Saturday, December 28, 2013

M78 - Reflection nebula in Orion
First, it turns out that one of my images (Pacman Nebula) was selected and printed in a Monterrey, Mexico newspaper!  My first hardcopy publishing and in a relatively popular newspaper.  Details at my main link, here: (notes area).

I am pretty far behind on the blog, so will just include mostly short updates, now :) I have added (on my main site) an area for notes that I now populate more if there is something of interest to the data/processing for each object, such as above.  I invite you to check it out, if you like :)

Ok, for this post here is M78, and it is what is called a reflection nebula.  For this, I opted for nearly all Lum and not Ha.  Details:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy)
Well, I am falling a bit behind :)  But, quickly, here is Comet Lovejoy that I imaged from my backyard in Las Cruces the morning of 7 Dec 2013 (at about 5:30AM).  I only used the RGB data, here, as the Lum did not really add much.  This was (similar to ISON) shooting very low and to the east.  So, this was imaged into orange level light pollution from where I am at in my city.  It was a challenge (as always) to remove the light pollution gradient.

Note: This night was pretty neat as it was my first time to bring out the smaller scope (Tak FS-60C) since the night I simply did a "test shot" with it back in May 2012.  I think the scope was pretty happy to be out, again :)  Many of my following posts that are AFTER 8 Nov 2013 will be results from this smaller APO scope.  I had to test this particular night and backfocal distance was not perfect.  I talk about it in some of my posts at my main site.

As normal, here is the link to the larger/details:

Thanks for visiting/reading :)

Comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) - morning of 7 Dec 13.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Binary system galaxies M77 and NGC 1055
One of the first results from my outing on 8 Nov 13.  A pair of galaxies that compose a binary system approximately 60 million light years away.  M77 is at the top of the image with NGC 1055 at the bottom.

Full size/details:

Binary system of galaxies - M77 (top) and NGC 1055 (bottom).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Vega...and others
So, this was a test shot just before imaging a few objects on the night of 8 Nov 13...right after I took all of my equipment to the backyard, setup, polar-aligned, focused, etc.  Vega was the second of three targets to align the mount with (to get accurate "go-to" slews when going to the objects I am going to image).

What were you doing 25 years ago?  Well, this is what Vega looked like about 25 years ago as it is roughly 25 light years away.  Very bright, so the test with 10min subs have it really over-exposed :)  However, can see some galaxies in the surrounding of this frame if you look hard enough.  This shot was 2x10min Lum frames and 1x5min each RGB.

I am also including the Lum filter only result to better show surrounding objects.  Note that in this test shot, Vega was not "perfectly" centered, so the optical dim ring around the star is not perfectly centered when looking at the Lum/mono image.  On the positive side, each corner shows perfectly round stars from edge to edge in the 2048x2048 uncropped image with these 10 minute frames :)

I am still working on the data for the other objects, so this is just to give you something new to look at in the meantime :)

Vega (distance: 25 light years)
Vega (Luminance filter only, better showing surrounding dim galaxies)

Monday, November 11, 2013

NGC 281 - Pacman Nebula (in HaRGB)
Here is the last object from the night of 28 Sep 13.  In fact, I had a short amount of time before the sun rose, so just slewed over to this object without really thinking what kind of result I would get (object dimensions, etc.).  The last few subs I didn't use as the sun was coming up : )

NGC 281 (Pacman Nebula) in HaRGB, 28 Sep 13
TOA-130F, EM200, QSI540wsg
6x20m Ha 3nm (bin1x1); 2x5m ea RGB (bin2x2);

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NGC 6888 - Crescent Nebula (in HaRGB)
Another result from the night of 28 Sep 13...this is the Crescent Nebula.  The 3nm Ha filter is picking up dusty regions that were created by Hydrogen.  The mono-colored result I am including shows just what the Ha filter alone picked up.  The color version includes Red, Green, and Blue filter data.  For the final result, I used the Ha as the Luminance, and also combined the Ha data with the Red filter data for the Red channel, and combined this result with the Green and Blue channel data.  Exposure details (as well as full-size result) for this can be seen here:

Here are the two results:


Monday, October 21, 2013

NGC 7293 - Helix Nebula ("Eye of God")
Here is a shot from a little later in the week from my previous posts.  I am just now starting to process the data from this night which was 5 days later than the previous targets, and occurring on the night of 28 Sep 13.

For this object, the Helix Nebula (also referred to as the "Eye of God" for obvious reasons :) , I also went to 20 minute frames using the Astrodon 3nm Ha filter for the luminance data, and also mixing the Ha result with the Red channel for the complete RGB portion.  The result I have, below, is oriented exactly as the camera caught it (normally, this is my preference).  The Hubble presentation has this rotated 180 degrees, which makes the outer filaments (lower right) appear as some kind of eyebrows/lashes.  Update: I have since re-oriented my final result at my main site and will include it as an additional image, here.

Further details and larger can be found here:

Original orientation.

Re-oriented (slight color adjust and star spikes added).

Monday, October 14, 2013

M57 - Ring Nebula and Comet ISON racing Asteroid Eros
Small target from the same busy night of 23 Sep 13 :)
(and my first time going to 20min subs)

M57 - Ring Nebula (HaRGB), 23 Sep 13
Equip: TOA-130, EM200, QSI 540wsg
Exp: 4x20m Ha (bin1x1); 1x5m ea RGB (bin2x2)

Full size/details:

On the same night, I took a quick shot of comet ISON, near Mars.  It turns out that during that time, the second-largest largest known near-Earth object (NEO), asteroid Eros, was racing by as well.  In the 3 frames I took, you could see them both moving.

My final result here is of the best from from the three (so is noisy)...a single 4min exposure and in mono (as this was through a single filter, Lum).  I have annotated the result.

Full size/details:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon) with galaxy NGC 6701
Another one finished.  From the same imaging session on 23 Sep 13 - this dim object was actually my main target, and quite difficult processing, I must say (as it was clearly moving).  It is pretty distant for getting a comet at nearly 3 times the distance to our sun.  I did manage to pick up a not often imaged magnitude 13 galaxy just above the comet as a bonus, however (and described at the link, below).

Comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon), 23 Sep 13

Monday, September 30, 2013

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy ... A Look at H-alpha
Well, I described what H-alpha (Ha) is in my blog, below (Moon in Ha).  I have since completed processing of one of the other objects I imaged last Monday night, 23 Sep 13, and for this one I also created a "comparison" of the result (with/without Ha).

Here is M33 ... and in this, the Ha regions are clearly visible (Ha is in the red part of the visible spectrum so represented as red/pink areas), so we can see from here hydrogen emissions from 3 million light years away.  Here are areas where there are exploding stars and/or star forming regions.

The "full" version and detailed imaging descriptions can be found, here:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Imaging night and quick shot of Moon
Finally a break in the weather on 23 September 2013.  So, setup the equipment and imaged multiple objects (the data from the session I am still processing as there is a lot and multiple targets).  While switching between objects that night around 11PM local time, the moon was rising, so I was changing to the H-alpha (Ha - a wavelength of 656.28nm) filter for the remainder of the night.  This filter allows only Ha band light, and the particular filter I have is extremely narrow at only 3nm.  Ha is generally where hydrogen emissions from nebulae fall, and since it "ignores" any other light, it can be used even on nights with a full moon!  Ok, so for this post, I will show an image of the moon.  What you see here is a stack of three 1/1000s exposures shot through the Ha filter of the QSI 540wsg camera using the TOA-130F scope.

I offer this as I continue processing other data :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Vega ... on a cloudy night (and our Moon)
As the cloudy/rainy weather continues, there was a single night (4 Sep 13) that I was able to setup, as it looked like the night would be clear.  Well, clouds later rolled in just as I finished focus/alignment of the scope/mount (TOA-130F and EM200).  Just before I took down the equipment and took it back inside, I took a single 3 second image of Vega through the Lum filter of the QSI 540wsg camera.  Later (last night, 20 Sep 13), I used data from my point and shoot camera (Canon S5IS) to add a little color to it, since I had it outside for a little while shooting the moon.  With star spikes and color added just to Vega, here is the result (with clouds visible).

First Composite with Canon S5IS

In addition to the above, a little later in the cloudy month of September, I used the Canon S5IS to create my first composite image with this camera.  This was a shot of the moon through clouds, seen, below.  To do this, I took two frames, each at a different exposure, and then combined them to show what the moon looked like that night (20 Sep 13).

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A site for prints

I have some of my work at Red Bubble. Here is a slideshow from Red Bubble which links to those images. You can just click on an image as it goes by to see it on Red Bubble. So, this makes three total locations where I feature my astro stuff (not counting Facebook :)  1) Primary site (  2) Red Bubble  3) This blog.

Why Red Bubble? A friend recently asked me if I had any prints of my stuff for sale. I answered no, but that I would check into it. I found Red Bubble and it was pretty easy to setup, so, there it is :)

Slideshow links to prints for sale.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy
On this night in March 2013, M51 was my primary target.  Conditions were excellent, and I managed to collect over 5.5hours of data (total, including Luminance [L] and Red,Green,Blue [RGB]).  The time spanned from about 8pm-2am local time.  Details of the image can be seen at this direct link:

The entire imaging session for M51 had the scope on the "west" side of the mount, as M51 was rising from the east.  As it moves to near zenith, I must stop imaging as the camera then becomes very close to the tripod mount legs (can see a picture of my setup on my main site at the equipment section, here: and impact would damage the camera, mount, as well as the telescope.  As an aside here, on an imaging night, I set 30 minute timers to wake me up so I can go out and check on all of the equipment periodically.  This is for the above reason as well as to check that cables are still free, as similar damage described above could a occur should a cable become snagged as the mount is tracking.

A First: 15 minute sub-frames

This night was also special in that it was my first time going to 15-minute long sub-frames.  These were done for the L channel.  The tracking was spot on.  At 1000mm focal length, this says a lot for the impressive Takahashi EM200 mount.

The image I am showing here in this blog is a reduced-size crop result.  For the full result, please check it out at my site (

As always, thanks for looking.

Monday, August 12, 2013

From the same night (M33)
Here is another shot from late last year that I reprocessed earlier this year.  This is M33 - Triangulum Galaxy.  This object I actually imaged the same night and immediately after NGC 253, mentioned in my previous post.  M33, however, was my primary target on this night and the sky conditions were excellent in each of the three main categories (lack of clouds, seeing, transparency) scoring a 5/5 in all areas.  Thus, every frame really counted for the capture of both of these objects.  Here is a link to my primary astro site which has more details on capture, plus a full resolution view:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

First post (NGC 253)
The beginning of a blog for jeffj astrophotography.  To begin, here is an image that I recently (a week ago) reprocessed.  This is NG C253 - Sculptor Galaxy.  Details for the image can be found here:  Due to weather the past several months (monsoon season), I have not collected much data, this year.  I expect I will put some other images up from earlier this year in the near future, however.  Thanks for looking.