Observations of Deep-Sky Objects
These are the observations made by amateur astronomers from around the globe. I'm keen to present the work of an observer (members or not) to further the aims of the Webb Deep-Sky Society. Images, sketches or even your observing notes are of interest.
If you have any observations of your own that you'd like to submit I'd be delighted to hear from you. Please try to include as much detail about the object (after all that's why we observe them) as possible. Time, date, location and observing conditions are useful.
We have observations of these Objects
Which fall into these classes
And these Constellations
Or if you'd just like to browse through our most recent observations
NGC 6058 in Hercules
Sadly no new observations from me of late as my telescope software has malfunctioned and I can't find a remedy!
However I do have a sketch that matches up with one of this months challenges 😀 It's NGC 6058 in Hercules observed with 14" Newtonian in June 2008, and sketched using a Watec video camera.
Dale Holt - (19 May 2021).
The Siamese Twins NGC 4567 and NGC 4568 in Virgo
At the beginning of May 2018, I spent several evenings gathering data on the Siamese Twins, NGC 4567 and NGC 4568. Realising how faint the objects were, I opted for 10-minute exposures which, unfortunately, challenged the tracking performance of my, then EQ6 mount, and virtually guaranteed that I had a satellite trail on every sub. After calibrating the data, I decided not to process them since I considered that they just weren't good enough. I then ran out of dark skies and forgot about this unfinished project.
I was reminded of the Twins by Callum Potter's recent BAA Deep Sky Notes and went back to revisit the data that I gathered in 2018. By applying some new image processing techniques, I've been able to use the data I gathered, complete with satellite trails, though I confess they have challenged my cloning skills.
NGC 4567 and NGC 4568 (nicknamed the Butterfly Galaxies or Siamese Twins are a set of unbarred spiral galaxies about 60 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo. They were both discovered by William Herschel in 1784. They are part of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. These galaxies are in the process of colliding and merging with each other, as studies of their distributions of neutral and molecular hydrogen show, with the highest star-formation activity in the part where they overlap. However, the system is still in an early phase of interaction. (Wikipedia)
Data gathered between 7th and 18th May 2018. 20 x 10-minutes Luminance, 10 X 10-minutes each RGB.
This is a crop from the original image, which presents the Twins better but at the expense of losing NGC 4564 from the top of the image. The galaxy at the bottom of the image is an edge-on spiral galaxy IC 3578 at magnitude 15. Between it and NGC 4568 is the very faint (magnitude 18.2) PGC042075. There are many other faint galaxies in this image.
- Telescope: 8" Ritchey-Chretien.
- Camera: QSI 583 with a Lodestar off-axis guide camera.
- Mount: Skywatcher EQ6.
Image data were captured on the evenings of 17th to 27th February 2020. The data comprise 24 x 5-minutes luminance and 6 x 10-minutes each of RGB.
David Davies - (4 May 2021).
Observation of NGC 3636 and NGC3637 in Crater
A call of nature and a clear sky coincided at 01.30 BST this morning. Result the observatory was opened and I went straight for NGC 3636 and NGC 3637 in Crater. These galaxies Owen has picked as his Galaxies of the Month for April, they form a visual trio with 7th mag star HD98591.
They were low in the southern sky where viewing conditions are at their worse for me. I wasn't even sure that the scope and Watec camera would even get onto them but as I star hopped ever closer I was rewarded with an image on the monitor. Not a spectacular scene but one that I appreciated was not so easy.
Not knowing when I was going to lose the view I waited for decent 15 second steady exposure image and hit the freeze button. The sketch didn't take long, 10-15 minutes perhaps but by the time I had it completed and released the freeze button the sky was completely clouded over!
So to bed, lucky and pleased.
Dale Holt - (04 April 2021).
NGC 2419 in Lynx
The generally cloudy weather of recent weeks gave few possibilities for imaging, so on the odd cloudless evening, I will tackle a subject that I can capture in a single evening. The enclosed image is of NGC 2419, The Intergalactic Wanderer, a globular cluster that has proved to be something of an enigma to understand.
NGC 2419 was discovered by William Herschel on December 31, 1788. It differs from most other globular clusters in that it is so distant from the centre of the galaxy that it was thought to be not in orbit about the galaxy and thus earned the nickname 'The Intergalactic Wanderer'. Studies of it now reveal that its orbit takes it out beyond the Magellanic Clouds and it takes three billion years to make one trip around the galaxy. It is at a distance of about 300,000 light-years from the solar system and at the same distance from the galactic centre. It presents a dim disc 4.5' across and has a magnitude of around 10. The brightest foreground stars in this image are around magnitude 8 but the brightest individual stars in the cluster itself are around magnitude 15.
The data comprise 15 x five-minute sub-frames of RGB captured on the evening of 5th February 2021.
- Telescope: 200mm Ritchey-Chretien at 1660mm focal length.
- Camera: QSI 683 with Astrodon filters and a Lodestar as an off-axis guide camera.
- Mount: Skywatcher EQ8.
David Davies - (18 March 2021).
Galaxy Group ACO 2197 in Hercules
I managed to get the following image of ACO 2197 after reading Owen's very interesting Galaxy of the Month for May 2018.
ACO 2197 is a hidden galaxy cluster in the constellation of Hercules. There are so many eliptical, spiral, and irregular galaxies but the brightest three are NGC 6160, NGC 6173 and NGC 6175 and were all discovered by William Herschel in 1787. These galaxies also have very interesting dust halos which were the most challenging thing to process, however, I'm more than pleased with the result.
- Telescope: C ED 80.
- Camera: QHY 183 Mono Cool, QHY 5 guide.
- Mount: Skywatcher Heq5 PRO.
The image is composed of 120s sub-exposures with a total integration time of 11 hours.
Vasileios Spanakis-Misirlis - (29 March 2021).
A well known morsel from Leo
A very brief opportunity on the evening of March 19th allowed me just enough time to sketch the thin one of the Leo triplet, NGC 3628.
The skies have probably been the poorest and for the longest in my 22 years of observing! If I had picked either of the Messier members I would have run out of clear sky trying to capture their complexity and magnificence, so I guess I got lucky with my choice!
This galaxy filled my field of view and although I have sketched it a number of times before I think this is probably my best rendition! I hope I can get back to my usual much more elusive and distant prey very soon.
Dale Holt - (21 March 2021).
The Tadpole Nebula (IC410) in Auriga
Observing in the UK has been hampered by very poor weather for weeks. But, through January and February, I eventually managed to collect sufficient data on IC 410, The Tadpole Nebula. IC 410 is often depicted using narrowband data but I wanted to see what I could achieve in 'natural' RGB light.
Around 12,000 light-years away, in the constellation of Auriga, drifting clouds of gases are condensing into clusters of new stars. The hot young stars in these clusters ionise the gases, making them glow, and sculpt fascinating shapes by their energetic radiation.
One such star cluster, designated NGC 1893, formed around 4 million years ago and sits at the heart of such an emission nebula, IC 410, which is around 100 light-years across. In the image below, at the upper-left of the centre, two strange tadpole-shaped structures show where the radiation from new stars is causing the surrounding gas to glow, forming bright ridges of gas, the heads, while cooler gas streams away forming familiar tail-like shapes and giving rise to the nebula's nickname.
The star cluster, NGC 1893, was discovered in 1827 by John Herschel, but the surrounding nebula IC 410 was not detected until 1892, by the German astronomer and astrophotographer Max Wolf. Foreground dust and gas reduce the clarity of the nebula, something which I became aware of during the processing of the image.
- Telescope: 200mm Ritchey-Chretien with a 0.7x reducer.
- Camera: QSI 683 plus a Lodestar off-axis guide camera.
- Mount: Skywatcher EQ8.
The image is an HaLRGB composition. It comprises 30 x five-minutes of luminance and 15 x five-minutes of each RGB. I also collected 10 x 20-minutes of hydrogen-alpha data and applied a small fraction of it as an additional luminance layer to help bring out the subtle structures in the nebula. Image acquisition with NINA; image processing with Deep Sky Stacker, Pixinsight and Photoshop.
David Davies - (25 February 2021).
Observations from Orion… at last
Last night I had my planetary head on mainly because Mike Wood had shown me his stacked video image of Abell 12 which was rather impressive and evidentially had impressed Owen Brazell too! After Mike showed me his image I went through my files expecting to find a drawing from some time or other but nothing!
I need to put that right so I went straight after Mu Orionis as I knew that Abell 12 lurked in the glare of this magnitude 4.1 star. I had the exposure of my Watec video camera turned down to 5 seconds and bang the ghostly round orb of Abell 12 aka PK 198-6.1 was obvious and striking next to the dazzling star with its large diffraction spikes.
So to were Mu orionis Ab & Ba as this star is a 4 star multiple. I'm not sure if I could see the fourth member Bb as I had no idea where to look and as the faintest member it was most susceptible to Mu A's glare. Anyhow if I kept exposure relatively short then the other two were framed nicely between Mu A and Abell 12 adding to the spectacle considerably in my humble opinion.
Lengthening the exposure right up to 20 sec did nothing to enhance the detail seen in Abell 12 but it simply lost the multiple members in the glare and bloat of the primary. No central star was seen, mottling across the whole of the round and sharp edged planetary remained unaltered. The attraction of this PN is its ethereal appearance and contrast with its bright neighbour. A delight no less.
Next I went onto nearby Abell 14 another planetary with the PK designation of PK 197-3.1 This was to be a failure! This isn't the first time that I have tried and failed on this PN. It is very small 40"x27" and faint at magnitude 14. Tonight I had the location absolutely spot on but my camera could not pull it out even with a 25 sec exposure. It is obviously strong in the blue spectrum emission where my camera is less sensitive.
I dug out an old visual Lumicon 1.25 UHC filter and screwed this to the camera nose piece. I had to refocus and then I tuned the exposure up to 15sec then 20 sec with my fingers literally crossed but I could see not hide nor hair of this nebula! FAIL big style!
I then thought well I will leave the filter on and try the old favourite, NGC 2022, another planetary nebula in Orion and one I have been observing both visually and with video for 20 years or more. When the scope drive stopped NGC 2022 was bang in the centre of the field and strikingly obvious at 5 sec exposure. At 20 seconds it was incredibly detailed.
I dug out my file and looked at 3 previous sketches, better view tonight for sure 😀 I agonised over the sketch trying to show all the detail available. My new digital monitor is such that I can use a magnifying glass to study small objects and see yet more detail! I love it 😁
So that was 2hrs gone and time to get indoors and ready for bed, not that I slept! No,no way too excited.
Dale Holt - (11 February 2021).
NGC 1499 in Perseus
With this single colour shot of 500 second exposure Richard has captured a large portion of the California nebula (NGC 1499). Unfortunately it clouded over before he could get any additional frames.
- Telescope: AG14 Orion F 3.8
- Camera: FLI Microline Camera
Richard Weatherley - (2 February 2021).
One from Orion
Here we have an observation from last night of NGC 1924, a galaxy that I observed and sketched several times before. Perhaps last night I grabbed a little more detail it the spiral layout than previous session had yielded.
A face on barred spiral in Orion, magnitude 13.2 and 1.6'x1.2'. My sketch shows some breaks or disturbance in the spiral structure. Discovered by W Herschel in October 1785. Distance 108 mly and diameter 53,000 ly.
Dale Holt - (24 January 2021).