May 2016

Two section members overcame the difficulties of bad weather conditions and ever shorter nights to produce the 10 images reproduced below.

Ian Papworth, SPA membership secretary, sent in 9 of the 10 received;  the first four are M97, the Owl planetary nebula in the constellation of Ursa Major;   M65, a spiral galaxy in Leo;  M57, the Ring planetary nebula in Lyra (Ian imaged this object twice) and M5, a globular cluster in Serpens.

The Owl is thought to be around 8000 years old, and is about 2000 light years from the Earth.  One of the famous Leo trio of galaxies, M65 has a slightly deformed disk:  this and a “recent” bout of new star production is indicative of an interaction with a neighbouring galaxy.  M57 is about 2300 light years from us, but at under 2000  years old is less than a quarter the age of M97.  At magnutude 5.7 M5 is an easy binocular target, lying close to 5 Serpentis.




The next four images are M82, the Cigar starburst galaxy in Ursa Major;  globular cluster M10, which lies in the constellation of Ophiuchus;  globular cluster M92 in Hercules and M63, the Sunflower galaxy in Canes Venatici.  Ian uses a Celestron Nexstar  6SE f6.3 SCT and a ZWO ASI MM camera plus RG and B filters.




Steve Norrie sent in the image below.  It is instantly recognisable as M51, the Whirlpool galaxy in Canes Venatici.  There in fact two galaxies in the image;  M51 a and M51 b (or NGC 5194 and NGC 5195) and they are an interacting pair.  The larger M51 a has an active nucleus, and is a Seyfert type 2 galaxy.  Steve used an Atik 490EX camera, and an ES127 apochromatic refractor to capture this image.



Dave Finnigan