Popular Astronomy

December 2014

This has been a productive month for the Section with 6 members contributing a total of 6 drawings and 37 images.

Michael Kinns made drawings of two open clusters in the constellation of Andromeda, NGC7686 (below left) and NGC956

(below right).  Mark  used a 200mm f6 Newtonian telescope at 100x and 67x respectively.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          


  Mark Beveridge sent in a total of 22 images.  Mark had 6 imaging sessions during the month, using either an 80mm f7.5 Skywatcher telescope or a 100mm f9 Skywatcher, a SXR-H814 mono camera and RGB filters.

Below left is NGC7380, an open cluster with nebulosity in Cepheus, known as the Wizard nebula.  Below right is NGC6888, the Crescent nebula, which is in Cygnus.  The central Wolf - Rayet  star is energising material thrown off when it was in the red giant stage, a few hundred thousand years ago.                                                                                                                                             




Also in Cygnus, below left is the Cocoon nebula, IC5146, a cluster of magnitude 9.5 stars with emission and reflection nebulosity; the dark nebula Barnard 168 is adjacent and can be seen as a dark band above and to the left of the emission nebula .  On the right is the well - known Ring nebula, M57, a planetary nebula in Lyra.                            


Here on the left is NGC7822, an emision nebula in Cepheus, associated with a cluster of young, hot, stars - one of which is 100,000 times as luminous as our sun.  On the right is NGC281, also a HII region of emission nebulosity, in Cassiopeia.  This is popularly known as the Pacman nebula, and has the open cluster IC1590 at its centre.  It also contains several Bok globules, indicative of new star formation.



Mark imaged NGC7023, the Iris nebula, a reflection nebula in Cepheus (below left).  Technically NGC7023 is the open cluster within the nebula LBN487, which is being lit up by magnitude 7 star SAO19158.  On the right is the so - called Fireworks galaxy NGC6946 which lies on the Cepheus - Cygnus boundary.  It is about 22.5 light years from the Earth, and over a period of sixty years or so nine supernovae have occured within it - hence the common name.


NGC7538, below left, is an emission nebula in Cepheus.  It contains an enormous protostar, believed to be about 300 times the size of our solar system.  Next to it is the edge on galaxy NGC891, about 30 million light years from Earth in Andromeda.


The next two images are of M27, the Dumbbell planetary nebula in Vulpecula, left;  and M33, the spiral galaxy in Triangulum, right.


Here on the left we have the Owl planetary nebula M97 and on the right the Pinwheel galaxy, M101, both in Ursa Major.  The Owl is about 8000 years old and is just under a light year across.  M101 is about 21 light years from Earth. These images with the 100mm Skywatcher.


Moving into Cassiopeia, Mark imaged NGC281, the Pacman nebula once more; this time with the 100mm telescope.  On the right is NGC896, an emission nebula known as the Heart nebula.  At its centre, the open cluster Melotte 15 contains a few massive stars whose fierce radiation drives the nebula's intense red HII glow. Mark was unable to obtain RGB data on this occasion, but it a good luminance image in its own right.



Mark's next image is the Iris nebula NGC7023, described abive, this time with the 100mm telescope.  To the right is Bode's galaxy, M81, in Ursa Major.



On the left, below, is M82, a starburst galaxy in Ursa Major, activity thought to have been instigated by its interaction with M81, above right.  A type 1a supernova occured in thia galaxy on 21st January last year.  On the right is another galaxy, M106, to be found in Canes Venatici.  This galaxy is thought have an active supermassive black hole at its centre.  To the right of M106 can be seen a more distant, magnitude 12.5 galaxy, NGC4248.



Mark conluded this month's imaging with two galaxies, NGC2403 in Camelopardalis (left), 8 million light years distant, and NGC4236 in Draco (right),  11.7 million light years away:  both are members of the M81 group of galaxies.


Mike Wood made four drawings of Deep Sky objects this month;  on the left below is NGC896, also known as LC1805 and as the Heart nebula (NGC896 is the very bright central part of this emission nebula).  Below right is the Soul nebula, located close the the Heart nebula in Cassiopeia, both part of the Perseus arm of the Galaxy.


Mike's final two drawings are a wide field view of the Heart nebula, left, and a composite sketch of the Sword Handle in Perseus, NGC869 and NGC884, which he made by combining three separate sketches. Mike was using a Mewlon 180mm telescope.




  Graham Taylor used the Bradford Remote Telescope on the island of Teneriffe to take this image of NGC253, the Siver Coin galaxy in Sculptor.  The telescope is a Celestron C14 working at f5.3, with a FLI microline 1k x 1k pixel camera.

Solar Section Director Geoff Elston sent in three images;   M42, the Orion nebula, (80mm refractor) M27 the dumbbell planetary nebula in Vulpecula, and M33 the Tringulum galaxy (both with a 254mm SCT).  Geoff used an unmodified DSLR.


Steve Norrie sent in eleven images, taken over three nights in December.  Steve has an astro - modified Canon 600D DSLR which is attached to a Skywatcher EDR80 telescope.

Below left is IC434, in Orion.  The Horse Head is a dark nebula situated in front of the bright emission nebula IC434.  The Flame nebula, NGC2024, an emission nebula energised by the nearby Eastern most belt star Alnitak, can also be seen in this wide angle image.  On the right is the Andromeda galaxy, M31, the nearest spiral galaxy to us.


The next three images are of NGC7000, the North America nebula in Cygnus, (left),  M101, the Pinwheel galaxy in Ursa Major (top right) and M33, the spiral galaxy in Triangulum (below right):                                                                                                                                                                                       



Below left is the face - on spiral galaxy M74, in Pisces, and on the right is emission nebula NGC2237, the Rosette nebula, in Monoceros; the open cluster at its centre is NGC2244.  This star forming nebula is about 5,200 light years from us and is about 130 light years across.                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The next pair of images are of M81 and M82 in Ursa Major (below left) and IC5070, the Pelican nebula, in Cygnus.  The Pelican nebula is divided from the North America nebula by a dark lane of molecular gas and dust. 


Steve's final pair of images are of M76, the Little Dumbbell Planetary nebula in Perseus, (below left).  This is one of the faintest Messier objects at megnitude 10.1, and is about 2,500 light years from us.  Below right is M103, an open cluster in Cassiopeia.  M103 is about 25 million years old, and happens to be one of the most distant known from the Earth at about 9000 light years.                





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