SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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NGC 3521 (Spiral Galaxy)

Mouse-over to see annotations. (Requires Javascript) Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Mofidied Canon Rebel XT (350D): Hutech Type I Filter Replacement
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: Celestron/Baader Multi Purpose Coma Corrector (MPCC)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 20 x 8min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 2hrs, 40min
Date: 4/19/2006 9:32:52 PM PDT (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: GADFly 1.0.5
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction

Image Description:

This is NGC 3521, a Spiral Galaxy in the constellation of Leo. Actually, NGC 3521 is more accurately described as a Flocculent Galaxy, due to its short, patchy, spiral arms. An interesting feature of this galaxy is the extensive halo above and below the plane of its spiral arms (ENE to WSW in the image), possibly caused by a past collision between NGC 3521 and another galaxy. The halo might be better resolved had the transparency been a bit better the night this was shot. This sky animation (1059 kB), each frame of which is one of the individual 8min exposures, shows clouds wiping out some of them, and the sky brightness affecting the others.

One of the more interesting features of this shot is that it captures the motion of a 17th-magnitude asteroid, namely, 3085 Donna, visible in the bottom-center of the full-size image (see link below) as a faint streak. This asteroid animation (645 kB) -- a small crop of that bottom-center region at full resolution -- shows the asteroid's movement from frame to frame. Thanks to Colin of the Digital Astro Yahoo Group for noticing the asteroid in my original image!

A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy)   [obsolete]

Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: n/a (Prime)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 4 x 4min @ ISO 400
Total Exposure: 0hrs, 16min
Date: 8/10/2004, ~10pm PDT
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: None
Guiding: Manual through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, flat field, registration, Kappa-Sigma stacking, background fit
  • Photoshop: Noise reduction, cropping, image scale, JPG conversion

Image Description:

One of my favorite galaxies, this is M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy in the constellation of Ursa Major. M51 is the main, large galaxy, which can be seen to be interacting with the smaller NGC 5195 North of it (above it in this photo). The very faint galaxy, IC 4263, can be seen South-West (below and to the right) of M51. This image could have used more exposure, but it took me a while to get used to the guiding setup, and to drift align, and, and, and, so that I only had about 20min to acquire frames before the object set behind my house. This is the full frame, scaled for display on the web. A higher-resolution image is also available. North is up.

 
NGC 5044 (Galaxy Group)
SaratogaSkies Jim Solomon's Astropics

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Latest news

December: Test shots with new scopes/mounts

Dec 21: TMB 80/480 Arrives!

Dec 3: AP1200 Arrives!

Nov 30: TMB 152/1200 Arrives!

Links:

NGC 5044 (Galaxy Group)

Click to see high-res version.

Image Details:

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel (300D)
Mount: Celestron AS-GT
Scope: Celestron C8-N (8" f/5 Newtonian)
Configuration: Prime Focus
Additional Optics: Celestron/Baader Multi Purpose Coma Corrector (MPCC)
Filter: None
Effective Focal Length: 1000mm
Effective Focal Ratio: f/5
Exposure: 18 x 4min @ ISO 800
Total Exposure: 1hrs, 12min
Date: 5/31/2005 10:35:43 PM PDT (start)
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Acquisition: DSLRfocus
Focus: DSLRFocus
Dithering: Manual
Guiding: GuideDog via Philips ToUcam Pro II (840k) through Orion ST80 w/ Celestron 2x "Kit" Barlow

Processing:

  • IRIS: Dark subtraction, registration, gradient removal
  • JimP: Flat field, Kappa-Sigma Stacking, White balance, ASINH stretching
  • Neat Image: Noise reduction
  • Photoshop: Levels, cropping, JPG conversion

Image Description:

This is the not-so-cleverly named NGC 5044 Galaxy Group in the constellation of Virgo, significantly South and a bit East of Markarian's Chain, also in Virgo. The large spiral in the lower left is NGC 5054, which may or may not be associated with the rest of the galaxies in this group. The image above is a 50% scaled version of the original, cropped for display on the web. The full size image is also available. North is up.