February 2018

Four section members sent in thirty-three images of deep sky objects during February.

Mark Beveridge sent in twenty-five of these;  in the constellation of Orion Mark captured emission nebula NGC 2174 and two reflection nebulae:  NGC 1977, the Running Man nebula, and M78 aka NGC 2068.

NGC 2174
NGC 1977
NGC 2068

In Ursa Major, Mark imaged galaxies NGC 2805, M101 the Pinwheel galaxy, NGC 3198, NGC 3359 and IC 2574.

NGC 2805
NGC 3198
NGC 3359
IC 2574

IC 2574 is also known as Coddington’s nebula, after American astronomer Edwin Coddington who discovered it in 1898.  It is a dwarf galaxy, about 50,000 light years across, which belongs to the M81 group of galaxies around 12 million light years from the Earth.  This galaxy has numerous regions of new star formation;  a bright cluster of emission nebulae are visible in this image.

The next two deep sky objects are in Gemini;  Abell 21, the Medusa planetary nebula and IC 443, the Jellyfish supernova remnant.

Abell 21
IC 443

Mark imaged two galaxies in Cetus;  M77, a barred spiral with an active galactic nucleus and NGC 1055, an edge-on spiral galaxy gravitationally  associated with M77.

NGC 1055

In the constellation of Coma Berenices, Mark imaged spiral galaxy M99 and galaxy pairing NGC 4302 and 4298.

NGC 4302 (L) and NGC 4298 (R)

The next two images are of emission nebulae in Monoceros:  NGC 2238, the Rosette nebula, and NGC 2264, the Cone nebula/Christmas Tree open cluster.

NGC 2238
NGC 2264

In Camelopardalis Mark imaged spiral galaxies NGC 1961 and NGC 1560.

NGC 1961
NGC 1560

Here are two images of planetary nebula NGC 40 in Cepheus, known as the Bow Tie nebula;  a wide-angle view and a cropped close-up.

NGC 40
NGC 40

Mark’s next three images are planetary nebula NGC 1514 (aka the Crystal ball nebula) in Taurus;  NGC 772, a large (200,000 light year across) spiral galaxy in Aries and emission nebula NGC 1491 in Perseus.

NGC 1514
NGC 772
NGC 1491

The final two images are barred spiral galaxy NGC 2903 in Leo, and emission nebula IC 417, aka the Spider, in Auriga.

NGC 2903
IC 417

Mark used a 200mm Edge HD f10.4 SCT for most of these images, a 100mm f9 Skywatcher refractor for the remainder.  A Starlight Xpress SXR-H814 camera and red, blue and green filters was employed throughout.

Paul Brierley used a DSLR camera and a Tamron AF70-300 f4.5 zoom lens to image M35, an open cluster of stars in the constellation of Gemini.


At apparent magnitude 5.3, M35 is visible to the naked eye under dark skies and is a fine sight in 10 x 50 binoculars, which will reveal a host of 8th and 9th magnitude stars.  Seemingly about the diameter of the full moon, M35 is about 24 light years across and 2,800 light years from the Earth.

Alan Clitherow, SPA planetary section director, used a Williams optics 71mm refractor and a cooled, astro-modified DSLR plus HII filter to image Sharpless 2-240, also known as Simeis 147 and the Spaghetti nebula.  This is a supernova remnant which lies across the border between the constellations of Taurus and Auriga.  It was discovered relatively recently in 1952 at the Crimean astrophysical observatory, using a 25 inch SCT.  With a angular diameter of three degrees, its integrated magnitude of 6.5 belies how difficult this object is to observe:  it has a very low surface brightness indeed.

Alan used the HII data to produce a false colour and a monochrome version.

Sh 2-240
Sh 2-240


Steve Norrie used an ES 127mm APO refractor and Starlight Xpress Trius 694 mono camera plus narrow band and RGB filters to capture images of three galaxies, a planetary nebula and an emission nebula.

In the constellation of Ursa Major are the Pinwheel galaxy (see above) and M97, the Owl planetary nebula.


Steve also imaged M51, the face-on Whirlpool galaxy in Canes Venatici;  NGC 2175, an emission nebula/open cluster in Orion known as the Monkey Head nebula and spiral galaxy NGC 2403 (aka Caldwell 7) in Camelopardalis.

NGC 2175
NGC 2403

NGC 2403 is a member of the M81 group of galaxies and bears a resemblance to M33;  it has many HII regions of new star formation.  Estimates of distance place this galaxy at 8-10 million light years from the Earth.


Dave Finnigan