M57, Ring Nebula

Ring Nebula, M57 in Lyra
The tiny greenish doughnut in the center is the famous Ring Nebula.

(If you click on the image to expand to full size, the ring will become more clear.)  Constellation Lyra.

The rightmost of the three bright stars along the bottom edge is Beta Lyrae, an eclipsing binary system with what seems to me to be a very short period — about 13 days.  The next minimum brightness is on June 21, so it’s on the dimmer side at this moment.

Beta Lyra

I think the smaller of the pair is kissing at the upper left edge.  Weather and attention span permitting, I will take another picture in a few days to see if the position has changed.  I will be absolutely amazed if my tiny telescope can actually show two stars orbiting each other over a span of a few days!


Further research says: Nope.   Wikipedia has a great article about Beta Lyrae, and the eclipsing binary cannot be resolved by optical telescopes.  However, there are separable companions of Beta Lyrae that are undoubtedly captured above.  Unfortunately, I can’t identify them…


Clouds around Sadr
Sadr is the bright star in the center. Evocative name…

Sadr is at the center of the cross in Cygnus.  600 second single exposure — the sky was very transparent last night.

NGC 4565 other browser test

NGC 4565 9 exposure integration
Stack of 9 exposures, each 15 minutes long…

On my desktop monitor, the needle of NGC 4565 is quit clear, and if I expand the image I can clearly make out the dark lane across the galaxy.  But on other systems, it is just too faint.

Still, pictures like these are a much more accurate representation of what the view is through even a fairly big amateur telescope.  These objects are far away and small and dim, and that is part of the appeal.


Airplane lightes wrecking an astrophoto
Airplane tracks…

I live in a heavily trafficked metropolitan air space.  NGC 4565 is dead center, again.

NGC 4565, redux

NGC 4565
NGC 4565 in its field of stars.

It’s the tiny needle dead center in the photo.  Hard to see unless you view it on a large screen, maybe with the brightness turned up.  Space is an extremely lonely place…

(This image needs a lot more processing — maybe I will post a better version later.)


Edge on spiral galaxy
I don’t have any equipment that make this object visible by eye. Only a long exposure photo works…

(Click on the image to expand it — the default display size is difficult.)

Noise, 2021-05-05

M97, M108, NGC 3656, NGC 3549
M97 (Owl Nebula), M108 (Surfboard Galaxy, NGC 3656, NGC 3549

M97 is upper center right — you can make out the 2 “eyes”; M108 is upper right; NGC 3656 is barely visible in the lower left corner, and NGC 3549 is barely visible in the lower right.  About the limit of the conditions, the equipment, and the image processing skill.

Here I try to bring out the noise that I worked so hard to eliminate in the first photo.  As a photo, I think this one is better…

M81-M82-NGC3077 2021-04-11
Three Galaxies…

This is M82 (the “Cigar Galaxy”), M81, and, in the upper right, NGC3077…

The Beehive Cluster

The Behive Cluster
The Behive Cluster

Something completely different — just stars.

I have a new GEM — German Equatorial Mount — and I have to learn about it.   It replaces a Sky Watcher camera mount that was overwhelmed by the additional weight of a small refractor telescope, and couldn’t track properly.  This new mount is much steadier; the small background stars above are very crisp, though I’m not happy with the image processing — if you pixel-peep, you will see what I mean.