Finally broke the spell

Last night was cold and crisp, more importantly it was clear -ish, more than good enough for some Ha imaging. Once I had got everything set up and aligned, with all the software working together ( I had almost forgot how to do this part, it’s been so long ) I decided to give IC410 – the Tadpoles nebula a try, this dusty emission nebula in the constellation of Auriga is about 12.000 ly distant. Using the Hydrogen Alpha filter and 30 x 180 second exposures brought the nebula out nicely.

IC410 the Tadpoles nebula Ha

Then I changed the filter to a Neodymium, Moon and Skyglow filter to image a Galaxy cluster in Leo close to the star 93 leo, the Ha filter would not show much on this group which contains NGC3861A and B, NGC3862, NGC3842 and many more. I kept the exposures relatively short at 60 seconds and took another 30 images for stacking.

Galaxy cluster near 93 Leo
Galaxy cluster near 93 Leo ( brightest star )

It was the Leo Triplets turn next, keeping the same exposure time and number of shots as before seemed to work nicely, This trio of galaxies comprises M65, M66 and the edge on NGC3628.

Leo Triplet
Leo Triplet

M13 was up next, still keeping to the same settings ( they seem to work well with this filter ) showed the Great cluster in Hercules very well indeed, you can see the propeller in the cluster too, galaxy NGC6207 shows in the upper right.

M13, Great cluster in Hercules
M13, Great cluster in Hercules

Finally M101, the Pinwheel galaxy in Ursa Major was targeted, this time the exposure length was increased to 2 minutes, again taking 30 shots for stacking ( 30 images of an object is the least I take now, it gives a much cleaner image ). Galaxy NGC5474 among others is also visible.

The Pinwheel galaxy
The Pinwheel Galaxy and NGC5474 upper left

I must admit, I think last night was the coldest so far at -3.5C according to my external temperature gauge, frost was on everything outside the warm room which was at a toasty 18C. The telescope optics are kept dew and frost free by using dew heater bands and I also use a heater ring on the front of the asi1600mm camera to stop the front of the chamber window dewing up.


I’m lucky it stayed clear for the night, when I had finished and locked the observatory up it started to get cloudy again, oh well.

3 thoughts on “Finally broke the spell”

  1. Well, who’s been a busy boy then! Glad it stayed clear enough for you to get so much done. Great bolg and images as usual. Couldn’t wait to get it posted could you! lol


  2. A fine array of objects and some very nice sharp images, looks like you must have been outside for most of the night.
    I love that one of M101, which will never be seen here, although technically it peeks just above my own horizon. A Northern gem and arguably the best face-on galaxy in the entire sky.
    I hope your run of clear sky fortune continues!


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