Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Astro Images

If you look back through my blog archives, you'll notice that in the month of July each year, we seem to get a clear dark night or two and I am able to do some astrophotography. This year was no exception. I went out to a "secret spot" near Sorobon back on July 26 and spent a number of hours enjoying very clear skies and some nice meteors too.
The view above is always referred to as the area around Rho Ophiuchus. But the bright yellow star at the bottom middle is Antares, the heart of the scorpion, and that's how I locate it. This is pretty much the full frame from a 85mm lens.

The two bright stars in the lower middle of the frame form the stinger of the scorpion. They point towards the upper left to open cluster M7. It is almost swallowed up by the star clouds in this shot but M7 is easy to spot in binoculars and can be detected with the naked eye.

To the upper right of M7 is open cluster M6, which is easy to spot in a nice dark patch of sky. The darkness is the result of foreground dust obscuring the milky way stars. An image made using infra-red light would see right through the dust and show the stuff behind it. Cool.

The two red areas to the right of the stinger are emisson nebulae. The lower one is ngc 6334 the cat's paw nebula, and the upper one is probably ncg 6357. I have not been able to spot these ngc objects with the 10x50 binoculars. This is also almost the full frame with an 85mm lens.

The above image is a combination of three frames shot with the 85mm lens, so you are looking at a much larger swath of sky than is seen in the first two photos. Part of the spout of the Sagitarius teapot is at the lower right corner. There are lots of star clusters and nebulae visible in this shot. I may make a poster sized print of this one someday because there are lot of pixels to work with in the original file. (7317x4774)

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