:08) - https://youtu.be/01wpkvc6r3w
Using APT - Plate-Solving (6:35) -  https://youtu.be/wTiDS4txAEQ

M33 HaLRGB

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy HaLRGBLocation: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 9-29-18, 10-29-18, 10-30-18, 11-3-18
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
f/7.5
Focal Reducer: Orion 0.8x Focal Reducer for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO Ha, L, R, G, B
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: Ha 32 x 180s, L 2 x 90s, R 38 x 90, G 38 x 90, 38 x 90
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Temp: -10 C
Post Processing: PixInsight and Photoshop
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/