Easter Veil (NGC 6992)

Part of the Cygnus Loop, the Eastern Veil Nebula is one of the brighter sections of the loop and is visible in telescopes, especially with the aid of contrast enhancing filters.  

Image acquisition: Taken with an AP130EDTGT and modified Canon T5i camera.  60 exposures of 2 minutes at ISO 1600 unguided were combined and processed in Pixinsight with final enhancement in PS CS.  Taken during Greenbank Star Quest 2018.  

Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae

Lagoon and Trifid NebulaeLooking toward the center of the Milky Way galaxy we are treated to numerous glowing patches of glowing gas and dust.  The three most prominent patches of nebulosity in this image are known , from L to R, as NGC 6559, M8, and M20.  The large nebula M8 (M for Charles Messier) is commonly known as the Lagoon Nebula.  The blue and red nebula at the top right is M20 and is commonly known as the Trifid Nebula.  We are looking toward the center of the Milky Way galaxy in this image and the distance to these objects is approximately 4,000 light years.  M8 and M20 are beautiful sights in a common pair of binoculars in the summer sky.  From the northern hemisphere they lie due south after sunset in the summer months and are in the constellation of Sagittarius.  

Please click on the image or here for a larger presentation and more information on how the image was acquired.  

The Solar Disk in Hydrogen Alpha Light

Solar disk in hydrogen alpha lightI have always admired the work of dedicated solar imagers like Greg Piepol and recently had an opportunity to work with some specialized solar imaging gear.  The filter required for this very narrow band of light is very expensive.  Larry Oyster let me take his TV102/Coronado SolarMax setup to the Green Bank Star Quest last month and we had beautiful skies to work with.  For more information and a higher resolution image please click on the link here or click on the image. The image is at the bottom of the color astrophotography gallery listing.

Thanks and stay tuned for many more images to come.  


December Print of the Month: Scorpius

ScorpiusI just love revisiting images, especially those from the film days.  This particular image has always been special to me.  It was taken while on an astronomy photography safari at New Mexico Skies near Cloudcroft, NM.  

We had a large group of astrophotographers and it was a highlight of my photography life.  The trip was in May 2003 and film was still a major player in photographic capture.  I particularly loved, and still do, the results with my Pentax 6x7 and medium format Provia transparency film.  This image was taken with a 55mm lens and presents the entire constellation of Scorpius.  It is simply the most colorful region of our Milky Way galaxy.  

The field of view is just barely clear of our horizon, but we had excellent transparency on this night that permitted the capture of nearly the entire Scorpius region.  There are some areas of this image that contain data from other imaging instruments at higher focal lengths to provide a bit more definition to the area.  All of the blending data is film with the exception of one very small area which is an early digital capture with a Canon 350D.  

The image is the December Print of the Month.  It is printed on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper and matted on black mat with black and silver framing.  All glass is museum glass.  I hope you enjoy the image and next time you are out under a dark sky in the summer look up and see Scorpius with a different perspective.  

Please don't forget to click on the image (or here December Print of the Month) and then on the next thumbnail to see the image in the best presentation and full size in the black portfolio window.  

Mat / Frame Size (print size)



Comet Hartley 2 visits our neighborhood

Comet Hartley and the Double ClusterThis image was taken from Spruce Knob in the highlands of West Virginia on October 9 at 1:00 a.m.  The image shows the green glow of Comet Hartley 2 as it graces our neighborhood of the solar system on its latest journey to the sun.  Also in the picture is the deep sky object known as the Double Cluster.  The cluster is made up of two distinct open clusters of stars and are also know as NGC 869 and 884.  The comet was visited by the EPOXI Mission spacecraft on November 4 and the amazing images from that visit are featured on this APOD page.  The comet's closest approach to Earth was 11 million miles on October 28 and will visit our neighborhood again in April 2017.