North America Nebula

North America Nebula

North America Nebula (NGC7000)

  • Telescope: Stellarvue SVA130T-IS
  • Mount: Losmandy G-11 with Gemini 2 controller
  • Autoguiding: Yes (sub-arcsecond rms accuracy)
  • Optical Configuration: 0.72x field flattener & reducer (f/5)
  • Camera: Canon 60Da
  • Light Frames: 12, 6-min. exposures
  • Calibration: None (no darks, no flats, no biases)
  • Exposure Time: 72 min. (12 x 6 min.)
  • ISO: 800
  • Processing: Photoshop CC
  • Imaging Location: Sierra Nevada Mountains (Altitude: 8,600 ft.)

The aptly named North America Nebula (NGC7000) in the constellation Cygnus is an emission nebula containing gasses that glow red or blue. The red color comes from hydrogen gas that absorbs light from nearby stars and re-emits it in the red part of the spectrum (hydrogen-alpha emission). The blue light comes from oxygen gas, which also absorbs nearby starlight but re-emits it in the blue. The effect creates a purple haze glowing amid thousands of stars.

The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules

The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules (M13)

The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules (M13)

  • Telescope: Stellarvue SVA130T-IS
  • Mount: Losmandy G-11 with Gemini 2 controller
  • Autoguiding: Yes (sub-arcsecond rms accuracy)
  • Optical Configuration: 2x Barlow lens (f/14)
  • Camera: Canon 60Da
  • Light Frames: 5, 5-min. and 5, 3-min. exposures stacked
  • Calibration: 12 dark frames (no flats, no biases)
  • Exposure Time: 40 min. (5 x 5 min. + 5 x 3 min.)
  • ISO: 800
  • Processing: Photoshop CC
  • Imaging Location: Sierra Nevada Mountains (Altitude: 8,600 ft.)

Like most globular clusters, The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules (M13) is one of the oldest structures in the universe–about 12.7 billion years old. Astronomers believe that  globular clusters formed very soon after the Big Bang. In fact, these star formations pose something of a dilemma for cosmologists, because the universe itself is thought to be about 13.7 billion years old and some globular clusters seem to be even older than that.

Located in the constellation Hercules, M13 is 25,000 light-years from Earth and contains about 300,000 stars.

Globular Cluster M92

Globular Cluster M92

Globular Cluster M92

  • Telescope: Stellarvue SVA130T-IS
  • Mount: Losmandy G-11 with Gemini 2 controller
  • Autoguiding: Yes (sub-arcsecond rms accuracy)
  • Optical Configuration: 2x Barlow lens (f/14)
  • Camera: Canon 60Da
  • Light Frames: 5, 5-min. exposures stacked
  • Calibration: None (no darks, no flats, no biases)
  • Exposure Time: 25 min. (5 x 5 min.)
  • ISO: 800
  • Processing: Photoshop CC
  • Imaging Location: Sierra Nevada Mountains (Altitude: 8,600 ft.)

With an estimated age of 14 billion years, the globular cluster M92 is one of the most ancient structures in the universe. Astronomers believe that most globular clusters formed very soon after the universe began with the Big Bang. In fact, these star formations pose something of a dilemma for cosmologists, because the universe itself is thought to be about 13.7 billion years old, and some globular clusters like M92 appear to be even older.

Located in the constellation Hercules, M92 is 27,000 light-years from Earth and contains about 300,000 stars. It could be the oldest globular cluster in our Milky Way galaxy.

Bode’s Galaxy (M81)

Bode's Galaxy (M81)

Bode's Galaxy (M81)

  • Telescope: Stellarvue SVA130T-IS (f/5 configuration)
  • Optical Configuration: 0.72x Field Flattener & Reducer (f/5)
  • Camera: Canon 60Da
  • Light Frames: 11, 5-min. exposures stacked
  • Calibration: 12 dark frames (no flats, no biases)
  • Exposure Time: 55 min. (11 x 5 min.)
  • ISO: 800
  • Processing: Photoshop CC
  • Imaging Location: Sierra Nevada Mountains (Altitude: 8,600 ft.)

Bode’s Galaxy (M81) is a Seyfert galaxy approximately 12 million light-years from Earth. Seyfert galaxies make up only about 10% of all galaxies and are thought to contain a supermassive black hole at their centers, giving them a very bright Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN).

The Whirlpool Galaxy

Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)

The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)

  • Telescope: Stellarvue SVA130T-IS (f/5 configuration)
  • Optical Configuration: 0.72x Field Flattener & Reducer (f/5)
  • Camera: Canon 60Da
  • Single exposure
  • Shutter Speed: 5 min.
  • ISO: 800
  • Processing: Photoshop CC
  • Imaging Location: Sierra Nevada Mountains (Altitude: 8,600 ft.)

The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) is a Seyfert galaxy approximately 31 million light-years from Earth. Seyfert galaxies make up only about 10% of all galaxies and are thought to contain a supermassive black hole at their centers, giving them a very bright Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN).

In the past, it was thought that the Whirlpool Galaxy was actually two colliding galaxies in which the larger galaxy was swallowing up the smaller one. However, recent high-resolution images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope indicate that the two galaxies are proximate, but not materially involved. The smaller one, in fact, is farther away and moving behind the larger one from our perspective.