The Local Group

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September 2017

20160318 Southern Terminator 

The lunar southern terminator:  This image from Roy Bicknell was taken with his 150mm refractor, f/8 compile from an avi video and a mosaic in three sections.  The main lower craters are Clavius, Tycho and Picatus.  The main upper features are Guericke, Alpetragui, Arzachel, Thebit and Rupes Recta (the straight wall).  Image taken 17th March 2016.

 

June 2017

201705SN 2017eaw in NGC 6946   20170525 2023 

For sure, NGC 6946 is one of the most famous galaxies out there. Its beauty is one of the reasons, but there is another one: it hosted the largest number of supernova events ever detected. And its 10th supernova, SN 2017eaw, is shining there right now (shown above between the two yellow bars).  NGC 6946 (also tentatively known as the Fireworks Galaxy) is an intermediate spiral galaxy about 22 million light-years away, in the constellations of Cepheus and Cygnus. In the Catalogue of Named Galaxies, it is called 'Pyrobolus Cygni', or the "Fireworks Galaxy", because of the record number of supernovae discovered in it.  It was discovered by William Herschel on 9 September 1798. NGC 6946 is highly obscured by interstellar matter of the Milky Way galaxy, as it is quite close to the galactic plane. The true diameter of the galaxy is approximately 40,000 light-years or just about one-third of the Milky Way's size.  In the past century, ten supernovae have been observed to explode in the arms of this galaxy, which has been classified as a starburst galaxy. Chandra Space Telescope observations have, in fact, revealed three of the oldest supernovae ever detected in X-rays, giving more credence to its nickname. This composite image also includes optical data from the Gemini Observatory in red, yellow, and cyan:   Image Roy Bicknell using iTelescope T11 in New Mexico (0.5m/f6.8) with a 120s and green filter.

March 2017

20170120 Moon, Jupiter and Spica lr

 Moon, Jupiter and Spica:  The Moon, Jupiter and Spica, the bright star in the constellation of Virgo, seen just before sunrise at 7am on 20th January 2017.  The image was taken with a Canon EOS 6D camera hand held with image stabiliser on and using a 24mm - 105mm F4 zoom lens set at 24mm.  Exposure was 1/4s at ISO 800: Image David Pulley

January 2017

20150320 C2014 Q2 Lovejoy 20x30s images

 

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy):  C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is a long-period comet discovered on 17 August 2014 by Terry Lovejoy using a 0.2-meter (8 in) Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope. It was discovered at apparent magnitude 15 in the southern constellation of Puppis.[2] It is the fifth comet discovered by Terry Lovejoy. Its blue-green glow is the result of organic molecules and water released by the comet fluorescing under the harsh UV and optical light of the sun as it passes through space. Image: Roy Bicknell: 20 x 30s images stacked and finished in Phtoshop and taken on 20th March 2015.

 

December 2016

20161201 Double cluster1 1 v1lr

The Double Cluster in Perseus:  The Double Cluster (also known as Caldwell 14) is the common name for the open clusters NGC 869 and NGC 884 (often designated h Persei and χ Persei, respectively), which are close together in the constellation Perseus. Both visible with the naked eye, NGC 869 and NGC 884 lie at a distance of 7500 light years.[2] NGC 869 has a mass of 3700 solar masses and NGC 884 weighs in at 2800 solar masses; however, later research has shown both clusters are surrounded with a very extensive halo of stars, with a total mass for the complex of at least 20,000 solar masses. Based on their individual stars, the clusters are relatively young, both 12.8 million years old. In comparison, the Pleiades have an estimated age ranging from 75 million years to 150 million years. There are more than 300 blue-white super-giant stars in each of the clusters. The clusters are also blueshifted, with NGC 869 approaching Earth at a speed of 39 km/s (24 mi/s) and NGC 884 approaching at a similar speed of 38 km/s (24 mi/s). Their hottest main sequence stars are of spectral type B0. Image: David Pulley: Canon  500D ISO 1600 f5.6 with 10 x 30s images stacked and finished in PhotoShop.

September 2016

Flame Neb Roy 22x60 400mm 80mm

 

The Flame Nebula: designated as NGC 2024 and Sh2-277, is an emission nebula in the constellation Orion. It is about 900 to 1,500 light-years away.

The bright star Alnitak (ζ Ori), the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion, shines energetic ultraviolet light into the Flame and this knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there.  Much of the glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine. Additional dark gas and dust lies in front of the bright part of the nebula and this is what causes the dark network that appears in the center of the glowing gas. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula.

At the center of the Flame Nebula is a cluster of newly formed stars, 86% of which have circumstellar disks. X-ray observations by the Chandra X-ray Observatory show several hundred young stars, out of an estimated population of 800 stars. X-ray and infrared images indicate that the youngest stars are concentrated near the center of the cluster.

Image: Roy Bicknell: 22 x 60second images stacked and finished in Photoshop; using a f/5 400mm refractor and Canon 450D DSLR at prime focus

 

July 2016

20160509 Transit of Mercury at 12 52pm IMG 4142

Transit of Mercury:  Mercury can be seen towards the bottom of the image and below the large sunspot group.  The image was taken at 12:53 and about 30 minutes into the transit

A transit of Mercury across the Sun takes place when the planet Mercury passes directly between the Sun and a superior planet, becoming visible against (and hence obscuring a small portion of) the solar disk. During a transit, Mercury can be seen as a very small black disk moving across the face of the Sun.  Transits of Mercury with respect to Earth are much more frequent than transits of Venus, with about 13 or 14 per century, in part because Mercury is closer to the Sun and orbits it more rapidly.  Transits of Mercury occur in May or November. The last four transits occurred on November 15, 1999; May 7, 2003; November 8, 2006 and May 9, 2016. The next will occur on November 11, 2019, and then on November 13, 2032. A typical transit lasts several hours.

On June 3, 2014, the Mars rover Curiosity observed the planet Mercury transiting the Sun, marking the first time a planetary transit has been observed from a celestial body besides Earth.

Image: David Pulley; Canon 500D and fL = 400mm ef lens; f6.7 1/250 second exposure at ISO 200.  Camera on EQ3 mount.

 

June 2016

 

20160202 Aurora Ann Bryen copy

 

The Aurora:  An aurora, sometimes referred to as a polar light, is a natural light display in the sky, predominantly seen in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions.   Auroras are produced when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, mainly in the form of electrons and protons, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere), where their energy is lost. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emits light of varying colour and complexity. The form of the aurora, occurring within bands around both polar regions, is also dependent on the amount of acceleration imparted to the precipitating particles. Precipitating protons generally produce optical emissions as incident hydrogen atoms after gaining electrons from the atmosphere. Proton auroras are usually observed at lower latitudes Image: Chris and Anne Bryen on a cruise along Norway's coast

 

May 2016

20150521 The Moon Roy Bicknell

The Moon:  The Moon, of course, has been known since prehistoric times. It is the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun. As the Moon orbits around the Earth once per month, the angle between the Earth, the Moon and the Sun changes; we see this as the cycle of the Moon's phases. The time between successive new moons is 29.5 days (709 hours), slightly different from the Moon's orbital period (measured against the stars) since the Earth moves a significant distance in its orbit around the Sun in that time.  Image: Roy Bicknell - Canon 350D at prime focus of 150mm refractor at 1/500s; 20 images stacked with Registax

 

April 2016

20160310 Orions sword low res  IMG 3645

M42: The Orion Nebula:  The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way, being south of Orion's Belt in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. M42 is located at a distance of 1,344 ± 20 light years and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 light years across. It has a mass of about 2000 times the mass of the Sun. Older texts frequently refer to the Orion Nebula as the Great Nebula in Orion or the Great Orion Nebula.

The Orion Nebula is one of the most scrutinized and photographed objects in the night sky, and is among the most intensely studied celestial features.[8] The nebula has revealed much about the process of how stars and planetary systems are formed from collapsing clouds of gas and dust. Astronomers have directly observed protoplanetary disks, brown dwarfs, intense and turbulent motions of the gas, and the photo-ionizing effects of massive nearby stars in the nebula.  Image: David Pulley Canon 500D 400mm lens exposure 15 seconds at ISO 800 and f 5.6.  Camera mounted on an EQ 3 mount.

 

March 2016

20160214 The Moon Simon AllenIMG 5773

The Moon: Earth's only natural satellite. It is one of the largest natural satellites in the Solar System, and, among planetary satellites, the largest relative to the size of the planet it orbits (its primary). It is the second-densest satellite among those whose densities are known (after Jupiter's satellite Io).

The Moon is thought to have formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago, not long after Earth. There are several hypotheses for its origin; the most widely accepted explanation is that the Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body called Theia.

The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, always showing the same face with its near side marked by dark volcanic maria that fill between the bright ancient crustal highlands and the prominent impact craters. It is the second-brightest regularly visible celestial object in Earth's sky after the Sun, as measured by illuminance on Earth's surface. Although it can appear a very bright white, its surface is actually dark, with a reflectance just slightly higher than that of worn asphalt. Its prominence in the sky and its regular cycle of phases have, since ancient times, made the Moon an important cultural influence on language, calendars, art, and mythology:  Image Simon Allen ~ Canon 500D, f/5.6 ISO1600 1/40s; Meade LX90-8"

February 2016

M45

Pleiades: In astronomy, the Pleiades or Seven Sisters (Messier 45 or M45), is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky. The celestial entity has several meanings in different cultures and traditions.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Dust that forms a faint reflection nebulosity around the brightest stars was thought at first to be left over from the formation of the cluster (hence the alternative name Maia Nebula after the star Maia), but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium, through which the stars are currently passing. Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades was probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula. Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.   Image Roy Bicknell ~ Canon 450D; 80mm refractor

January 2016

20150312 Sunspots IMG 1260

Sunspots:  Sunspots are temporary phenomena on the photosphere of the Sun that appear visibly as dark spots compared to surrounding regions. They correspond to concentrations of magnetic field flux that inhibit convection and result in reduced surface temperature compared to the surrounding photosphere. Sunspots usually appear in pairs, with pair members of opposite magnetic polarity. The number of sunspots varies according to the approximately 11-year solar cycle.

Individual sunspots may endure anywhere from a few days to a few months, but eventually decay. Sunspots expand and contract as they move across the surface of the Sun with a size ranging from 16 kilometers (10 mi) to 160,000 kilometers (100,000 mi) in diameter. The larger variety are visible from Earth without the aid of a telescope. They may travel at relative speeds, or proper motions of a few hundred meters per second when they first emerge.

Indicating intense magnetic activity, sunspots accompany secondary phenomena such as coronal loops (prominences) and reconnection events. Most solar flares and coronal mass ejections originate in magnetically active regions around visible sunspot groupings. Similar phenomena indirectly observed on stars other than the sun are commonly called starspots and both light and dark spots have been measured.  Image: f5.6 1/500th second ISO 100 Canon 500D with EF100-400mm zoom set at 400mm with x2 teleconverter. 12th March 2015 David Pulley

November  2015

M33 v2

Triabgulum Galaxy M33:  The Triangulum Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 3 million light-years (ly) from Earth in the constellation Triangulum. It is catalogued as Messier 33 or NGC 598, and is sometimes informally referred to as the Pinwheel Galaxy, a nickname it shares with Messier 101. The Triangulum Galaxy is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy and about 44 other smaller galaxies. It is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed with the naked eye. The galaxy is the smallest spiral galaxy in the Local Group and it is believed to be a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy due to their interactions, velocities and proximity to one another in the night sky. It also has an H-II nucleus (Ref. Wikipedia).  Image ~ Roy Bicknell: 85mm refractor and Canon 450D with 20 x 120s exposures.  Images stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and finished in Photoshop - 22nd November 2015

October  2015

20150309 aurora 01 G Appleby

Aurora: This stunning image was taken by Graham appleby whist holidaying in Iceland in March 2015.  An aurora is a natural light display in the sky, predominantly seen in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions.[nb 1] Auroras are produced when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, mainly in the form of electrons and protons, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere), where their energy is lost. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emits light of varying colour and complexity. The form of the aurora, occurring within bands around both polar regions, is also dependent on the amount of acceleration imparted to the precipitating particles.   Image ~ Graham appleby 9th March 2015 from Iceland ~ Canon 500D with an 18-55mm zoom lens set at 18mm and exposure of 20s and ISO 800 and aperture  f/5.6

 

September 2015

20150731 31 ISS ver 3 low res

 The International Space Station (ISS) and Iridium Flare over Hastings: Visible from Battle, Bexhill, Hastings and St Leonards the ISS, travelling from bottom to top of the picture was imaged just before midnight on Friday 31st July and 15 minutes later an Iridium satellite was captured "flaring up" whilst travelling from left to right through the same part of the night sky. These two 30 second images were combined to form this single montage.  The bright trail of the ISS is usually visible for between 2 and 4 minutes as it passes overhead but the Iridium flare is very much transitory.  The Iridium satellites were introduced in the late 1990's to provide the means of communication for our mobile phones and pagers and, at any one time, there are 66 operational and 6 spare satellites orbiting the Earth. This flare, seen in more detail in the inset, is of Iridium satellite no. 90 and occurred when the satellite's solar panels caught and reflect the glint of our Sun.  They are frequently very bright and extremely transitory brightening and fading over a 20 second period.  If you know when and where to look the brightest can be seen during the day.  Times of transit of the ISS and Iridium Flares can be found at www.heavens-above.com.    Image ~ David Pulley

June 2015

20150325 The Moon low res DGP IMG1416

The Moon: The Moon  is Earth's only natural satellite. It is one of the largest natural satellites in the Solar System, and, among planetary satellites, the largest relative to the size of the planet it orbits. It is the second-densest satellite among those whose densities are known (after Jupiter's satellite Io).The Moon is thought to have formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago, not long after Earth. Although there have been several hypotheses for its origin in the past, the current most widely accepted explanation is that the Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body called Theia. (Wikipedia)

This observation was made on the 25th March 2015 at 19:20 using a Canon 500D camer and 400mm lens and a x2 converter. The exposure of  1/25s and ISO 100.  Aperture was f 5.6  ~ Image David Pulley

May 2015

20150208 Iridium Flare 11 at 19 06 IMG 0916b DGP

Iridium Flare 11 passing Betelguese in Orion: The Iridium communication satellites have a peculiar shape with three polished door-sized antennas, 120° apart and at 40° angles with the main bus. The forward antenna faces the direction the satellite is travelling. Occasionally, an antenna reflects sunlight directly down at Earth, creating a predictable and quickly moving illuminated spot on the surface below of about 10 km (6.2 mi) diameter. To an observer this looks like a bright flash, or flare in the sky, with a duration of a few seconds.  Ranging up to −8 magnitude (rarely to a brilliant −9.5), some of the flares are so bright that they can be seen in the daytime; but they are most impressive at night. This flashing has caused some annoyance to astronomers, as the flares occasionally disturb observations.  This observation was made on the 8th February 2015 at 19:07 using a Canon 500D camer and 18mm lens at an exposure of  32s and ISO 800.  Aperture was f 4.6 ~ Image David Pulley

 April 2015

20150207 M35 with NGC 2158 Roy Bicknell

M35:  Messier 35 (also known as M35, or NGC 2168) is an open cluster in the constellation Gemini. It was discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745 and independently discovered by John Bevis before 1750. The cluster is scattered over an area of the sky almost the size of the full moon and is located 850 parsecs (2,800 light-years) from Earth (from Wikipedia).  Locating Messier 35: Locating M35 in binoculars is fairly easy once you recongize the constellation of Gemini. You’ll find it just a little more than the average field of view north of Eta – the centermost of the three “foot” stars on the northernmost twin. In the finderscope of a telescope, begin with Eta and starhop north until you spot a faint fuzzy in the finderscope. ~ Image Roy Bicknell

March 2015

20150207 Iridium Flare Simon Allen

Iridium Flare:  The Iridium communication satellites have a peculiar shape with three polished door-sized antennas, 120° apart and at 40° angles with the main bus. The forward antenna faces the direction the satellite is travelling. Occasionally, an antenna reflects sunlight directly down at Earth, creating a predictable and quickly moving illuminated spot on the surface below of about 10 km (6.2 mi) diameter. To an observer this looks like a bright flash, or flare in the sky, with a duration of a few seconds.

The Iridium satellite constellation is a large group of satellites providing voice and data coverage to satellite phones, pagers and integrated transceivers over Earth's entire surface. Iridium Communications Inc. owns and operates the constellation and sells equipment and access to its services. It was originally conceived by Bary Bertiger, Dr. Ray Leopold and Ken Peterson in late 1987 (and protected by patents by Motorola in their names in 1988) and then developed by Motorola on a fixed-price contract from July 29, 1993 to November 1, 1998 when the system became operational and commercially available.
 

Image:  For me this morning (7th February 2015) I had a pass at 06:08:15 with an Azimuth of 358º and an Altitude of 48º.  So pretty much the pole.  It was Iridium 21 and a predicted magnitude of -7.9 ~ Image Simon Allen

 

February 2015

20141228 C 2014 Q2 IMG 0388 2 (2)

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy):  C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) (Lovejoy) is a long-period comet discovered on 17 August 2014 by Terry Lovejoy using a 0.2-meter (8 in) Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope.[1] It was discovered at apparent magnitude 15 in the southern constellation of Puppis.[1] It is the fifth comet discovered by Terry Lovejoy.   Visible throughout January and reaching maximum brightness of magnitude ~ 4.6 when just south of Taurus, this comet moves from south of Betelgeuse below Aldebaran and the Pleiades in Taurus and into Perseus by end of January.  This is an easy object for binoculars or a camera.
 

Image: This image was taken at 19:40 UT on 24th January 2015 with a Canon 350D DSLR at prime focus of a 6" refractor and a 180s exposure/ISO 800~ image Roy Bicknell

 

January 2015

20141228 C 2014 Q2 IMG 0388 2 (2)

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) ~ green blob NW of centre:  C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) (Lovejoy) is a long-period comet discovered on 17 August 2014 by Terry Lovejoy using a 0.2-meter (8 in) Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope.[1] It was discovered at apparent magnitude 15 in the southern constellation of Puppis.[1] It is the fifth comet discovered by Terry Lovejoy.   Visible throughout January and reaching maximum brightness of magnitude ~ 4.6 when just south of Taurus, this comet moves from south of Betelgeuse below Aldebaran and the Pleiades in Taurus and into Perseus by end of January.  This is an easy object for binoculars or a camera.

Image: This image was taken at 23:14 UT on 28th December 2014 with a Canon 500D DSLR with a 115mm focal length and ISO 12800 and an exposure of 5.6 seconds.  Aperture was set to f4.5 ~ image David Pulley

 

December 2014

20141024 Roy Bicknell M31

M31, the Andomeda Galaxy: The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years (2.4×1019 km) from Earth in the Andromeda constellation. Also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224, it is often referred to as the Great Andromeda Nebula in older texts. The Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy, but not the nearest galaxy overall. It gets its name from the area of the sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda, which was named after the mythological princess Andromeda. The Andromeda Galaxy is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 44 other smaller galaxies.

Image:  Roy Bicknell:  Roy says the picture consists of a montage of four images, each of these images are made from a stack of 4 x 180sec and 2 x 300sec exposures obtained with a Canon 350D DSLR at prime focus of an Skywatcher 80mm aperture refractor and a light pollution filter. Stacking done using Deep sky stacker, with final processing in Photoshop.

November 2014

C 2013 A1 Siding Spring Jim Truelove

Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring): is an Oort cloud comet discovered on 3 January 2013 by Robert H. McNaught at Siding Spring Observatory using the 0.5-meter (20 in) Uppsala Southern Schmidt Telescope.  At the time of discovery it was 7.2 AU from the Sun and located in the constellation Lepus. Comet C/2013 A1 probably took millions of years to come from the Oort cloud. After leaving the planetary region of the Solar System, the post-perihelion orbital period (epoch 2050) is estimated to be roughly 1 million years.C/2013 A1 passed the planet Mars very closely on 19 October 2014. After its discovery, there was thought to be a chance of a collision with Mars, but this possibility was excluded when its orbit was determined more accurately.All NASA Mars orbiters—including 2001 Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and MAVEN—as well as ESA's orbiter, Mars Express, and ISRO's satellite, the Mars Orbiter Mission,reported a healthy status after the comet flyby on 19 October 2014.

Image:  Jim Truelove; Taken on 18th October 2014 at 09:20:46 UT using the 24" SSO observatory in Markleeville, California, with a 30 second exposure and V filter.  The image was taken on the comet's close approach to Mars.  The artefacts of the bright Mars can be seen in the bottom right corner of the image.

October 2014

Roy Bicknell C 2014 E2 Jacques crop

Comet C/2014 E2 Jacques: This is a long period comet and discovered by Brazillian astronomers in March 2014.  According to the MPC this comet was  1.229 AU from the Earth and magnitude of 6.9 and travelling at 8 arcminutes/hour across the sky, when this image was taken.  The comet is now at at magnitude 10.5 and fading rapidly.  This image was taken by Roy Bicknell on the 24th August using his Canon 350D with a light pollution filter mounted on an 80mm refractor at prime focus.  The exposure was 40 seconds at ISO 1600 and the FOV was 3 x 2 degrees before cropping.  This cropped image above has a FOV of 40 x 30 arcminutes.

Image:  Roy Bicknell

September 2014

Supermoon of De La Warr

Supermoon: This image of August's supermoon taken on the 11th August from the south Terrace, the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea using a Canon EOS 500D

Image:  Simon Allen

August 2014

 

M33 stacked v3 Roy Bicknall

M33, Triangulum Galaxy. The Triangulum Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 3 million light-years (ly) from Earth in the constellation Triangulum. It is catalogued as Messier 33 or NGC 598, and is sometimes informally referred to as the Pinwheel Galaxy, a nickname it shares with Messier 101. The Triangulum Galaxy is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy and about 44 other smaller galaxies. It is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed with the naked eye.

Image date 4th Nov 2013 time around 22:30 hrs – 4 x 5min exposures at 400 ISO and a light pollution filter through a 150mm refractor on a auto guided EQ6 equatorial mount. Images stacked with Deep sky stacker and finished using Gimp 2. I have attached a JPG version of the previously sent image with a better dark back ground.

Image:  Roy Bicknell

 

 

June 2014

C2012 K1 further processing

 

C2012 K1 Contour  Comet C/2012 K1 Panstarrs taken on 23rd May 2014 from Sierra Stars telescope at the University of Arizona's 24" at Mt Lemmon.  Two 60s exposures stacked with V filter.  The image on the left shows the comet in Ursa Major at magnitude ~ 8.1 and indicates two tails.  The image on the right is a contour plot of the left hand image.

Image: Jim Truelove and processed by Roy Bicknell

May 2014

20140226 M81 Roy Bicknell

A Cluster of Galaxies in Ursa MajorMessier 81 (also known as NGC 3031 or Bode's Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. Due to its proximity to Earth, large size and active galactic nucleus (which harbors a 70 million M supermassive black hole), Messier 81 has been studied extensively by professional astronomers.

 

Messier 82 (also known as NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy or M82) is the prototype nearby starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. The starburst galaxy is five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way and one hundred times more luminous than our galaxy's center. The starburst activity is thought to be triggered by interaction with neighboring galaxy M81, and M82 is a member of the M81 Group.

 

NGC2976: Part of the M81 group, NGC 2976, located 1° 20′ southwest of M81, is an unbarred spiral galaxy. The inner structure contains many dark lanes and stellar condensations in its disk. The galaxy is sometimes classified as Sdp because its spiral arms are difficult to be traced. The bright inner part of this disk appears to have a defined edge. These distortions are results from the gravitational interactions with its neighbors

 

NGC 3077 is a smaller member of the M81 Group. It looks much like an elliptical galaxy. However, it is peculiar for two reasons. First, it shows wispy edges and scattered dust clouds that are probably a result of gravitational interaction with its larger neighbors, similar to the galaxy M82. Second, this galaxy has an active nucleus. This caused Carl Seyfert in 1943 to include it in his list of galaxies, which are now called Seyfert Galaxies. However, NGC 3077, though an emission line galaxy, is today no longer classified as a Seyfert galaxy.

Image taken with a Canon 350D using an EQ3 mount and a 400mm focal lngth 80mm refractor with light pollution filter.  Image:  Roy Bicknell, February 2014

January 2014

20121209 M42 Roy Bicknell

The Orion Nebula, M42: The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated south of Orion's Belt in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. M42 is located at a distance of 1,344 ± 20 light years and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 light years across. It has a mass of about 2000 times the mass of the Sun. Older texts frequently refer to the Orion Nebula as the Great Nebula in Orion or the Great Orion Nebula.  This image was taken using a 6 9 inch refractor with the Canon 350D at prime focus, 3 min exposure at 800 ISO and alight pollution filter. Quite good but the sky light stopped me going for a longer exposure  Image:  Roy Bicknell, December 2013

December 2013

20131125 Venus over Battle Abbey IMG 8233

 

Venus over Battle Abbey: This image shows Venus, taken in the early evening of the 25th November 2013, between the medieval octagonal twin towers of the derelict Lord Montague's Manor House in the grounds of Battle Abbey.  The image was taken hand held with a Canon 400D with 49mm zoom lens set to f5.6, 1/5s (stabilised) and ISO400.  Image:  David Pulley

November 2013

20131028 NGC253

 

NGC 253The Sculptor Galaxy, also known as the Silver Coin or Silver Dollar Galaxy, NGC 253, is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor.  Lying in the constellation of Sculpterat a distance of some 11 Mlight years,the Sculptor Galaxy is a starburst galaxy, which means that it is currently undergoing a period of intense star formation.  This image was taken using a robotic telescope located at Siding Spring, Australia, on 28th October 2013. Image:  David Pulley. Roy Bicknell, Simon Allen & Jim Truelove

October 2013

20131012 Moon Jim

 

 

1st Quarter Moon: It is amazing what you can do with simple equipment.  This image of the Moon was taken with a hand held Panasonic Lumix TZ40 with an 18.1 megapixel sensor and a 24mm wide angle Leica lens x20 optical zoom.  Image:  Jim Truelove

September 2013

Perseid Meteor

Perseid Meteor Shower.  The following image is from Simon Allen wh says..."I set up the Canon and with a wide angled lens and intervalometer running I took sequential exposures of 25 seconds on ISO 3200.  The sequence started at 22:15 BST and ended at 23.41 BST and I have 195 images.  It looks as if the battery gave out. It was a fresh battery and I thought it would go for longer.  I kicked myself for not running it off the 12V supply adaptor I made myself.

Both my neighbours, across the road and next to me, had their outside lights on and so that did not help and the camera shut off before the streets lights went out which I think is about 1:30.  I do not think there is much point in stitching them into a video.  However I think I may have spotted 3 and possibly a fourth image that has a meteor.  There are a good number of planes and satellites.  They are easy to identify, particularly the planes as they leave a series of dots.   Satellites produce long trails that are too long for a meteor and often appear on the next few frames.

I was pleasantly  surprised to see the camera lens without dew when I retrieved the camera just after 6 am.  The centre of the field of the camera should be Cassiopeia.
Image:  Simon Allen

August 2013

Archimedes and Montes Appenninus

 

Archimedes and Montes Appenninus.  This image shows the the lunar crater Archimedes and the mountain range Montes Appennihus.  It is a montage of three images obtained with a web Cam on a150mm refractor, processed using Registax 6 then merged together using MS ICE. Exposure date 8th September 2012.  Image:  Roy Bicknell

 

July 2013

M51  Jim T

Messier 51:  The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194) is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. Recently it was estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years from the Milky Way Galaxy, but different methods yield distances between 15 and 35 million ly.  This image was taken at the 32" Mt Lemmon observatory in Arizona using three filters (R, G, and B) and combined and finished in PhotoShop Elements 10.  Image Jim Truelove

June 2013

mercury venus jupiter Simon

Mercury, Venus and Jupiter seetting in the evening sky over Hooe playing fields in East Sussex.  This image was taken at sunset (~ 9.30 pm BST) on the evening of the 26th May, 2013.  Jupiter is to the left close to the trees; Venus just to the right of the pylon and Mercury above Venus and to the right of Jupiter:The image was taken with a Canon 500D camera set to automatic and using a low power zoom lens:  Image Simon Allen

May 2013

20121014 Jupiter Rising ver3

Star trails over Spinalonga, was taken from Elounda on the Greek island of Crete in the mediteranean in October 2012.  The silhouette of the island of Spinalonga can be seen in the foreground.  Spinalonga was, for many years, a leper colony and was the last European leper colony which closed in the 1950's.  The view is looking due east and the bright central trail is that of Jupiter.  Other stars visible include those from the constellation of of Orion, Taurus and Auriga.  This is a composite image of some 268 x 30 second exposures (a little over two hours) using a Canon 500D camera mounted on a fixed tripod.  All 268 images were finally stacked using Adobe Photoshop Elements. Image David Pulley

April 2013

 

NGC 5139 Globular Cluster Omega Centauri

 

Globular star cluster, Omega Centauri taken with the 80" Faulkes Telescope from Siding Spring, Australia and imaged by Roy Bicknell, Simon Allen, Jim Truelove and David Pulley on 30th May 2011.  

Omega Centauri (ω Cen) or NGC 5139, also known as Caldwell 80, is a globular cluster in the constellation of Centaurus, discovered by Edmond Halley in 1677 who listed it as a nebula. Omega Centauri had been listed in Ptolemy's catalog 2000 years ago as a star. Lacaille included it in his catalog as number I.5. It was first recognized as a globular cluster by the English astronomer John William Herschel in the 1830s. ("Omega Centauri" is a Bayer designation, even though the object is a cluster.)

Orbiting the Milky Way, it is both the brightest and the largest known globular cluster associated with our galaxy ( Of all the globular clusters in the Local Group of galaxies, only Mayall II in the Andromeda Galaxy is brighter and more massive. ω Centauri is so different from other galactic globular clusters that it is thought to be of different origin.

It is located about 15,800 light-years (4,850 pc) from Earth and contains several million Population II stars. The stars in its center are so crowded that they are estimated to average only 0.1 light years away from each other. It is about 12 billion years old.

Omega Centauri is one of the few globular clusters visible to the naked eye and appears about as large as the full Moon. Kapteyn's star, which is currently only 13 light years away, is thought to originate from Omega Centauri. (Reproduced from Wikipedia)

 March 2013

 20120312 C 2011 L4 Simon Allen

Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) photographed by Simon Allen on 12th March 2013 from Bexhill sea front.  This was one of the first images to be taken in the UK.

February 2013

20130104 C2012 K5 LINEAR Clear

 

The above image shows the comet C/2012 K5 LINEAR and was taken using Arizona State University's 0.81-meter (32-inch) F/7 RC Optical telescope from their remotely operable Mt Lemmon Observatory administered by Sierra Stars.  The image was taken on the 3rd January 2013, consisting of a single 180s frame with no filter.   Having passed perihelion 7 days earlier, K5 is now dimming from a magnitude of 10.3 to 10.5 and passing close to the open star cluster M36 in Auriga.  This comet was discovered by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research facility in 2012.  Abbreviated to LINEAR  its goal is to demonstrate the application of technology originally developed for the surveillance of Earth orbiting satellites, to the problem of detecting and cataloging near-Earth asteroids—also referred to as near-Earth objects (NEOs)—that threaten the Earth.

Image David Pulley

January 2013

20121210 Vesta animation

The above image shows the movement of the asteroid Vesta through the constellation of Taurus on the 8th, 9th and 10th December 2012.  The images were taken with a Canon 500D camera mounted on a tripod with an exposure of 8 seconds at ISO 3200 and lens focal length of 70mm.  The three jpg images were re-saved in gif format and animted using Microsoft GIF Animator.  Image David Pulley

December 2012

 Jupiter

 

Visible throughout the night, this image of Jupiter was captured by Roy Bicknell on December 10th, 2012, showing the great red spot.  This image was taken with a 150 mm Skywatcher refractor at f20 and with a x2 Barlow lens using a ScopiumCam CCD Planetary Imager. About two and a quarter minutes of video were taken providing 2,000 frames which were stacked using Registax 6.

November 2012

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) Faulkes North Telescope 24th October 2012

This innocuous picture of the night sky shows a newly discovered comet, C/2012 S1 (ISON), taken with the Faulkes North telescope on 24th October 2012 (Roy Bicknell, Simon Allen, Jim Truelove and David Pulley).  Discovered five weeks earlier by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok at the International Scientific Optical Network in Russia, the comet promises to be one of the brightest comets in 2013 with expectations of being as bright as the Moon and visible in daylight.

The comet is presently in the constellation of Cancer and at a distance of about 530 million miles.  The image above was taken at 13:41:24 UTC using the 2m Faulkes (N) telescope with and exposure of 120 seconds and a Bessel V filter.  The coordinates were measured to be RA 08h 21m 13.33s and Dec 27 58 39.9 with an uncertainty of +/- 0.3 arcsecs.  The V magnitude was estimated at +18.8 and its sky motion measured over a period of 20 minutes was estimated at 0.066 arcsecs/minute.  Further images of this comet can be found here.

October 2012

NGC 7331 (also known as Caldwell 30) is a spiral galaxy about 12 Mpc (40 million light-years) away in the constellation Pegasus. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1784. NGC 7331 is the brightest member of the NGC 7331 Group of galaxies with apparent magnitude (v) of 10.4.  The galaxy is similar in size and structure to the galaxy we inhabit, and is often referred to as "the Milky Way's twin", although recent discoveries regarding the structure of the Milky Way may call this similarity into doubt. 

Image: Roy Bicknell.  Roy says..."I managed to get a 15 minute exposure of NGC 7331, which showed no problems, and the auto tracking worked perfectly.  Checking the image with my mapping software shows three other galaxies, NGC 7335, 7336, and 7337. I think I can see a couple of others but not sure. Also, according to the software there are stars down to magnitude 17.5, but I think I will take that with a pinch of salt as I don't believe the magnitudes that it is showing. But not a bad effort for a 6 inch scope in the centre of town (Hastings)."

 


The Local Group