Recent Images

The Coma Galaxy Cluster

The Coma Galaxy Cluster

Abell 1656

Coma Berenices


I went camping last week as a guest of the Orpington Astronomical Society at their Deep Sky Camp in darkest East Sussex. Here's the Coma Cluster, Abell 1656, in Coma Berenices, captured over two nights. I captured almost 5 hours of data over the two nights but by the time I had blinked out all the subs with satellite trails the total integration was down to 3.5 hours. There's over a 1000 galaxies in the Coma Cluster. That's trillions upon trillions of stars. Makes you go wow!

The Sun 08/05/24

The Sun.


All this excitement about the aurora and I missed it! Ironically because I was camping in a field in East Sussex at an astronomy star party, came back home a bit knackered and went to bed early. Anyway, I did manage to capture an image of the massive Sunspot group AR3664 that expelled the coronal mass ejection that caused the aurora.

The Moon 21/04/24

The Moon at 96% illumination.



Almost Full Moon, the Luminance capture of a 300 frame SER video using the recently released SharpCap 4.1. Did a few runs of 300 x L, 100 x each RGB in Mono16 SER files. The ROI was about 3500 x 3500. The frame rate struggled to stay in double figures! SharpCap 4.0 kept freezing on me but the new release 4.1 worked very well. If it had an auto filter offset focus adjustment it would be perfect! The video frames were stacked in AS3 and saved as .fit files. I've not been able to combine the LRGB .fit files in Pixinsight, apparently they're not the same size! Looks like I need additional tuition! So this is the Luminance capture only. A not quite full Moon shows the crater rays well and a few crater shadows on the Western limb.

The Draco Triplet

The Draco Triplet 

NGC5985, NGC5982, NGC5981



Galaxy Cluster

I captured almost 6 hours of LRGB but blinked it down to 2 hours 36 minutes by the time I got rid of the clouds, the condensation and the satellites.

It was a bit of a practice run. In May I'm going camping for a couple of nights in the middle of nowhere, central East Sussex, as a guest of the Orpington Astronomical Society. I've got the Coma Cluster on my list of potential targets.

The Intergalactic Wanderer

The Intergalactic Wanderer 

C25, NGC2419



Globular Cluster

Well the full Moon bleached everything out as you would expect. But when the night sky is clear you got to do what you got to do! I was tricked by the low humidity and forgot to turn up the percent aggression on the dew controllers for a close to zenith target so copped some condensation. But I didn't want to over process it and loose the detail of the glob. So here's a suboptimal Caldwell 25, the Intergalactic Wanderer. I was going to rotate the camera to get a nice horizontal conga line but I had already calibrated the guiding and didn't want to move it!

Medusa Nebula

 The Medusa Nebula

Sharpless 2-274, Abell 21



Planetary Nebula

I had a go at the Medusa Nebula. It is a dim target and was never going to be a prize winner sitting as it does low to the south above the Medway Towns light pollution. But it was a good test for what I can see in that part of the sky. Aka SH2-274 and Abell 21. I managed five hours of LRGB exposures which I whittled down to four after blinking out the wind gusts and CGX guiding quirks. All at 240seconds, 20 x Dark, 20 x Flat. Captured in NINA. It's a bit over processed in an attempt to tease out the colour in the nebula. Processed in PixInsight.

Lunar X

Lunar X and V Clair Obscur


This is a first for me and it nearly didn't happen. There was intermittent cloud after sunset. The X was due at 23:45. The Moon was photogenically sitting right next to the Pleiades tonight but my field of view is too narrow to capture both targets together. As the due time got close the clouds got thicker! I was looping 30 second exposures just to help keep on target. Then with perfect timing the clouds cleared, I reduced the exposure to 0.001 seconds and caught a few frames. Single frame, masked stretch, curves adjustment and sharpened in PixInsight.

Sailboat Cluster

The Sailboat Cluster 




The Sailboat Cluster is an Open Cluster with an adjacent Reflection Nebula and Dark Nebula.

Had a bit of an experimental evening. With the Full Moon blazing there was not much chance of any quality astrophotography but the sky was clear and you have to do what you have to do when the sky is clear! I came across the Sailboat Cluster whilst playing in Stellarium. I'm familiar with the Open Cluster and they're ok during a Full Moon but I didn't know about the Reflection Nebula and the Dark Nebula. I used a NINA Sequence that used the PHD2 Tools plugin that interrupts an exposure if the guiding is sub par. The cluster looks good but the image is a bit washed out by the Lunar light pollution and there's a visible grey nebula where the blue reflection nebula should be but the dark nebula is evident. The final stack is 37L, 19R, 15G, 18B all at 3 minutes. 4 hours 27 minutes. Processed in Pixinsight. 

Monkey Head Nebula

The Monkey Head Nebula 19/01/24




The Monkey Head Nebula is an H II Emission Nebula located in the constellation Orion surrounding the open star cluster Collinder 84. North is down.

My first LRGB image of 2024. Captured over 4 nights, the first 3 sessions ended prematurely due to -3°C temperatures causing equipment disconnections. After blinking out the guiding lost star dodgy frames I stacked 30 X L, 24 x R, 6 x G, 8 x B all at 3 minutes exposure. 3 hours 24 minutes integration.

NGC2175 is one of the January targets in Monthly Challenge.

Moon - Mare Crisium

Moon 29/12/23 - Mare Crisium



The shadows of the mountains to the west of Mare Crisium (Sea of Crises) are only visible for a day or so after full Moon. I needed to get an image this month on the 29th. Too early and the Sun is overhead and there are no shadows, too late and the mare moves past the terminator into Moon shadow. I realised I was running out of time for a clear sky. So I grabbed a quick 500 x 0.0001 second luminance filter sub frames.

After blinking in PixInsight to get rid of the frames where I nudged the telescope mount too much, I had to do a batch convert from .xisf to .fits. Then I analysed them and stacked the best 5% in AS4. Back to PixInsight I did a Masked Stretch, contrast S curve and TVG Denoise. I cropped the top off which was annoying, I might have another go. And the mountain shadows are not as long as they would have been later in the night. But here it is, my go at a monochrome 91.6% terminator! Mare Crisium is the sea at the north east, half in shadow.

Kemble's Cascade

NGC1502 - Open Star Cluster



Kemble's Cascade is a line of stars 2° or 3° long, this image shows the pool of stars at the end of the cascade, Open Cluster NGC1502. 

Well I managed just 45 minutes of NGC1502 18xL 9xRGB all at 60seconds. Then when the humidity topped 95% and the dew point came within 1°C of the temperature I parked the telescope and closed the roof. I did some flats and shut everything down.

NGC1502 is one of the December targets in Monthly Challenge.

Geminids Meteor

Geminid Meteor



I set up with an 18mm lens on the front of my ASI294MC Pro Camera, on a tripod looking South. The 14th December is the peak of the Geminids Meteor shower. This one zoomed through bang on target above Jupiter and below Hamel and Sheraton in Aries.