M97 and 108


Description

The Owl Nebula (also known as Messier 97, M97 or NGC 3587) is a planetary nebula located approximately 2,030 light years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It was discovered by French astronomer Pierre Méchain on February 16, 1781. When William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, observed the nebula in 1848, his hand-drawn illustration resembled an owl's head. It has been known as the Owl Nebula ever since. The nebula is approximately 8,000 years old. It is approximately circular in cross-section with a little visible internal structure. It was formed from the outflow of material from the stellar wind of the central star as it evolved along the asymptotic giant branch. The nebula is arranged in three concentric shells, with the outermost shell being about 20–30% larger than the inner shell. The owl-like appearance of the nebula is the result of an inner shell that is not circularly symmetric, but instead forms a barrel-like structure aligned at an angle of 45° to the line of sight.The nebula holds about 0.13 solar masses of matter, including hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur; all with a density of less than 100 particles per cubic centimeter. Its outer radius is around 0.91 ly (0.28 pc) and it is expanding with velocities in the range of 27–39 km/s into the surrounding interstellar medium. The 14th magnitude central star has since reached the turning point of its evolution where it condenses to form a white dwarf. It has 55–60% of the Sun's mass, 41–148 times the brightness of the Sun, and an effective temperature of 123,000 K. The star has been successfully resolved by the Spitzer Space Telescope as a point source that does not show the infrared excess characteristic of a circumstellar disk.

Messier 108 (also known as NGC 3556) is a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781 or 1782. From the perspective of the Earth, this galaxy is seen almost edge-on. This galaxy is an isolated member of the Ursa Major Cluster of galaxies in the Virgo supercluster. It has a morphological classification of type SBbc in the de Vaucouleurs system, which means it is a barred spiral galaxy with somewhat loosely wound arms. The maximum angular size of the galaxy in the optical band is 11′.1 × 4′.6, and it is inclined 75° to the line of sight. This galaxy has an estimated mass of 125 billion times the mass of the Sun and includes about 290 ± 80 globular clusters. Examination of the distribution of neutral hydrogen in this galaxy shows shells of expanding gas extending for several kiloparsecs, known as H1 supershells. These may be driven by bursts of star formation activity, resulting in supernovae explosions. Alternatively they may result from an infall of gas from outside the galaxy or by radio jets.

Equipment and processing

Telescope: Orion 8 inch F5

Mount: Orion Atlas

Camera: ST 8300M

Filters: Baader LRGB

Guiding: PHD

Processing: PixInsight

Capture software: Maxim

Exposures: L: bin1 27x300 RGB: bin1 30x300

Location: Parsippany,NJ

Bubble Nebula


Description

NGC 7635, also called the Bubble Nebula, Sharpless 162, or Caldwell 11, is a H II region emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia. It lies close to the direction of the open cluster Messier 52. The ‘bubble’ is created by the stellar wind from a massive hot, 8.7 magnitude young central star, SAO 20575 (BD+60°2522). The nebula is near a giant molecular cloud which contains the expansion of the bubble nebula while itself being excited by the hot central star, causing it to glow. It was discovered in 1787 by William Herschel.

Equipment and processing

Telescope: Orion 8 inch F5

Mount: Orion Atlas

Camera: ST 8300M

Filters: Baader Ha,SII,OIII 7nm

Guiding: PHD

Processing: PixInsight

Capture software: Maxim

Exposures: Ha: bin1 154x600 OIII: bin2 72x600 SII: bin 78x600

Location: Parsippany,NJ

Veil Nebula


Description

The Veil Nebula is a cloud of heated and ionized gas and dust in the constellation Cygnus. It constitutes the visible portions of the Cygnus Loop (radio source W78, or Sharpless 103), a large but relatively faint supernova remnant. The source supernova exploded circa 3,000 BC to 6,000 BC, and the remnants have since expanded to cover an area roughly 3 degrees in diameter (about 6 times the diameter, or 36 times the area, of the full moon). The distance to the nebula is not precisely known, but Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) data supports a distance of about 1,470 light-years.

Equipment and processing

Telescope: Orion 8 inch F5

Mount: Orion Atlas

Camera: ST 8300M

Filters: Baader Ha,OIII 7nm

Guiding: PHD

Processing: PixInsight

Capture software: Maxim

Exposures: Ha: bin1 47x600 OIII: bin1 41x600

Location: Parsippany,NJ

Lagoon Nebula


Description

The Lagoon Nebula (catalogued as Messier 8 or M8, NGC 6523, Sharpless 25, RCW 146, and Gum 72) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is classified as an emission nebula and as an H II region. The Lagoon Nebula was discovered by Giovanni Hodierna before 1654 and is one of only two star-forming nebulae faintly visible to the eye from mid-northern latitudes. Seen with binoculars, it appears as a distinct oval cloudlike patch with a definite core. In the foreground is the open cluster NGC 6530.

Equipment and processing

Telescope: AT72ED

Mount: Meade LXD75

Camera: ST 8300M

Filters: Baader RGB

Guiding: PHD

Processing: PixInsight

Capture software: Maxim

Exposures: RGB: bin1 8x300

Location: Roscoe,NY

Swan Nebula


Description

The Omega Nebula, also known as the Swan Nebula, Checkmark Nebula, and the Horseshoe Nebula (catalogued as Messier 17 or M17) is an H II region in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745. Charles Messier catalogued it in 1764. It is located in the rich starfields of the Sagittarius area of the Milky Way.

Equipment and processing

Telescope: Orion 8 inch F5

Mount: Orion Atlas

Camera: ST 8300M

Filters: Baader Ha,SII,OIII 7nm

Guiding: PHD

Processing: PixInsight

Capture software: Maxim

Exposures: Ha: bin1 65x600 OIII: bin2 37x600 SII: bin2 35x600

Location: Parsippany,NJ

Tadpoles


Description

This telescopic close-up shows off the otherwise faint emission nebula IC 410. It also features two remarkable inhabitants of the cosmic pond of gas and dust below and right of center, the tadpoles of IC 410. Partly obscured by foreground dust, the nebula itself surrounds NGC 1893, a young galactic cluster of stars. Formed in the interstellar cloud a mere 4 million years ago, the intensely hot, bright cluster stars energize the glowing gas. Composed of denser cooler gas and dust, the tadpoles are around 10 light-years long and are likely sites of ongoing star formation. Sculpted by winds and radiation from the cluster stars, their heads are outlined by bright ridges of ionized gas while their tails trail away from the cluster's central region. IC 410 lies some 10,000 light-years away, toward the nebula-rich constellation Auriga.

Equipment and processing

Telescope: Orion 8 inch F5

Mount: Orion Atlas

Camera: ST 8300M

Filters: Baader Ha,SII,OIII 7nm

Guiding: PHD

Processing: PixInsight

Capture software: Maxim

Exposures: Ha: bin1 30x600 OIII: bin2 47x600 SII: 38x600

Location: Parsippany,NJ

California Nebula


Description

The California Nebula (NGC 1499) is an emission nebula located in the constellation Perseus. It is so named because it appears to resemble the outline of the US State of California on long exposure photographs. It is almost 2.5° long on the sky and, because of its very low surface brightness, it is extremely difficult to observe visually. It can be observed with a Hβ filter (isolates the Hβ line at 486 nm) in a rich-field telescope under dark skies. It lies at a distance of about 1,000 light years from Earth. Its fluorescence is due to excitation of the Hβ line in the nebula by the nearby prodigiously energetic O7 star, xi Persei (also known as Menkib, seen at center below it in the inset at right).The California Nebula was discovered by E. E. Barnard in 1884.

Equipment and processing

Telescope: Orion 8 inch F5

Mount: Orion Atlas

Camera: ST 8300M

Filters: Baader Ha 7nm, RGB

Guiding: PHD2

Processing: PixInsight

Capture software: CCDCiel

Exposures: Ha: bin1 64x600 RGB: bin1 16x300

Location: Parsippany,NJ

Leo Triplet


Description

"The Leo Triplet (also known as the M66 Group) is a small group of galaxies about 35 million light-years away in the constellation Leo. This galaxy group consists of the spiral galaxies M65, M66, and NGC 3628.

M65 was discovered by Charles Messier and included in his Messier Objects list. However, William Henry Smyth accidentally attributed the discovery to Pierre Méchain in his popular 19th century astronomical work A Cycle of Celestial Objects (stating ""They [M65 and M66] were pointed out by Méchain to Messier in 1780""). This error was in turn picked up by Kenneth Glyn Jones in Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters. This has since ramified into a number of other books by a variety of authors.

Messier 66 (also known as NGC 3627) is an intermediate spiral galaxy. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1780. M66 is about 95 thousand light-years across with striking dust lanes and bright star clusters along sweeping spiral arms.

NGC 3628, also known as the Hamburger Galaxy or Sarah's Galaxy is an unbarred spiral galaxy. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1784. It has an approximately 300,000 light-years long tidal tail. Its most conspicuous feature is the broad and obscuring band of dust located along the outer edge of its spiral arms, effectively transecting the galaxy to our view."

Equipment and processing

Telescope: Orion 8 inch F5

Mount: Orion Atlas

Camera: ST 8300M

Filters: Baader Ha,SII,OIII 7nm

Guiding: PHD

Processing: PixInsight

Capture software: Maxim

Exposures: L: Bin1 80x300, RGB: Bin2 40x300

Location: Parsippany,NJ

Rozette Nebula


Description

The Rosette Nebula (also known as Caldwell 49) is a large, spherical (circular in appearance), HII region located near one end of a giant molecular cloud in the Monoceros region of the Milky Way Galaxy. The open cluster NGC 2244 (Caldwell 50) is closely associated with the nebulosity, the stars of the cluster having been formed from the nebula's matter. The cluster and nebula lie at a distance of some 5,000 light-years from Earth and measure roughly 50 light years in diameter. The radiation from the young stars excites the atoms in the nebula, causing them to emit radiation themselves producing the emission nebula we see. The mass of the nebula is estimated to be around 10,000 solar masses.

Equipment and processing

Telescope: Orion 8 inch F5

Mount: Orion Atlas

Camera: ST 8300M

Filters: Baader Ha,SII,OIII 7nm

Guiding: PHD

Processing: PixInsight

Capture software: Maxim

Exposures: Ha: bin1 46x600 OIII: bin2 38x600 SII: bin1 41x600

Location: Parsippany,NJ

Monkey Head Nebula


Description

NGC 2174 (also known as Monkey Head Nebula) is an H II emission nebula located in the constellation Orion and is associated with the open star cluster NGC 2175. It is thought to be located about 6,400 light-years away from Earth. The nebula may have formed through hierarchical collapse.

Equipment and processing

Telescope: Orion 8 inch F5

Mount: Orion Atlas

Camera: ST 8300M

Filters: Baader Ha,SII,OIII 7nm

Guiding: PHD

Processing: PixInsight

Capture software: Maxim

Exposures: Ha: bin1 27x600 OIII: bin2 22x600 SII: bin2 8x600

Location: Parsippany,NJ