M103 in Cassiopeia

Tricked by the Cloud God again into seeing it clear at home. A rotten night at the observatory, full of very dense haze/thin cloud, but you have to go out when there's a sign of it being clear. Well, I do.
This is a brightish Open Cluster that I've not photographed before and in such bad skies nebulae aren't really on, so clusters it had to be.
Taken with a WO98FLT and M25C camera on the 900GTO mount. Guiding was poor but not really needed at 120sec frames, 13 of them. Actually 20 were taken, but many were just too hazed to use.
The bright blue star lower right is Ruchbar in the W of Cass and the little cluster at the top edge is Trumpler 1. On the left there's what seems to be an empty patch, though stars can be seen there, a dark nebula? There's another on the right too.
Acquired in AstroArt and stacked and coloured there, final processing in Photoshop, without any sharpening. Uncropped except for stacking edges.

NGC7331 - In Pegasus

Not the best image I've ever taken, it was an attempt to try and capture Stephan's Quintet in the constellation of Pegasus. I didn't have a detailed enough star map to nail down the galaxy group with any precision, as there are no bright stars in the vicinity, so I had to centre the image on NGC7331 which is nearby and visible at the eyepiece. I have no Go-To trickery on the mount to help me in these situations but I enjoy the challenge of star-hopping anyway. If you look closely and use a bit of imagination you can see a few fuzzy patches where the quintet should be, about a third of the way along the top of the image from the right. There are also a few galaxies just below NGC7331 but I haven't identified them yet. This seems an interesting part of the sky but not one I'll rush back to as I don't have the equipment to do it justice yet! Processing has also exposed some large ring shaped gradient variations in the background, something I'll have to investigate further....
Taken with my usual equipment on 18th August 2010. Only 8 images stacked.

M71 - 18/08/2010

This is an image I took of M71, which is a loose globular cluster at a distance of around 13,000 light years in the constellation of Sagitta. Not a particularly fine example of a globular cluster but, lying in the middle of the Milky Way, it has a very rich backdrop of stars. It's a stack of 8 30second exposures with flats and darks, processed using GIMP. I would have stacked more frames but a slow moving faint satellite, which I only spotted later, ran straight across the shot over the period of about 8 frames!

Albireo - Beta Cygni

This blog seemed to be lacking in Double Stars, so what better place to start than Albireo, Beta Cygni, said to be the most beautiful double in the whole night sky. Albireo, at a distance of 380 light-years, can be found at the bottom of the 'Northern Cross' and is easily split with any telescope. The most striking thing about this double is the difference in colours, one gold and one blue, seperated by 35 arc seconds. It is still uncertain as to whether this is a true binary star, if it is then the orbital period has been estimated at around 100,000 years! The gold star is itself a double star, potentially making this a triple system.
The image, taken on 4th August, is a stack of 9 30second frames with darks and flats, processed (very lightly) using the GIMP. Skywatcher 8" Newtonian, Coma corrector and Canon EOS550d.

M27 - The Dumbbell Nebula

I took this image on the 4th August 2010, on a night of very good seeing conditions. It's a stack of 28 30sec. frames with darks and flats. Comparing this image to Brian's further down this blog shows how DSLRs (unmodified) are not as sensitive in the red region due to the filters in front of the sensor.
The Milky Way was clearly visible running through Cygnus and across to Cassiopeia, a rare sight from just South of Pontefract! I also saw two bright Meteors which could have been early Perseids since they both seemed to radiate from the direction of Perseus. The evening was capped off with a first look at Jupiter this season, despite being very low in the sky several cloud belts were easily visible, the SEB was still missing though.

Jupiter - 100729

This promises to be a good season for Jupiter, arching higher in the sky than the previous two.
Taken from Austerfield with an old Toucam 740 in a Vixen 260 at 3000mm EFL. Some 2000 frames were stacked in Registax and fiddled with there and in Photoshop.
The Southern Equatorial Belt continues to be absent and looks almost as though it has been "painted over". The black spot is the shadow of Ganymede.