Observing log

Attempts for a comet with wide field

So the winter is a time to enjoy the skies when you can and get out the only problem is that in Ontario that can be a little cold ! But there is a strange comet in the sky so is it possible to image with a DSLR and a standard lens?

We’ll at 50mm in a Sigma 24-105 lens on a 6D i really think that the answer is no ! Image was taken on Jan 14th at 8pm it is a composite of 10 x 3 min images. It is very very faint but i know where it is.

Besides the comet i will be back to this area of the sky again as the dark neb in the top left is very interesting….. 

Winter observing

The winter in Canada really does being some amazing challenges for observing. So far in 2014 there have been zero opportunities where the weather has obliged either it is too cold or too snowy. Looking forward to warmer weather.

Long time no viewing


So it seems so long since I last added a post here. Well it’s been all work and no play, with travel on the same time as new moon – resulting in limited observing time

Voyage Down Under


Seems so long since I last posted — I think this reflects the lack of clear nights to be honest.

Early Feb i was away on business in Melbourne and just a little south at Lorne. Whilst there i managed to take my camera and tripod for a session of imaging. For this trip i also purchased a iOptron Skytracker which i will write about on another day. I found a nice dark spot which only had Antarctica south of me and started to Image.

Large Magellanic Cloud

Large Magellanic Cloud

The first things that comes to mind is that the skytracker requires a polar alignment which in the northern hemisphere is easy but int he South – Oh boy….. It took me about 2 hours to get to this point and ready to start snapping away. After a short while i noticed that the sky was amazingly dark. In the sky about 40 and 30 degrees of sea level were 2 fuzzy patches of light. It had been a little cloudy earlier and I though these were cloud. But when i pointed the camera at the “none moving” patches i was amazed.

The image of the LMC to the left is a combination of 5 x 5 min bus frames at ISO 800. The lens is set to about 200mm zoom. The first thing to say is that i was blown aways by the image and the combination of the sky tracker and also the clarity of the night sky.

After processing the image in PS I was able to enhance the red regions of the LMC a little and bring out the full glory of this object.

Besides this object i was also able to snap 2 other images whilst listening to the sea lap against the shore. I was intrigued by the small patch of light which i could make out dew south almost. The line of the milky way was really prominent in the sky and within this there was a clear patch of either nebulosity or a star cluster.

southerncrossThe view of the milky way itself was amazing. this was the first time i was able to see the Milky way to the ground. The image to the right shows the region of the milky way which was visible to me in the southern sky. The clarity in the dark lanes which are visible in the photo were easily seen with the naked eye as well as the bight nebulosity which is seen in the middle top of the image. I broke out the iphone and started to look up what the nebulous region was. Within this image is a wealth of stars and nebulae. Firstly it is farily easy to see the southern cross which is in the middle left of the image. Moving up from here we move into the eta Carnae region which its nebulae being see clearly at the top middle of the image and also a raft of other clusters which are illuminating the sky like clusters of diamonds.


et_02 After the view which was breath taking i aimed the camera which about 200mm Zoom again and started snapping the eta Carnae nebulae (EC Neb) more. the image to the left is a stacked series of 5 minute exposures which show the nebulosity in the region and also the beauty of the sky in this region. below the EC Neb. there is a smaller nebulae which is visible. In this image it is much clearer to see the EC Neb and also the southern Plaedies which are see on the middle right of the image. The cluster on the left of the EC Neb is called Caldwell 91 and is Mag 3.0 in the sky. The nebulae which is in the lower half of the image is probably associated with IC2948.


The images taken were only possible by the use of the skytracker and its great performance. This will dramatically increase the enjoyment again once the main scope is set up it will be out with the tracker….




This has turned out to be one of my favourite objects. Until recently i had not seen this visually, but the last time out i managed to see this object through a C11. Visually you can just make out the fuzzyness around the central star (V380 Ceph which is a variable star with an unknown period).

 the main nebulae is a reflection nebulae cause by the illumination of the dust by the central star. The dust and dark material is clearly seen in this image and adds a large amount of depth to the image.

Not so visible in this thumbnail but in the full image is the beauty of man powered flight which fly’s straight through the nebulae !!! attempts to identify the satellite which it is have failed…

The image is a stack of 10 10 minute images and processed in nebulosity.


Perseids 2012


So it’s that time of year again and as with other years enjoying the Perseids usually means that it is horrible weather. No difference this year!

The big difference is that I managed to find the eye of the storm to view through and it’s clear to about 40% here we go

Seen 1 so far at 10:13 but now there is a bank of cloud and rain which will be short lived

The Owl and Neighbours


After an extensive period of travel it was nice to get home. But the sky was too clear to stay there. In the end Myself and a friend ended up at Torrance for the first time this year. The sky above was inky black but the sky glow from Orillia and other towns int he area is seriously encroaching on the night sky.

After set up and the Mosquitoes had devoured my friend I decided i would image something which i real have never achieved a good image of namely the Owl nebulae and M108. After extensive framing i managed to get the objects in the same image and set the scope on its merry path for 8x 10 minute subframes.

The result was processed as always in Nebulosity, but no finishing was done in Photoshop.

I was amazed as i studied the image at just hw many galaxies are visible in this image. I found the following link which allow identification of many of the them, which almost look stellar in nature. SKYMAP.ORG

The take home message for me is that the more you look the more you see and that not all stars are stars they may just be galaxies…..




April and M91


April will have come and gone by the time I get back to Observing. Combined with a hectic work schedule and a busy life Astronomy seems to be taking a little bit of a back space just at the moment. However, I did manage to get out on Thursday 12th of April and spent an evening with the scope and camera shooting.


The target was M91 which is a barred spiral galaxy in Coma. This is part of the Virgo cluster. M91 is also the missing nebulae from Messiers catalog and was miss accounted when originally observed in 1781. It was again observed by Herschel and cataloged as NGC 4548 and later assigned M91 in 1969.

The above image is a combination of 5 x 20 minutes images taken with the sBIG and FLT110. The image was processed in Nebulosity initially then with PS.

Supernova in M95 (SN 2012 AW)


So after a long trip away I was hopeful that I could make it out for one night with the scope. Whilst I was travelling i heard about  a Supernova in M95 which would make a great target for the evening.

First detected on March 16th in M95 in the constellation of Leo. It has grown in brightness and is designated SN2012AW. Currently the Magnitude of the object is about 13.1 and has possibly peaked at this magnitude. The exact coordinates of the object are Coordinates (2000.0): R.A. = 10 43 53.76, Decl. = +11 40 17.9. At this magnitude it is very likely that the SN is visible with binoculars.

The image is a stack of 2 images of 10min and with the moon illumination at 50% (and slight cloud). the SN is marked by the 2 white lines Unfortunately I would have taken more images but the cloud moved in after 20 mins of startup .

Aurora and Cloud


After a weekend where the sun was absolutely alive it is finally starting to die down. However, the main question is did i get to see any of it….

The answer is NO. All I managed to see was the moon on Saturday and Cloud on Sunday and Monday……. It reach KP7 on Friday/Saturday and also KP7 on Monday night

Oh well maybe next time.

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