Comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd) - 23:00hrs, 27/08/2011

This is an image of Comet Garradd passing M71 in the constellation of Sagitta. Being in the middle of the MilkyWay, the backdrop of stars really enhances the shot. M71 is the 'loose' Globular cluster in the upper left corner of the image, while the star Zeta Sge lies in the bottom right.

Taken, from my back garden, with a Canon EOS550D on a Skywatcher 200P using a coma corrector (essential for star fields like this!) and light pollution filter. It's a stack of 18 30sec frames with darks and flats, processed with DeepSkyStacker and the Gimp.

Another good photo opportunity is coming up during the first few days of September when this comet passes Brocchi's cluster, better known as the Coathanger. Stay tuned!

The Moon - 23:00 BST 14/08/2011

It may be the sworn enemy of the deep sky astronomer (me), but the Moon still makes a nice photograph!
Taken with a Canon EOS550d and Skywatcher 200P, the exposure is 1/1000sec at ISO100.
Even with no enhancement it's possible to see the different colours in the Mare, indicating different compositions of basalt. The bright rays from the crater Tycho (lower centre) show up really well when the phase is near full.

M29 - Open Cluster in Cygnus

This is M29 (also NGC 6913) in the middle of Cygnus, a nice little Open Cluster with a good background of Milky Way stars. Taken on 14th August 2011, the image is a stack of 13 30sec exposures using a Canon EOS550d on a Skywatcher 200P, a coma corrector was also used. I didn't bother with a light pollution filter as there was an almost full Moon in the sky drowning out all other sky glow! It's my first image using my newly aquired Vixen GPDX mount which is a great improvement over my other EQ5 in terms of tracking and stability. Even though it was a slightly breezy night I only had to throw away 5 shots due to non-round stars and one of those was due to a pesky satellite. The images were processed using Canon Digital Photo Professional, Deep Sky Stacker and then finished off with the Gimp.