Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Al Ernst Imaged The Tough Sh2-53 Nebula In The Scutum Constellation

 Al Says, "We don't see Sh2-53 imaged very often from around here (the New Jersey area) but I thought I'd give it a try". 

I didn't recognize the image or the designation number so I looked it up. Sharpless 53 is not a bright nebula but it can be imaged with smaller scopes than Al's, although they will need significantly more exposure times. Also, there are also a few nearby Sharpless nebulae that aren't shown in his field of view but can be seen in a wider field scope.

An impressive "try", I'd add ~ nice job!

He used his C-14 scope, a QSI-583 camera, for 8x5 minutes through a narrowband Ha filter.  He then calibrated in Nebulosity and processed in Photoshop.

Thanks for bringing this to us.

Monday, August 16, 2021

A Huge Sunspot Group Was Recently Imaged As The Sun Swings Further Into the New Cycle 25

 I've been impatiently waiting a l-o-o-ong time for large sunspots to finally reappear since the last solar minimum. As the new 25th Cycle began in September 2020, the long trek to solar maximum has been producing very little activity on the surface. Solar Maximum is expected to be between 2023 through 2026, so hopefully, the Sun will decide to end this last, seemingly extra-long minimum period.

For more than a year, I've been checking my Solar App frequently and I was finally greeted with a huge sunspot group on June 30th, 2021 at 10:05 in the morning. Having been disappointed for so long, I immediately pulled out my Explore Scientific 102mm apo-refractor and put in my Herschel Wedge. I was amazed at the sight ~ the view was almost perfect! For the first time (since probably forever), the New Jersey sky was stable and steady - not causing my image to bounce all over the place as I tried to get images saved to my hard drive.

I was pleasantly surprised at the quality, the majority of thanks go in large part to Mother Nature.

Keith Marley

Solar Image Wide

                                                                        Solar Image Enlarged

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

After A Slow May, M1 Starts June Off With A Winner


Al Ernst was working during January and March's occasional cool, clear nights using his Celestron 14 inch at f8 to get this great shot of M1... the famous Crab Nebula. The Crab Nebula's supernova was first seen and recorded in China in 1054 CE. Since that time, it has grown, spreading out through space to an average diameter of about 11 light-years across. That would make it more than twice the distance from the Sun to our nearest Star system, Alph Centauri!  

He captured its details by accumulating a total of 7Ha and 7Oiii filtered subs, with each sub being 5 minutes long. He used a QSI-583 camera, which was cooled to -30°C below ambient, and processed the image using Nebulosity and Photoshop.

Nice work, as usual, AL. Thanks for sharing.


Monday, April 12, 2021

The Edge-On View Of Galaxy NGC 891

 Recently, Al Ernst was kind enough to send me his work on the "Silver Sliver Galaxy", a.k.a. NGC 891. It's an unbarred spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years from Earth with a diameter of about 60,000 light-years.  Compared to our closest galactic neighbor, the "Andromeda Galaxy" which is about 2.5 million light-years away and about 220,000 light-years in diameter, the Silver Sliver is much harder to see from his back yard observatory.

NGC 891's apparent magnitude is +10.8 is best seen through a medium-sized amateur telescope of about 8" in diameter or more, making Al's Celestron C14 main telescope ideal for working out its details as seen in his photo below. The dark dust lane surrounding the galaxy's disk is easily seen.

The image was recorded earlier this winter from his home observatory in Bridgewater, NJ using his C14 f8 and QSI 583 Camera with Green, Blue, and Ha filters on 5 and 10-minute subs and processed in Nebulosity and Photoshop. Thanks Al.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The Dumbell Nebula M27 In All It's Glory; As Seen Through Clear New Jersey Skies


This image of the planetary nebula M27 (a.k.a. the Dumbell Nebula) taken by Ron Gattie,is about 1360 light years from Earth and at apparent magnitude +7.5 isn't quite bright enough to see by eye ~ even in the darkest skies. 

But the C14 scope at St. Joseph High School shows not problem getting these rich colors even in a Bortle 6 sky. At that distance, the Dumbell appears to be 3 light-years in diameter, or just a light-year short of the distance between Earth and our nearest star Proxima Centauri.

Nice shot Ron.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Al Ernst's image of NGC 1491, located in Perseus

NGC-1491 is a faint emission nebula approximately 11,000 ly from Earth. This image was taken in late November from Al's Bridgewater, NJ observatory, using a C-14/f7.7 telescope, a QSI-583 camera and narrowband Ha and Oiii filters, with one hour of 5-minute subs in each band.  Processing was in Nebulosity and Photoshop.

Thanks for the submission Al,


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Al Ernst is getting great results during the winter's cold, clear sky

I love the faint tendrils visible in this great shot of the Horsehead Nebula taken in Al's backyard using a QSI-583 camera, C-14 scope. It consists of twelve five minute subs through each of Oiii and Ha filters,   



Thursday, January 7, 2021

 I haven't heard from anyone lately so I'll just add a few of my Moon shots that I took before Christmas.  I was rushing to set up the scope in my driveway by the road to get the Jupiter / Saturn Conjunction as the clouds were coming in fast. Low in the sky by the western horizon where the event was taking place was a small hole in the clouds that lasted about 15 minutes. But just as I got it centered in my scope, a few neighbor families and their kids came to see what I was doing. For the next ten minutes I showed everyone the conjunction, to "Wow! I can see Saturn's ring and Jupiter's moons too".

Then it disappeared!

The clouds covered most of the sky, but I spent about fifteen minutes getting these shots of the moon before it too disappeared for the night. Since then only one or two nights were cloudless, with another night that was clear but with a lot of haze.


Friday, December 11, 2020

Al Ernst and Ron Gattie Combined Talents in Capturing The Saturn Nebula

This image of the Saturn Nebula was taken by friends and amateur astroimagers Al and Ron, using two C-14's. One scope is located at the St Joseph High School's observatory, where Ron used a Canon 50D to take 10x30 second subs, then Al combined them with 20 Oiii and Ha subs with his QSI583 that he took from his home observatory about ten miles apart. This shows what amateurs can achieve, even within the confines of a Bortle 6 sky.... using good equipment,skill and practice.

Thank Al and Ron


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Prepping for the rare conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

I took this shot of Jupiter and Saturn on 10 Dec 2020 to prepare for the conjunction at my imaging site at a local town park. Mount set and marked.... cameras loaded and ready... astronomy equipment set aside... Township Parks and Recreation officials notified and attending...  local astrophotographers confirmed... batteries charged... Laptop set to go...!

This part of Hillsborough Township in central New Jersey is out in the country about five to ten miles from any small villages and boasts a wonderful  Bortle 4 to 5 sky! 

Here in this shot, the two planets are moving closer each night and hopefully, I will have everything set up and ready to go before the sun sets on the 21st. Otherwise, I may need to wait for the next time that these two planets will be this extremely close together again! 

Praying ~ No Clouds, No Clouds... NO CLOUDS!!!