December 2017

This month, four section members produced fourteen images of deep sky objects in total.

David Davies of Cambridge used an 8″ Richey Chretien telescope and a QSI 583 mono camera plus red green and blue filters to produce this image of open cluster NGC 457, which lies in the constellation of Cassiopeia.

Also known as the Owl cluster or ET cluster;  5 phi-1 and 7 phi-2 Cass can be supposed as a pair of eyes!  There about 150 magnitude 12 to 15 stars present, around 21 million years old and 8,000 light years from the Earth.

NGC 457


Alan Clitherow, SPA planetary section director, sent in three images.

NGC 1499 is an emission nebula in the constellation of Perseus known as the California nebula.

NGC 1499

IC 405, also known as Caldwell 31 and the Flaming Star nebula, is an emission/reflection nebula in Auriga surrounding AE Aurigae, an irregular variable.

IC 405

Alan’s third image is of the Pleiades, M45, the naked – eye open cluster in Taurus.  Alan used a Williams Optics 71mm  refractor plus a Canon 600D astro modified DSLR for NGC 1499 and a QHY 100SC camera for the other two images.



Steve Norrie of Fife sent in six images:  five emission nebulae and one galaxy.  The emission nebulae are:  Caldwell 9, or Sh2-155 in the constellation of  Cepheus,  NGC 281, also known as the Pacman nebula in Cassiopeia, NGC 7000, the North America nebula to be found in Cygnus,  NGC 2244 aka the Rosette nebula in Monoceros and NGC 2359 aka Thor’s Helmet, which lies in Canis Major.

Caldwell 9
NGC 281
NGC 7000
NGC 2244
NGC 2359

At the centre of NGC 2359 is the hot pre-supernova Wolf-Reyet star WR7.  Its complex shape is thought to be ionised gas produced by WR7’s intense radiation interacting with a cloud of molecular gas in the vicinity of the star.

M33 is the Pinwheel spiral galaxy in Triangulum.


Steve employed an Explore Scientific 127mm f7.5 APO refractor and a Starlight Xpress 694 mono camera plus red, green, blue and narrow band filters.


Dave Eagle imaged four different kinds of deep sky object.

Dwarf lenticular galaxy NGC 404 in the constellation of Andromeda is rich in neutral hydrogen.  Some sources propose this galaxy was formed when a spiral galaxy merged with other, smaller galaxies in the distant past.  It is also known as “Mirach’s Ghost” since it is close enough to second magnitude beta Andromedae to make visual and photographic observation a little tricky.

NGC 404

M15 is the well-known globular cluster in Hercules, M1 the Crab nebula supernova remnant in Taurus and NGC 2174 is the Monkey Head emission nebula in Orion.

NGC 2174


Dave Finnigan