Large Magellanic Cloud

The Large Magellanic Cloud is a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way located around 160,000 light-years from Earth. It is the 4th largest in the Local Group following the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the Milky Way and the Triangulum Galaxy (M33).

The light blue area in the upper left central part of the image is the Tarantula Nebula which is the most active star-forming region in the Local Group.

Imaged from New Zealand in December 2017 with a Nikon D750, 180mm f2.8 Nikon lens on a Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer tracking mount. 7 x 50s exposures at ISO 3200, processed using Lightroom, Nebulosity, Photomatix Pro 5, Photoshop with NC's Astronomy Tools, AstroFlat Pro and Raya Pro 3.0
Just testing to see if I can upload images after my Computer was 'Serviced'


M78 is a diffuse refection nebula, the brightest of a group of nebulae belonging to the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex some 1,600 lyrs.from Earth.
Usual kit,Trius 694 and Takahashi 106 combination was used but with a UV filter, 18x300s exposure, 6x300s each for RGB filters binned 2x2.Acquisition and processing were with Nebulosity, AstroArt and PhotoShop.


IC410 is a dusty emission nebula located in the constellation of Auriga about 12,000 lyrs. from Hatfield.
The tadpoles are areas of denser and cooler gas and dust shaped by stellar wind.The image taken on 17.11.07 combines 12x600sHa 10x600sO111 and 12x600s S11 assigned to G,B and R channels.
Equipment was a SXTrius 694 on a Takahashi FSQ 106, software Nebulosity AstroArt and PhotoShop

Moroccan Milky Way

The centre of the Milky Way, taken close to Ait Benhaddou, Morocco, in March 2017, using a Nikon D750 and Samyang 24mm F/1.4 prime lens, on a tripod.
The sky is a stack of 3, 20sec frames at full aperture, ISO1600. For the foreground it was set at f/4 and ISO400, for 30sec each. Stacking and general processing was done in Photoshop and Lightroom. It was a race to get it all done before the Moon, already to be seen at lower left on the clouds, really got in the way. The central horizon glow is light pollution from the nearby town, 20 miles away.

The Great American Solar Eclipse

Taken on 21.8.17 from a hill in Idaho USA, on 21.8.17, using a Canon 500D DSLR with a Canon 200mm F2.8 telephoto lens on a fixed tripod. For High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography I used 3 bracketed exposures of 1/128, 1/32, 1/8 sec.  at F4.  ISO 200 and the RAW images were combined in Photomatix Pro 6 software – Fusion/Natural. The detailed structure of the corona was enhanced with Topaz Clarity then ProDigital AstroFlat Pro Plugin followed by Topaz DeNoise6.


Occultation by Triton

On 5th October 2017 it was predicted that Triton, a satellite of Neptune, would pass in front of a 12th magnitude star as seen from a swathe of the Earth which included the UK.  This is a very rare event and one difficult to observe.  However the combined brightness of the two objects was predicted to fall 1.4 magnitudes, which is a factor of about six, so, if I could resolve the pair from Neptune, I thought I might be able to observe it.
On the right is an animation created from 48 individual pictures taken at 33 second intervals across the time predicted for the occultation. The brighter object is Neptune, the fainter one is an unresolved image of Triton and the star.  The animation runs for about 6 seconds, pauses for 5 seconds and repeats.  The occultation can be seen about half way through the animation.  I measured the brightness (in arbitrary units) of the fainter object in each image and plotted this against the time of the picture.  This is presented in the second picture.
From the data in the graph I was able to measure the time of the centre of the occultation as 23:49:14 UT and the length of the occultation as 132 seconds.  These figures correspond quite well with the predicted values.
At the time Neptune was 4,400 million kilometres away so the accuracy of the known positions of Earth, Triton, and the star must be amazing for such a prediction to be made.

A more detailed discussion of this event is on my web site.

Melotte 15

Melotte 15 is an open cluster at the core of IC1805 otherwise known as the Heart Nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia.I think the subject lends itself to narrowband imaging in particular to the use of the Hubble palette.Conditions allowed 12x600s Ha 6x600s O111 but only 3x600s S11, assigned to green,blue and red channels.The scope, a Takahashi 106 refractor,camera Trius SX 694 with filter wheel and Lodestar off axis guider.
Software used was Nebulosity for aquisition,AstroArt for calibration and stacking and PhotoShop for further processing.

Solar Eclipse - 21.8.17

This is a couple of my photographs taken on 21/08/2017 from S. Menan Butte, Rexburgh, Idaho, USA, with a Canon 600D DSLR and a Canon 200mm. F 2.8 lens at F4. ISO 200, on a tripod. 

   The first, at Totality, was a combination of three shots of 1/8, 1/30 and 1/125s.

The second, at second contact, was a combination of two shots of 1/125s taken as the diamond ring was just disappearing and 1/30s a few seconds later. 
They were both processed in Photoshop Lightroom and Elements.

The sky at 5200 feet was completely clear and the moon’s shadow approaching at 1870 mph was an amazing sight. The temperature drop was very noticeable and the whole eclipse was a spectacular event, not to be missed.

This is M14, a rarely seen Ophiuchus globular but I like it for its isolation, it stands out in a wide field of stars. It is a repeat of some old work, taken on the 23rd of June 2009 with the William 98 we had then, with my SXM25C. The exposure was 5 x 240sec, added in Astroart, calibrated with flats, and processed in Photoshop.