The Pleiades Open Star Cluster M45

Pleiades Open Star Cluster M45
Pleiades Open Star Cluster M45 also know as Maia Nebula
Telescope / Lens 300mm f/2.8  Lens;  420mm f/4 Lens DSLR
Mount Type Piggyback on G11 (Stepper)
Camera Canon F-1 ; Canon 20D
 Filters 112mm UV
 Film  Kodak E200 (Slide Film)  DSLR
 Exposure 2 film exposures 45 min. ea; manual guiding FS/78; 10 DSLR
 Processing Slides scanned Nikon 5000 @ 4000dpi 16bit (130 MB files) 3 images stacked; processed in Photoshop CS5 AIP & CCDStack DSLR images stacked with film in CCDStack
 Date  7/25/2003 & 8/20/2004
 Location  Oregon Star Party 120° 09′ W 44° 18′ N
Indian Trail Springs, Ochoco National Forest (Also Eagles Rest 25 miles SE of Dexter, Or.)
 Conditions 5000′ magnitude 6.2 Skies; Clear & Steady

The Pleiades Open Star Cluster M45 is a well known naked eye Open Star Cluster in the constellation of Taurus (The Bull). The Pleiades is a young open cluster of stars enshrouded in gas and dust which is illuminated by several bright stars. Also know as the Seven Sisters covering an area of 2° and lying a mere 415-444 light years away. In fact through binoculars you can see nine prominent stars, two of which are the parents of the seven sisters. The stars are of varying brightness and distances from Earth. They vary from Magnitude 2.9 Alcyone 240 ly to Celaeno magnitude 5.5 and 590 ly distant.

The bright stars are middle aged hot B type Blue stars forming the closets star cluster to earth.  They formed approximately 100 million years ago. The nebula is not related to the stars and is just illuminated interstellar dust. 

This formation of stars (6) is know as Subaru in Japan (to unite).  It was chosen as Subaru brand of cars which united 5 companies into one thus the 6 stars depicted for their logo. 

Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611

Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611 20070620
Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611 20070620 also known as the Star Queen Nebula and The Spire
Telescope / Lens TEC 140mm APO F/7 Refractor
Mount Type Astro-Physics AP1200
 Filters Astrodon LRGB+HA Generation 1
 Film  CCD
 Exposure Total exposure time 115 minutes
 Processing CCDSoft & Photoshop CS2
 Date  June 20, 2007
 Location  June Mountain, near Dexter, Oregon 122° 43.53 W 43° 48.41′ N
 Conditions 3252′ magnitude 6.1 Skies; Clear & Steady

The Eagle Nebula, M16 is an 8th magnitude Open Cluster in the constellation of Serpens next to Ophiuchus with this cluster lying near Sagittarius. Through a telescope the cluster of stars is visible but little or no nebulosity can be seen. This is because ours eyes are not sensitive enough to see the nebulosity. Therefore long images on film or CCD are needed to show the nebulosity. The three central pillars were imaged by The Hubble Space Telescope and are referred to as the” Pillars of Creation. Most importantly, you can see small stars that are emerging from these dust clouds. 55 stars make up this Open Stars Cluster lying 7,000 lights years from Earth.  

Below is a cropped view that clearly resemble the famous “Pillars of Creation” taken by the Bubble Space Telescope in 1995 by   Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen.  Remember this image was taken trough a modest TEC 140mm Refractor telescope here on earth, near Dexter, Oregon.

Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611, Crop image highligthening the Pillars of Creation"
Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611_ Crop. “Pillars of Creation” from an amateur’s 5.5″ refractor.

Sad Note:

Evidence from the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) indicates that the “Pillars of Creation” have already been destroyed.  A Super Nova explosion’s shock wave has destroyed these structures.  Therefore the image we see no longer exists. Since we are thousands of light years away it will be a millennia before we see the damage caused by the shock waves. The light from this super nova would have been visible on Earth some 1000-2000 years ago.

Trifid Nebula M20 NGC 6514

Trifid Nebula M20 NGC 6514
Trifid Nebula M20 NGC 6514
Telescope / Lens TEC 140mm  f/7
Mount Type Astrophysics 1200
 Filters Astrodon LRGB e-series filters (generation 1)
 Film  CCD
 Exposure 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) LRGB (L=75 m (15×5) RGB=25 each, 5 min. subs
 Processing CCDSoft, CCDStack, AIP, Photoshop CS2
 Date  07/19/2009
 Location Snow Peak, S/E of Cottage Grove, Oregon 122° 52′ 35″ W, 43° 31′ 21″N
 Conditions 4658′ elevation, magnitude 6+ Skies; Clear ; Humidity 65-80% 51 degrees, wind 0-3 M.P.H.

M 20 (NGC 6514) Trifid Nebula
The Trifid Nebula (Messier 20 or M20 & NGC 6514) reside within the constellation of Sagittarius. The name Trifid refers to the three lobe appearance of the red emission portion of the Nebula. Recent images ahowh a blue reflection nebulosity and an open star cluster. The dark dust lanes, dark nebula, is designated Barnard’s 85.  This object shows up well in amateur telescopes reviling lots of detail and visible to the naked eye (magnitude 6.3) at dark sky locations. The actual distance is estimated at 5200 light years.  Some stars associated with M20 are 2700 to 5700 light years distant.

M20 itself is approximately 21 light years in diameter, roughly 15,000’xs larger than our solar system. Recent images that go deeper reveal a blue glow around the main red emission portion of the Trifid indicating that some of the reflected nebulosity runs behind and around the red portion. Earlier shots I’ve taken did not reveal this, but CCD images of a couple hours or more reveal this phenomenon. NASA’s Spitzer Space telescope discovered 30 embryonic & 120 newborn stars within the Trifid in 2005.

The image of the Trifid nebula was dominant on the view scenes of the Enterprise, Original Stark Trek series.

Star Forming Area
Trifid Nebula M20 Crop
Trifid Nebula M20 Crop-The close-up images show a dense cloud of dust and gas, which is a stellar nursery full of embryonic stars.

Horsehead Nebula & Flame Nebula

Horsehead Nebula
Horsehead Nebula and IC 454 along with NGC 2023 and the Flame nebula NGC 2024
Telescope / Lens Orion ED80 Tele-Vue TRV-2008, .8 Reducer f/6 480mm
Mount Type G11 Gemini GoTo V3
 Filters LRGB Custom Scientific
 Film  CCD (Kodak)
 Exposure 120 minutes LRGB
 Processing CCDSoft, AIP4Win, Photoshop CS2
 Date  9-30-2006
 Location Eagles Rest, 15 miles South of Dexter, Oregon
122° 44′ 07″ 38″ W – 43° 50′ N
 Conditions 2500′ magnitude 6+ Skies; Clear & Steady

The bright star is the left star in Orion’s belt, Alnitak, Magnitude 1.74 and 817.44 light years away.  Just below Alnitak (ζ Ori) is the Flame Nebula HV 28 (NGC 2024) and to the right is the famous Horsehead nebula. The top bright star Alnilam, is the central belt star of the constellation Orion.The dark dust blocks out light and the resulting silhouette resembles a Horsehead. This nebula is not visible to the naked eye and it takes special filters and a large telescope to discern the Horsehead shape. This nebula was first detected on photographic plates by E. Pickering in 1889. The Horsehead is approximately 1 light year across at a distance of 1200 light years from Earth.

While the Flame Nebula NGC 2024 is 1,500 light years distant.  This nebula is very energetic in ultraviolet light. It knocks away electrons from the great clouds hydrogen gas in the surrounding area

This image was taken through and Orion ED 80mm refractor. This is an inexpensive doublet near APO.  One of the true values available to amateur astronomers today.



Crab Nebula M1 NGC 1952

Crab Nebula M1 NGC 1952
Crab Nebula M1 NGC 1952, Taurus A, supernova remnant
Telescope / Lens TEC 140mm f/7
Mount Type Astro-Physics 1200
 Filters Astro-Don LRGB
 Film  CCD
 Exposure LRGB of 85 minuets
 Processing CCDSoft, AIP4Win, CCDStack & Photoshop CS2
 Date 9-8-2007
 Location  June Mountain, near Dexter, Oregon 122° 43.53 W 43° 48.41′ N
 Conditions 3252′ magnitude 6.1 Skies; Clear & Steady

Crab Nebula M1 NGC 1952 resides in the constellation of Taurus the Bull. This nebula is the remnant of a supernova of a large star. This explosion was first viewed from Earth on July 4, 1054 by Asian Astronomers. Native American Indian tribes also observed and recorded this event. At magnitude 8.4 and a diameter of only 6 arc minutes (11 light years), it is visible in small telescopes as a fussy irregular object. It is approximately 6,500 light years from Earth, in the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way.