Mike's Astro Photos

Archive for December, 2011

Dec.29 2011

M51 – The Whirlpool Galaxy

by , under Galaxies

Here’s a photo I took from my observatory of Messier 51, the famous Whirlpool Galaxy.

M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy - December 28th, 2011

At an estimated 23 million light years away, M51 is one of the most famous galaxies in the sky and a popular target for amateur astronomers. M51 is an interacting, grand-design, spiral galaxy. Interacting means, the galaxy is merging with another galaxy resulting in a disturbance of both galaxies because the gravitational fields of each are ‘interacting’ with each other. Grand-design is a designation for a special type of spiral galaxy that has prominent, well defined continuous spiral arms. Less than 10% of all spiral galaxies are designated grand-design.

Earlier this year in June 2011, a super nova was discovered inside M51 bringing renewed attention to the galaxy. I don’t think the supernova is still visible in last night’s image. I did look to see if it was there though.

Happy New Year!

Astro Photo Details
30 minutes RGB & 60 minutes of L / 150 total minutes (2.5 hours)
SBIG ST8300 Camera
MMOAG & SBIG 402 Guide Camera
Paramount ME Mount
RCOS 14.5
The Sky X / CCDStack / CCDSoft

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Dec.23 2011

The right side of the Moon

by , under Lunar

Here’s a panoramic image of the moon. This is actually 4 pictures taken of different sections stitched together into one image. I think it would take 20 or more pictures to capture the entire moon with this method.

Moon Panoramic - December 12th, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Dec.14 2011

Geminid Meteor Shower Photos 2011

by , under Comets & Meteors

Last night was the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. I setup my camera around 8:00 PM and photographed continuously through the night. The sky was clear until about 2:00 am and then covered with clouds for the rest of the evening. I was able to catch a total of 11 meteors in that 6 hour window. That’s pretty good considering there was a near full moon for most of the evening.

Here’s my final composite holding 7 of the best images from the night.

Composite of Geminid Meteor Shower - Dec 13th, 2011

I used a Canon 5d Mark II camera with a fisheye 15 MM 1:2.8 lens. The extra large CCD inside the mark II used with the fish eye lens allows you to capture the whole sky. This really improves your odds of catching meteors! Here’s another Geminid meteor pic which shows the field of view through this system.

Geminid Meteor - December 13th, 2011

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Dec.05 2011

Galaxy NGC 891

by , under Galaxies

Here’s a photo of the Galaxy NGC 891. This is the first image I have taken with my new system where all things were working perfectly: mount, scope, focusing, temperature & software. I am especially excited about figuring out the automation software because I literally slept through this job!

NGC 891 – December 03, 2011

Astro Photo Details
30s of minute RGBL / 120 Total minutes
SBIG ST8300 Camera
MMOAG & SBIG 402 Guide Camera
Paramount ME Mount
RCOS 14.5
The Sky X / CCDStack / CCD Auto Pilot

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