Archive for the “IOM” Category

Imaging Object of the Month

This is a 5-frame mosaic put together using Noel Carboni’s Astronomy Tools for Photoshop and DSS2 red and blue channel data.  I seriously question why I bother to image when such high quality data is readily available to download and process into a such a stunning RGB image.

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Yes – another single star picture for this month’s Image of the Month.  Polaris, the Pole star, the North star, Alpha Ursa Minor – the Navigator’s friend.  I like this region of space because 1)  It is rarely imaged and 2)  It is difficult to take deep images in this region due to the vagaries of the good old GEM.  Quite a few faint fuzzies in the background of this one, and many of them are closer to the Pole than well-known Polarissima Borealis.  The green cross-hairs at the 2 O’clock position from Polaris indicate the position of the North Celestial Pole, as you can see, it’s actually quite some way from Polaris.  Finally, yes, if you think you can see some “cloud” in there – this is a touch of the Integrated Flux Nebula (IFN).

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The Image of the Month for May 2013 is the recent reprocess of the Coathanger Cluster (Al Sufi’s cluster, Collinder 399) in the constellation Vulpecula.  This reprocess by Noel Carboni included data from the mini-WASP array plus deep data from the Hyperstar III.  To the left of the cluster we see the sparkling little open cluster NGC 6802, which reminds me a lot of little NGC 1502 sitting at the end of Kemble’s cascade.  This image of the Coathanger represents around 8-hours of total imaging time using OSC cameras M25C and M26C.  I like the Milky Way background and the prominent dark patches in this image.

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The image of the month for April 2013 is the stunning red star Mu Cephei.  As you know, I really like the impact the bright single star images have, especially when the single star is something very special.

Mu Cephei is also known as Herschel’s Garnet star – it is a red supergiant in Cepheus and is one of the largest and most luminous stars in the whole of our galaxy!

Mu Cephei is approximately 1000 times larger than our Sun’s solar radius, and if it were placed in the Sun’s position, it would reach between the orbit of Jupiter and Saturn.

Mu Cephei’s apparent brightness varies without recognizable pattern between magnitude +3.62 and +5 in a period of 2 to 2.5 years. Mu Cephei is visually nearly 100,000 times brighter than the Sun, with an absolute visible magnitude of Mv = −7.6. Combining its absolute visible brightness, its infrared radiation, and correcting for interstellar extinction gives a luminosity of around 350,000 solar luminosities, making it one of the most luminous stars known.

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The Image of the Month for March 2013 is the recent mini-WASP array capture of M46 & M47, a lovely pair of open clusters in Puppis.  I have wanted to grab this one since the winter constellations first started appearing at a decent hour back in December 2012 – but we simply haven’t had the weather.  What I really like about this image is the Puppis Milky Way background – I just like clusters with Milky Way backgrounds I guess.  Taken using all 3 M26C one shot colour cameras on the mini-WASP array.

 

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I’ve just noticed that for some reason the new Image of the Month hasn’t automatically popped up.  Strange – absolutely no idea what went wrong there.  Never mind – here it is – just a little late.  The February 2013 Image of the Month is that recent single star image of Sirius I took using the mini-WASP array.  This is a 2-framer of the region, and what I find remarkable is the fact that magnitude 17 stars can be found quite close in to magnitude -1.46 Sirius.  This is testament to both Noel’s processing skills and to the incredible dynamic range of the Starlight Xpress M26C one-shot colour camera.  Also says a great deal for the well-overflow control of the M26C 🙂

 

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So we have the first Image of the Month for 2013 – Happy New Year 🙂

This one is a fairly new image taken at the beginning of last month – but for me and the New Forest Observatory it is something of a landmark image.  This is of course Kemble’s Cascade in the constellation Camelopardalis and it represents the first real opportunity for the mini-WASP array to show its stuff.  Taken in a single evening this is a 2-framer of the region so it is clear that the ability to use several scopes in parallel for imaging pays off in being able to acquire data that would have previously taken me several (good clear) nights – and we know how rare those are.

The mini-WASP array in its current incarnation comprises one Sky 90 and two TS 80mm triplet APOs, each with its own M26C 10-megapixel one-shot colour CCD camera.  With all three systems running I can grab 3-hour’s worth of total integration time for just one hour’s worth of total imaging time.  The Sky 90 also has a filter wheel and H-alpha, H-beta, SII and OIII filters for grabbing narrow band data while the two TS 80s grab the RGB template.  Once I get used to handling this beast we shall start to see some new and unique imagery coming out of the New Forest Observatory and the Parker-Carboni deep-sky imaging factory.  This is going to be a really interesting year for the NFO 🙂

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One of my favourite regions of sky, I have to return time and time again to all that bright Cygnus nebulosity, I find it amazing.  This image of the North America/Pelican region is a composite using both Sky 90/M25C and Hyperstar III/M25C data.  It comprises around 6-frames and it is circular as that was the shape that gave the biggest FOV for the jaggedy edge image.  Now disappearing from view for another year, I wasn’t set up in time to do a proper job on this region with the mini-WASP array – hopefully I’ll be ready to catch it next year.  Weather permitting I will be going for a mini-WASP 4-framer of the region (6 x 4 degrees) including H-alpha, OIII and SII narrow band data.

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I have several Parker-Carboni images that are my favourites, and this one is amongst them.  Quite a few hours of one-shot colour went into creating this image of M31 and a few hours worth of H-alpha too.  Then add a similar amount of time spent by Noel Carboni processing and putting all the data together and you end up with an Andromeda galaxy image like the one shown here.  I intend to re-shoot M31 with the new mini-WASP array as a 2-framer to not only get a bigger view of the region, but also to add more valuable data to the current image.

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This month’s Image of the Month is in my opinion the most underrated and unappreciated deep-sky image of all time – amateur or professional.  It hasn’t even appeared as an APOD.  Why on Earth not?  Because I guess it is not exactly what one would call a “pretty picture”.  There isn’t a vast assortment of colour on view.  But it is the most incredible achievement for an amateur imager to come up with such a dramatic panorama of the Integrated Flux Nebula as the one shown here – and let’s just get this into perspective, this isn’t Hubble data or Keck telescope data, this has been acquired by Rogelio Bernal Andreo in California with a Takahashi FSQ-106.  How staggering is that?  Perhaps the most outstanding deep-sky image to-date in view of the difficulty of the subject, and the clarity and the depth to which it has been captured – utterly superb work Andreo – and a very fitting NFO Image of the Month for sure 🙂

I see that the image does not reproduce well on the small size I can post on this site.  For the real deal look at the original Rogelio version here.

 

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