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                         Recent Images -- Last Updated 8/30/2014

     The images below will not show up on the other pages until they are replaced on this one.  You won't see any repeats when you go to one of the links on the left.  Basic information about the telescopes and cameras is at the bottom of this page.
 

   NGC 6604 and Sharpless 2-54

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 30(+ 30 h-alpha):10:10:10

   NGC 6604 is the small (6' diameter), bright open cluster at the center of the field.  The stars are concentrated toward the bottom edge of the cluster.  It contains 105 stars.

The nebulosity throughout the field is just a small part of Sharpless 2-54.  This object is huge, 144' x 78', and quite irregular.  The cluster is located near the southeast end of the nebulosity.

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   NGC 5850 and 5846

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 65:20:20:20

   NGC 5850 is a ring-type barred spiral while 5846 is an E0-1 elliptical.  It is thought that an interaction between the two caused the ring and the unsymmetrical outer arms.  However, if the reported distances are correct, the interaction must have been very long ago.  The small, bright elliptical just below the core of 5846 is NGC 5846A but these two are not believed to be interacting. 

  

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   NGC 3344

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 75:20:20:20

   NGC 3344 is a weakly barred spiral that also contains rings.  NGC 5850 (above) has a much more prominent bar and rings, but lacks the heavy arm structure of 3344.  This is a relatively nearby galaxy, at 22.5 million light years.  NGC 3344ís outer stars are moving in an unusual manner, and the presence of the bar does entirely account for this. It is possible that NGC 3344 passed close by another galaxy and acquired stars from it, but that is uncertain at this point.

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   Arp 86 (NGC 7752 & 53)

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 100:30:30:30

   NGC 7752, the larger member of the pair, is a barred spiral but the bar is not especially prominent.  The companion is classified as an I0, but that has been the subject of some debate.  The pair is usually referred to as an M51-type object.  An examination of the Full Size image shows a multitude of tiny galaxies nearby.

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   M62 (NGC6266)

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 28:10:10:10

   Messier 62 is assigned a diameter of 15' and a magnitude of 6.4.  The apparent diameter is my image is less.  It has been studied for the existence of an intermediate mass black hole in the core but the results have been inconclusive.  It has a high number of variables, mostly of the RR Lyrae type.

To me, the core appears to be slightly off-center, toward the bottom left in this image.

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   NGC 6755

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 25:8:8:8

   NGC 6755 is an open cluster with a diameter of 14' and a magnitude of 7.7.  It looks like two separate clusters but that is apparently not the case.  Other than the fact that it contains about 100 stars, there is not much information available.

  

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   M109 (NGC 3992)

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 48:16:16:16

   M109 is a bright, beautiful barred spiral in Ursa Major.  It shows up very well even with only 48 minutes of luminance.  In fact, I consider this one of my best images.  The flare in the upper right corner of the field is from gamma UMa, located only 19' outside the field.  I decided not to try to remove it but just leave it untouched.

There are a lot of tiny galaxies in the field but the only ones of any size are UCG 6969 near the left edge and UGC 6940 near the bottom.

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   NGC 2174 (Sharpless 2-252)

   Astro-Tech AT66ED, ST2000XM, 80:32:32:32, 76' x 102'

   This image was acquired at a JSCAS club star party at Fort McKavett, TX.  NGC 2174 is also known as the Monkey Head Nebula.  If you Google it, you will find links to a spectacular Hubble image of a small part of it.  Just off the upper-left edge of the main portion is the sparse open cluster NGC 2175.  Both of these objects have a lot of uncertainty about the correct and historical names.  See http://martingermano.com/N2174_1024.htm for some excellent research into all the twists and turns in the designations. 

The dark nebula B227 can be seen in the lower right corner, and extends beyond the edges of the field.

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   IC 2169 and Collinder 95

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 30:20:10:20

   IC 2169 is a pretty reflection nebula often overlooked because it is so near the far more spectacular Cone Nebula and Christmas Tree Cluster.  While almost all of the light is from reflection, a little bit of reddish emission shows along the right edge.  Near the right edge of the field, starting about one-third of the way down and continuing out the top, is a dark lane which extends perhaps 30' further in wider field views.  The dust itself can be seen in longer exposures.

Collinder 95 is a large, sparse open cluster overlaying the nebula.  It is 19' in diameter and centered on the brightest star in the middle of the field.  It contains only 10 stars, so very few of the stars seen are cluster members.  As far as I know, the cluster and the nebula are unrelated.

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   Berkeley 11

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 30:10:10:10

   Berkeley 11 is a small but attractive open cluster.  It is located just left of center.  It includes 35 stars in a 5.0' diameter.  None of the brighter stars are cluster members.  Near the left edge of the cluster, you can locate (in the larger images) a tiny fuzzy spot which is Sharpless 2-213.  The Sharpless catalog says that it "may be a very faint Stromgren sphere around a B4 class star."  A Stromgren sphere is a shell of hydrogen expelled by a rapidly evolving star -- the Rosette Nebula is one of the largest and best known examples.

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   M110 (NGC 205)

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 28:20:24:20

   M110 is a companion, along with M32, to M31, the Andromeda Galaxy.  There are many fainter companions.  It was not included in Messier's catalog but was added recently based on sketches by Messier which showed it in the field with M31.  It is generally called a elliptical but has several features which make it unusual.  The dust clouds and the hint of structure near the core are not typical of ellipticals.  It is being slowly consumed by M31, and this can be seen in the trail of material exiting the galaxy heading toward M31, a little over a half degree to the SW (lower left)

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   NGC 2451

   Astro-Tech AT66ED, ST2000XM, 80:32:32:32, 73' x 98'

   2451 is a large (45' diameter), sparse cluster.  It contains 40 members.  At almost -38 degrees, it is seldom imaged from most of the U.S.  By the time my image was finished, the telescope was pointing only 4 degrees above the horizon. 

The bright orange star in the center is c Puppis.  It has a magnitude of 3.62.

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   PK 164+31.1

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 60:20:20:20

   This is a very pretty object but would have benefitted from several times as much exposure.  It is very faint, almost ghostly, and has quite a bit of structure that does not show up here.  We are looking at the end of life of a star just a bit bigger than our sun.  The expanding shells of gas will become too faint to be seen in just a few thousand years but the central white dwarf star will remain for billions of years.

An alternate name for this object is Jones-Emberson 1.  

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   Arp 210 (NGC 1569)

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 60:20:20:20

   Arp 210 is a relatively nearby dwarf irregular galaxy, like the Magellenic Clouds.  It exhibits a large amount of star formation and numerous supernovae.  It is one of the few blue-shifted galaxies, meaning that it is moving toward us.  While not a favorite target of amateur astronomers, it is the subject of much professional activity.

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   NGC 2281

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 24:8:8:8

   2281 is a sparse but bright open cluster, consisting of 30 stars in a diameter of 14'.  Other than a variety of doubles for observers wishing to test their equipment, and a nice range of star colors, there is not a lot of interest here.

  

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   Arp 245 (NGC 2992 & 2993)

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 60:20:20:20

   NGC 2992 is the upper galaxy and 2993 is lower and to the left.  For such a complex and interesting system, this object has not been studied very extensively.  NED list only 16 references and in many of them it is only an object(s) on a list.  The interactions are obvious, with a tidal tail exiting 2993 and a bridge between them.  A dusty area can be seen in 2992.

The very skinny little galaxy just below and right of Arp 245 is RFCG 1621.

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   NGC 2428, 2430, and Ru 151

   Astro-Tech AT66ED, ST2000XM, 24:8:8:8, 72' x 97'

   This is a rather uninteresting trio of open clusters.  They barely show up against the field stars.  NGC 2428 is the slightly richer area just right and below center, and Ru 151 is similar and very slightly above and left of center.  NGC 2430 is supposedly just above 2428 but I see nothing that I can identify as a cluster.  This is not too surprising, as it contains only 20 stars in a 7.5' diameter and Megastar lists the class as "asterism?"  None of them is rich, with 2428 listed as containing 50 stars in a 13' diameter and Ru 151 with 30 in a 14' diameter.  By these measures, 2430 is actually the richest of the three even though it is the least obvious.

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     This site presents color CCD images of astronomical objects taken by the author.  Most have been taken with an SBIG ST2000XM camera and either a homebuilt 10-inch Newtonian, Astro-Tech AT66ED, or Meade 2045D telescope  There are a few other possible camera/telescope combinations described on the Equipment page but rarely used.  Images taken with the 10-inch will always be from my observatory at West Point, TX.  Those taken with the AT66ED will frequently be from my home in The Woodlands, TX, but it is portable and I take it to dark sky sites when possible.  The same applies to the Meade 2045D.  Except for images with the 10-inch, the location will be identified.  The most recent dozen or so images will be shown on this page and others can be found by selecting an object type from the buttons on the left.  All the images will be displayed as large thumbnails, accompanied by descriptions of the object, equipment used, exposure times, etc.  Under each thumbnail, you will generally have the option of linking to a full size or half size image.  Use your browser's Back button to return.  Experiment with each size a few times to see which you prefer.  The half-size images are usually more attractive but the full-size images obviously show more detail.  Occasionally, I might include a few monochrome images but not many.

     I began my color imaging in September, 2008  -- not counting a couple of years of CMY imaging with my Cookbook camera back in the previous century.  For those of you interested in the technical details of the images, the lengths of the luminosity, red, green, and blue exposures are listed as L:R:G:B minutes.  If the field size is something other than 21.7' x 28.9' (or 28.9' x 21.7'), the size will be listed.  Also, unless otherwise noted, the images are oriented North up and East to the left.  Details about the telescopes, cameras, filters, software, etc. can be found on the Equipment page.  In late 2009, I acquired a set of narrowband filters and am starting to take some NB images.  When those images are moved off this page, they will be collected on a new Narrowband page.  On that page, there is a short description of the palettes used to convert the exposure sets to color images

     Prior to September, 2008, I spent several years accumulating monochrome images of all 338 Arp Peculiar Galaxies.  These can be seen at my other web site, www.338arps.com.  This challenging project sharpened my general imaging skills but color is a new challenge.  The Arp Galaxies that I have imaged in color will appear on both sites.

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