Last night I got the left hand frame in this Canon 200mm/M26C Trius 2-framer.  Bagged 13 Messier objects in one image with this one :)  The Virgo/Coma cluster of galaxies.  If the weather allows – I will go back and take a couple more frames of this one just to get the noise down a little more.

 

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The first of 2-frames taken with the Canon 200mm lens and Starlight Xpress M26C Trius OSC CCD.

Bit of a story to this one.  Had some strange streaks across the image which I thought had wrecked the whole imaging session.  Bit of a shame really as this had 12 x 15-minute (3-hours worth) of subs in it.  Noel Carboni came to the rescue and processed this one, successfully removing the streaks as he did so :)  Also, Terry Platt very quickly sorted out the camera problem for me via Skype – all that was required was a firmware reload – problem gone!!

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Has anybody imaged the Polaris region recently?  Seems to have been a bit of mega-engineering going on out there courtesy of some highly advanced alien civilisation!

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I was just reading some very interesting observers’ comments on viewing the unbelievably faint Leo II dwarf galaxy.  Their attempts at visual observation of this elusive object brought back the memory that kicked off my imaging obsession, and relegated my beautiful eyepiece collection (and Binoviewers) to the storage cupboard.

When I first got my Celestron Nexstar GPS C11 scope back around early 2002 I only had visual observation in mind – I really didn’t see me moving into the imaging business – what’s the point?  So I spent 2 years with this fine scope just observing, and it was great, except I found myself going back time and again to the handful of objects that look great visually.  But I now remember what the real cruncher was that turned me to the dark side.  Like any beginner, of course, I wanted to see the Horsehead nebula.  I spent a long time convincing myself I was in the right area (which I now know I was) – but there was nothing to be seen.  No matter, there were various filters advertised that promised to help see this difficult object – none worked for me :(  So for 2 years in succession, when Orion was well placed I looked in vain for the Horsehead nebula – no joy.

I must have had imaging back in the subconscious however as when I bought the scope, I also bought the original Hyperstar to go with it – for two years it had sat in the bottom drawer unused.  But now its time had come.  I bought a Starlight Xpress H9C one shot colour CCD camera in the Autumn of 2004 and was set up for imaging around November-December 2004 with the scope in Alt-Az mode (I knew nothing about needing an equatorial mounting at this point).  So I was taking subs up to around 30-seconds (before trailing was apparent) and of course I went to the Horsehead nebula as one of the first objects to image.  When the Horsehead was clearly visible with just a single 15-second exposure – that was it.  The eyepiece never went back on, and I have only imaged ever since that fateful evening :)

 

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Here’s another very deep image that will make a stunning desktop/screensaver.

This time it’s the Rosette nebula in Monoceros.  An RGB Hyperstar image with added H-alpha and OIII data :)

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Would you like to own an image from the New Forest Observatory but cannot afford to purchase a numbered print?

Then how about your very own custom desktop/screensaver of your favourite NFO image :)

Just send me your desktop size in pixels and I will prepare for you a JPEG image of your choice to fit your screen.

For only £5 paid into PayPal – you will receive your stunning desktop image which you can choose from the huge selection available on here:

My own current desktop is the Horsehead nebula image shown below.

And if you are not particularly interested in deep-sky images yourself, then how about a really unique Birthday present for friends or family?

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I was looking through some old data yesterday and NGC1333 (Hyperstar III data) stood out as worth taking a second look at.

So I reprocessed the data and came up with the (slight improvement) below :)

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Am I the only one who can clearly see a Meerkat in Simeis 147?  He sits there, curled up, with his tail coming round in front from between his back legs.

Since Simeis 147 only has the common name “The Spaghetti nebula” which implies a random structure – I propose the more endearing “Meerkat nebula” for Simeis 147 – a supernova remnant in Taurus/Auriga.

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Blazing Moon last night so I spent a little time getting a good focus on the 200mm lens and then imaged both the Zosma region (with the Leo II dwarf galaxy) and the Virgo/Coma galaxy cluster region.  This was done with a 62mm UV/IR cut filter on the front of the 72mm diameter lens and the lens wide open at f#1.8.  The front aperture did not stop the lens down far enough to get good quality stars right into the corners – but the result isn’t bad at all.  Next outing I will check out the star quality using a 52mm diameter UV/IR cut filter.

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Well – you can tell from the lack of pictures that I didn’t get any solar eclipse images as we were totally clouded out here in the New Forest.  I guess if I’d taken this job half seriously I would have driven down to Plymouth the night before – but I was too lazy.

So after being clouded out all morning on the 20th it was then crystal clear from around 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. – it then clouded over again to make sure I couldn’t image that evening.

Next morning (21st) crystal clear ALL morning.

It really does feel like a conspiracy :(

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