M42 Orion Nebula
Taken through the Easy Guider and tracked for a 30 seconds exposure. No filters used.
To capture this colourful nebula I took my telescope to a dark sky site so as to reduce the problems of light pollution. This was a 30 second tracked exposure using Kodak 400 ISO colour film.
This Diffuse Nebula is a naked eye object at a distance of 1,500 light years and contains a 'stellar nursery' where new stars are being formed.
In order to capture the faint blue nebulosity around the main stars this was a 13 minute guided exposure. Again Photoshop enhancement was used because in the original photograph the background sky is a dirty orange colour washing out most of the detail.
This Reflection Nebula is a naked eye object and is at a distance of only 407 light years.
NGC 869 & 884, The Perseus Double Cluster
A 3 minute guided exposure taken in colour. Using Kodak gold 400 tends to give the stars a greenish cast so I worked up the image in green in Photoshop to bring out as much detail as possible. I then converted the image to greyscale and adjusted the brightness and contrast.
These double star clusters, at a distance of 6,200 light years, can be seen with the naked eye.
M31 Andromeda Spiral Galaxy
A 3 minute guided exposure and worked up on Photoshop as above. A challenge to enlarge as on the photograph the galaxy is only 3 millimetres across. Plus of course the ever present problem of light pollution. The central hub of the galaxy is very overexposed in order that the faint detail of the spiral arms can just be seen. In reality, the spiral arms would extend to the top and bottom of this photograph, and cover an area six times that of the full moon. The oval object at the 2 o'clock position is the companion galaxy M32.
M31 is a naked eye object. It is our nearest spiral galaxy neighbour at 2.2 million light years, and the most distant object visible to the naked eye. This is how it looked 2.2 million years ago.
You can locate all the above objects in Star chart
For current star charts for your area visit heavens-above.com
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