NGC 6946 - The Fireworks Galaxy

Submitted by jimwcoleman

NGC 6946 (also tentatively known as the Fireworks Galaxy) is an intermediate spiral galaxy about 22 million light-years away,[3] in the constellations of Cepheus and Cygnus. It was discovered by William Herschel on 9 September 1798. NGC 6946 is highly obscured by interstellar matter of the Milky Way galaxy, as it is quite close to the galactic plane. It's apparent magnitude is -9.6 making it a faint object, but not out of reach of mid- to large-aperture scopes.

Messier 27 - The Dumbbell Nebula

Submitted by jimwcoleman

Always a favorite target, the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) is climbing high into the northeastern sky after dark. The Dumbbell Nebula is a planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula, at a distance of about 1,360 light-years. This object was the first planetary nebula to be discovered; by Charles Messier in 1764. The nebula is 1,360 light years from Earth.

Image was acquired with an 8" Meade LX200 with a Canon 60D at prime focus (ISO 1600, 13x60sec subs). Stacked with Maxim DSLR.

Comet C/2015 01 PANSTARRS - Magnitude 14.87

Submitted by jimwcoleman

It never ceases to amaze me that I can walk out into my backyard and within five minutes, start taking a picture of a faint something that is more than half a BILLION kilometers away from me and is moving at 37.3 kilometers per second. This faint, fuzzy thing is comet C/2015 01 PANSTARRS. At its current magnitude, 14.87, it is about as faint at Pluto, but even more difficult to image. The comet is currently in the constellation Hercules, high overhead at sunset this time of year.

Getting ready for the August eclipse!

Submitted by jimwcoleman

It's time to start honing your skills and preparing your equipment for the August, 2017 total solar eclipse. Even though it won't be TOTAL where I live (Seattle area), a significant portion of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon. Here is a trial run I did today. Not a lot of sunspot activity, but I did see one. :) 

I am using the Thousand Oaks solar filter that arrived in the mail last week. Not a problem with it - highly recommended... And they are in Kingman, Arizona! Another plus for them, with me being an Arizona native. :)

M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy

Submitted by jimwcoleman

Here is a quick shot of M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy. This is easy - you can do it, too...

This photo was taken using the smallest scope in my collection, the AT72ED AstroTech refractor. I love this little scope. Yes, it's little. But it's just perfect for this type of photographic adventure.

This is a stack of 19 x 1 min subs, ISO 1600, Canon 60D, AstroTech AT72ED. Stacked with MaximDL.

I'm sure I could do a lot better if I did this in the morning after sleep ... but you know how it goes ... :)