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Deep Sky Objects

Posted by Paul On April - 21 - 2013



On this page are pictures I've taken of deep sky objects like nebulas.

This is the Orion Nebula taken on 11/5/2012 40 second exposure, ISO 1600…



































The comparison of the first two images is interesting as it shows what can be done with multiple images that have been post processed.  The first image (above) is just a single picture and the one below has been post processed in Images Plus.

11/30/2013 I took this set of pictures on 11/25/2013 of M42 or the Orion Nebula – 11 exposures of 2 minutes each at iso=800.  Temp was 23 deg.

5/3/2013  Last night I took this photo of the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101).  It's very faint and really hard to see through the telescope, maybe because it's 21 million light years from Earth.  I took 20 5 minute exposures at ISO=400 and 6 darks (5 minute exposures, ISO=400).  I stacked the images and post processed them in ImagesPlus.






4/22/2013 M3 taken at ISO of 200, exposure was 300 seconds.  The sky was clear, but almost a full moon, so it wasn't very dark.

4/27/2013  Here is a picture of M3 again, 2 minute exposure, ISO 200.  This was taken with the focal reducer which changes the telescope from an F10 to an F7.  That means the exposure times are cut in half.  You can tell that this picture is better focused than the one above.





5/13/2013 Here is M51. 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.  I now have 2 hours and 31 minutes of exposures at ISO=400, with darks, flats, and bias frames.

7/15/2015 Another set of images of M51 taken with the Canon 60Da camera.  17 images of 180 sec exposure, ISO=800 with darks, flats and bias frames.  Post processed in DSS, and Photoshop.

M51 PS 7-15-15 #2

5/30/2017 Here is my image of M51 or the Whirlpool Galaxy, it is composed of 95 images with a total exposure time of 347 minutes over 4 nights.  It was post processed in DSS, PS and IP.  From Wikipedia: The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51a, M51 or NGC 5194, is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy with a Weyfert 2 active galactic nucelus in the constellation Canes Venatici.  In the Catalogue of Named Galaxies, it is called the Typhon Canum Benaticorum, after the Greek god Typhon.  It was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy.  Recently it was estimated to be 19 to 27 million light years from the Milky Way. 

M51 5-11,27,28,29-17

Here is M102 taken on 5/12/2013 –  NGC 5866 (also called the Spindle Galaxy or Messier 102) is a relatively bright lenticular or spiral galaxy in the constellation Draco.
15 x 300 seconds, ISO=400 with darks, flats, and bias frames.  Post processed in Deep Sky Stacker then PhotoShop.



6/1/2013 This is a combination of M81 and M82 composed of 19 two minute exposures.  These were then stacked and processed in DeepSkyStacker then Photoshop.


Messier 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 nucelus, which harbors a 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 brighter than the whole Milky Way and one hundred times brighter than our galaxy's center.

In 2005, the Hubble Space Telescope revealed 197 young massive clusters in the starburst core. The average mass of these clusters is around 2×105 M, hence the starburst core is a very energetic and high-density environment. Throughout the galaxy's center, young stars are being born 10 times faster than they are inside our entire Milky Way Galaxy.







6/1/2013 This is M82 by itself and is composed of 20 two minute exposures.  These were then post processed as above.



6/2/2013 Ok – I have three more images – first up is M97 the Owl nebula.


The Owl Nebula (also known as Messier Object 97 or M97 or NGC 3587) is a planetary nebula in the constellation Ursa Major. M97 is regarded as one of the more complex of the planetaries. The 16th magnitude central str has about 0.7 solar mass and the nebula itself about 0.15 solar mass. The nebula formed roughly 6,000 years ago.

The nebula gets its name from the appearance of owl-like "eyes" when viewed through a large (>200 mm) telescope under dark sky conditions with the aid of a so-called "nebula filter." The eyes are also (albeit, not so easily) visible in photographs of the nebula.

Next is M59, 11 X 180 sec at ISO=400.


And finally NGC 3065:



This is M13 the great cluster taken on 5/28/13.  It is also designated NGC 6025 and sometimes called the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules or the Hercules Globular Cluster.  It is a globular cluster of about 300,000 stars in the constellation of Hercules.

6/9/2013 Here is the Iris Nebula.  6 x 240 second exposures at ISO=400 and processed in ImagesPlus.  The Iris Nebula, also NGC 7023 and Caldwell 4, is a bright reflection nebula and Caldwell object in the constellation Cepheus.  NGC 7023 is actually the cluster within the nebula.  It lies 1,300 light-years away and is six light-years across.

7/3/2013 Here is M29 or "the cooling tower" and is composed of 10 4 minute exposures at ISO=400 and processed in ImagesPlus.  M29 is about 7000 light years from us.

7/20/13 Here is M5 – a globular cluster with a magnitude of 5.80 in the constellation Serpens and spans 165 light years.  This cluster is 13 billion years old and is 24000 lights years from Earth and contains between 100,000 and 500,000 stars.  Down in the lower right corner is 5 Sur or HIP 74975.  This image is composed of 9 photos of 4 minutes each at ISO of 400.  Processing was done in DSS then Photoshop.

7/22/13 Last night I managed to image about 65 minutes of the Elephants Trunk Nebula or IC1396.  Since my camera (Nikon D90) hasn't been modified to astrophotography the nebulosity doesn't show up, but the stars are nice!

8-12-13  Here is IC 1396 again – this time taken with my Canon 60Da astronomy camera.  Still no nebulosity – but a lot more stars!

8-15-2013 I imaged this last night through some pretty bad haze from a fire across Utah lake.  This is M27 – the Dumbbell Nebula taken with 14 4 minute exposures at ISO of 400 with the Canon 60Da.  Post processing was done DSS, NoiseWare, PhotoShop then iphoto.  The Dumbbell Nebula is a planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula, and is about 1360 light years from us.




This is a combined photo where I added 44 additional minutes from last night to bring the total to 3 hours 13 minutes.

Revised 9/11/16 to include only the best of the photos, the rest were excluded.

8-14-27 M27REVISED 9-11-16


9/16/2013 This is M31 or the Andromeda Galaxy.  It is 2.5 million light years from Earth and is the nearest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy.  This image is composed of 40 2 minute exposures at ISO 800, and 13 3 minute exposures at ISO=800 for a total of 1 hr and 59 minutes, and stacked with 10 darks, bias and flat frames in DSS.

10-7-13  Last night it was cold – got down to 42 deg F and I wasn't dressed for it.  Anyway I had a good night of imaging.  This first is the North American Nebula or NGC700 – or at least part of it.  This is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus, close to Deneb.  The remarkable shape of the nebula resembles that of the continent of North America (you can just see part of the nebula here).  This nebula is large, covering more than four times the size of the full moon.  This picture is composed of 11 10 minute images taken at ISO of 800 and processed in ImagesPlus.

NGC7000 IP PS 10-8-13


This the second image I took on 10-6-13.  This image is of M33 and was processed in ImagesPlus from 9 3 minute images.  M33 is also called the Triangulum Galaxy, and is 3 million light years from Earth.  It is sometimes informally called the Pinwheel Galaxy, a nickname it shares with M101.  The Triangulum Galaxy is the third largest member of the local group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy and about 30 other smaller galaxies.  It is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed with the naked eye.

12/19/2013 This image of M37 was taken on Nov 26th.

3 images of 180 seconds each at ISO=1600 with darks, flats, and bias frames added. Post processed in ImagesPlus.

M92 taken on 9/19/2014 and is a globular cluster and lies about 26,700 light years from earth. This image is composed of 11 3 minute exposures at ISO=800.10-9-15   This was processed with Images Plus and Photo Shop.

M92 IP PS CombineFilesExcAvg

It's been a while, but I was able to get out and image for a few hours.  I had some mount connections problems, but was able to get in 20 x 120 sec images of M57 (or the Ring Nebula) at ISO=800.  This was then processed in DSS then Photo Shop followed by Iphoto.  The Ring Nebula (also catalogued as Messier 57, M57or NGC6720) is a planetary nebula in the northern constellation of Lyra and is 2300 light years from earth. Such objects are formed when a shell of ionized gas is expelled into the surrounding Interstellar medium by a red giant star, which was passing through the last stage in its evolution before becoming a white dwarf.

M57 10-9-15 DSS PS CROPPED



Last night I spent 2 hours photographing the Veil Nebula.  The large star in the middle exploded 5000 to 8000 years ago.  This nebula is about 1500 light years from earth.  The photo is composed of 1 hour and 42 minutes of exposures of 2 or 3 minutes of duration (ISO = 800 and 1600) taken on the nights of 10/14/15 and 12/18/15.  Last night was the first time I used my new 10Micron GM1000HPS telescope mount.  It performed flawlessley!  What a fantastic piece of art.


16BIT TIFF 10-14-15 12-18-15 NGC6960 12-20-15


To deep sky observers, the group of NGC 5985, NGC 5982 and NGC 5981 is commonly known as the “Draco Trio”. Two barred spirals at different angles and a face on elliptical all in the same field of view is a rare sight and makes for a beautiful celestial portrait. The beautiful spiral is NGC 5985. The proper designation for the elliptical galaxy is NGC 5982. The catalog number for the edge-on is NGC 5981. While these galaxies span huge amounts of light years apart, they share telescopic space at RA: 15h 38m 40s Dec: +59°21’22” as a center and share photons in the eyepiece at around 25 arc minutes. While the Draco group is far too small to be considered its own galaxy cluster and has never been classified as a compact group, oddly enough all three are around 100 million light years away from the Sol System.

These photos were taken over the last few days and consist of 180 sec exposures at ISO=1600 for a total time of about 1 hr and 45 minutes, they were processed using DSS then Photo Shop.

NGC5982 7-18-16 PS7-18-2016

The Eagle Nebula (catalogued as Messier 16 or M16, and as NGC 6611, and also known as the Star Queen Nebula and The Spire) is a young open cluser of stars in the constellation Serpens, discovered by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux in 1745–46. Both the "Eagle" and the "Star Queen" refer to visual impressions of the dark silhouette near the center of the nebula, an area made famous as the "Pillars of Creation" photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope. The nebula contains several active star-forming gas and dust regions, including the Pillars of Creation.  This photo is composed of 2 exposures of 20 minutes at ISO=200 and processed in DSS then photoshop.

7-12-2016 DSS 2 exxp 1200 iso 200


Last night I added 44 more minutes for a total of 84 minutes – this image is processed with DSS and PS.  The close proximity of a very bright moon resulted in short exposure length of 4 minutes at ISO of 200.  

9-10-16 I've added 88 more minutes for a total now of 3 hours and 46 minutes.  These were processed in DSS then PhotoShop.

The Eagle Nebula (catalogued as Messier 16 or M16, and as NGC 6611, and also known as the Star Queen Nebula and The Spire) is a young open cluser of stars in the constellation Serpens, discovered by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux in 1745–46. Both the "Eagle" and the "Star Queen" refer to visual impressions of the dark silhouette near the center of the nebula, an area made famous as the "Pillars of Creation" photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The nebula contains several active star-forming gas and dust regions, including the Pillars of Creation. Evidence from the Spitzer Telescope suggests that the pillars in M16 may already have been destroyed by a supernova explosion. Hot gas observed by Spitzer in 2007 suggests that the area was disturbed by a supernova that exploded some 8000 to 9000 years ago. Due to the distance of the nebula, the light from the supernova would have reached Earth between 1000 and 2000 years ago. The more slowly moving shock wave from the supernova would have taken a few thousand years to move through the nebula, and would blow away the delicate pillars – but the light showing us the destruction will not reach the Earth for another millennium.

M16 BEST 40%9-10-16 NIGHT IMAGES

4/20/2017 I imaged this last night – 12 images of 240 seconds at iso=800, then stacked and post processed. NGC 2403 (also Caldwell 7) is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Camelopardalis. NGC 2403 is an outlying member of the M81 Group, and is approximately 8 million light-years distant. It bears a striking similarity to M33, being about 50,000 light years in diameter and containing numerous star-forming H II regions. The northern spiral arm connects it to a Star forming region NGC 2404. NGC 2403 can be observed using 10×50 binoculars.

ngc 2403 dss 4-19-17