Lagoon Nebula - M8 (NGC 6523) - Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Lagoon nebula is approximately 5,200 light years away. The full nebula is about 130 light years across. This image is of the central part of the lagoon nebula (approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the full nebula).

It was taken on from my suburban backyard obs on a nice cold winter night (about 3 degrees Celsius). It was very low on the eastern horizon and I was not expecting to get that much detail but was pleasantly surprised.

The image is a total duration of 100 minutes exposure, about 25 x 5min on the 12″ LX200R and a QHY8 Tec Cooled Camera. I did not take any dark frames (only because I forgot too, but the QHY8 camera is very forgiving with background noise as it was cooled to approximately -30C.

NGC 4945 in Centaurus - Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Now that I finally have the LX200R tracking properly, and I had a clear night last night, I had a go at imaging this spiral galaxy. As you can see I had a problem with an internal reflection from a bright object just out of field. I could have manually edited it out, but this was really a test run with the QHY8 TEC Cooled camera on the 12″ scope. Now that it is tracking properly my stars are no longer elongated.

The galaxy is almost side on to us. It is 11.7 million light years away.   

The image is a stack of 15 x 5 min exposures and 5 x 5min darks. No Flats. It really needs more data, but clear skies are few and far between at the moment.


Full Moon - Friday, 10 June 2009

Well we finally got a clear night, but it was also accompanied by a very bright full moon. I tried imaging a few fainter objects but the moon just kept getting in the way. So I decided to point the 12″ LX200r with the QHY8 camera at the moon and take an image or two.

I ended up taking a 2×2 panorama. This image has been quite heavily enhanced to bring out some details that you normally don’t get to see with such a  full moon. The saturation has also been boosted to highlight the various colours of different craters.

Click on the image to the left to see the smaller version of this panorama in the browser. The full size image (aprox 3400×3400) can be viewed or downloaded by right-clicking on the small image below and selecting the option to View in New Window or Save As.