Edits Jan 12 2016

I have been looking through some older images and found these: they are from different times in 2014, and I simply increased contrast and adjusted brightness. The nebulousness is quite faint in these images, so click on them and get a close look…

Part of the Crescent Nebula: an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus, about 5000 light-years away. This exposure captures part of it:


NGC6960: a faint view of part of the Veil nebula within a vast star field in Cygnus:


NGC663 In Cassiopeia:

NGC 663


By sedulus Posted in Main

July 4 2014

Clear night with the July 4th fireworks. I used a Zhumell skylight filter but it is not very effective. Soon purchasing an OIII filter… Here are a few grainy images.


M102. Galaxy, type S0-a, in Draco Right Ascension (2000.0): 15:06:29.4 (h:m:s) Declination (2000.0): +55:45:49 (deg:m:s) m_b: 10.8 (mag) , m_v: 9.9 (mag) , SB: 13.0 (mag per square arcmin) Dimension: 6.50 x 3.1 (arcmin) , PA: 128 Cross Identifications: M 102, UGC 9723, MCG 9-25-17, PGC 53933, ZWG 274.16, IRAS15051+5557 (http://spider.seds.org)


M29. Right Ascension: 20 : 23.9 (hours : minutes) Declination: +38 : 32 (degrees : minutes) M29 Distance: 4.0 (* 1,000 light years) Apparent Magnitude: 6.6 Apparent Diameter: 7. (arc minutes)

Galaxy, type SBbc, in Canes Venatici Right Ascension (2000.0): 13:10:56.1 (h:m:s) Declination (2000.0): +37:03:31 (deg:m:s) m_b: 10.6 (mag) , m_v: 9.8 (mag) , SB: 12.7 (mag per square arcmin) Dimension: 5.80 x 2.9 (arcmin) , PA: 65 Cross Identifications: UGC 8256, MCG 6-29-52, ZWG 189.35, PGC 45749, IRAS13086+3719

NGC5005. Galaxy, type SBbc, in Canes Venatici
Right Ascension (2000.0): 13:10:56.1 (h:m:s)
Declination (2000.0): +37:03:31 (deg:m:s)
m_b: 10.6 (mag) , m_v: 9.8 (mag) , SB: 12.7 (mag per square arcmin)
Dimension: 5.80 x 2.9 (arcmin) , PA: 65
Cross Identifications: UGC 8256, MCG 6-29-52, ZWG 189.35, PGC 45749, IRAS13086+3719

Globular Cluster, type VI, in Canes Venatici Right Ascension (2000.0): 13:42:11.2 (h:m:s) Declination (2000.0): +28:22:34 (deg:m:s) m_v: 6.3 (mag) Dimension: 18.00 (arcmin) Cross Identifications: M 3, GCL 25

M3. Globular Cluster, type VI, in Canes Venatici
Right Ascension (2000.0): 13:42:11.2 (h:m:s)
Declination (2000.0): +28:22:34 (deg:m:s)
m_v: 6.3 (mag)
Dimension: 18.00 (arcmin)
Cross Identifications: M 3, GCL 25

Coma Berenicis objects

Study of Coma Berenicis. The night sky was mostly clear with thin clouds intermittent. High light pollution: not at my dark site tonight. This night I was using a skylight filter from Zhumell: it did cut down somewhat on stray light and gave a colorful tinge to images. Each image is 10 exposures at 15-25 seconds with an ISO of 800. In order, we have M64, binary system Cor Caroli, cluster M53, and a favorite edge-on spiral galaxy NGC4565.


M64. (NGC4826) Galaxy, type Sab, in Coma Berenicis Right Ascension (2000.0): 12:56:43.8 (h:m:s) Declination (2000.0): +21:40:59 (deg:m:s) m_b: 9.3 (mag) , m_v: 8.5 (mag) , SB: 12.7 (mag per square arcmin) Dimension: 10.00 x 5.4 (arcmin) , PA: 115 Cross Identifications: M 64, UGC 8062, MCG 4-31-1, PGC 44182, Black Eye galaxy, ZWG 130.1, KARA 559, IRAS12542+2157


COR COROLI_LIGHT_10s_800iso_b

Cor Caroli (α CVn, α Canum Venaticorum, Alpha Canum Venaticorum) is the brightest star in the northern constellation Canes Venatici. It is a binary star consisting of two distantly separated components. The name Cor Caroli means “Charles’ Heart”, and was named in the 17th century to honour the King Charles I of England who was beheaded in 1649. Cor Caroli is a binary star with a combined apparent magnitude of 2.81. The two stars are 19.6 arcseconds apart in the sky and are easily resolved in small telescopes. The system lies approximately 110 light years from Earth. The brighter of the two stars is designated α² Canum Venaticorum, the fainter α¹ Canum Venaticorum. Reference: Cor Caroli. 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cor_Caroli



M53. Globular Cluster, type V, in Coma Berenicis Right Ascension (2000.0): 13:12:55.3 (h:m:s) Declination (2000.0): +18:10:11 (deg:m:s) m_v: 7.7 (mag) Dimension: 13.00 (arcmin) Cross Identifications: M 53, GCL 22



NGC4565. Galaxy, type Sb, in Coma Berenicis Right Ascension (2000.0): 12:36:20.5 (h:m:s) Declination (2000.0): +25:59:16 (deg:m:s) m_b: 10.3 (mag) , m_v: 9.5 (mag) , SB: 13.2 (mag per square arcmin) Dimension: 15.80 x 2.1 (arcmin) , PA: 136 Cross Identifications: UGC 7772, MCG 4-30-6, ZWG 129.10, PGC 42038, FGC 1471, KUG 1233+262


canes venatici

June Moon

Sundown image of Moon. June 6 2014. Elyria, Ohio USA


10″ schmidt newtonian @ f/5.
ISO: 100.
1/8sec exposure

By sedulus Posted in Main

Blocking the sky


A couple of jets had flown over earlier causing this: right before my observing session. These are no ordinary vapor trails. They spread out slowly to the South for miles after the jet passed over.

Slooh pics 1/13/14 – 1/15/14

Here are some random images obtained from the Slooh telescopes in the Canary Islands. This is a nice service to have during the cloudy Winter months. Slooh does have it’s bad weather moments though, as this week has had some tricky clouds. Click each image to get full size.

Slooh costs $300US per year, billed quarterly.

m104_20140113_034426_0_1440_lrgb m104_20140113_034417_0_7207_lrgb m82_20140112_235410_0_1982_lrgb! ngc3190_20140113_024905_0_3863_lrgb!

Slooh session scheduled: NGC 504, 507

I have scheduled a session with Slooh telescope Dome 2 in the Canary Islands to take some 5 minutes of images of galactic clusters in Andromeda. Two clusters of which NGC 504 and NGC 507 are a part. I will post images when I have them on Tuesday 1/6/2014.



Dome 2
Primary Instrument: 0.35 metre f/11 Schmidt-Cassegrain
Field of View: 13.1×8.8 arc-minutes

New addition: Orion Imaging Flip Mirror

This makes things a little easier. I previously tried the Orion thin off-axis guider; it was difficult to find good focus between the two cameras (DSLR and CCD auto-guider). This Orion imaging flip mirror is a lot easier to use and set up. I have it mounted on my guide scope – an older but rugged Meade 1980’s spotting scope. The Meade DSI II is attached. I really like the things at Orion.

Orion Imaging Flip Mirror

Orion Imaging Flip Mirror

Orion Imaging Flip Mirror1

Orion Imaging Flip Mirror with Meade DSI II

Orion Imaging Flip Mirror with Meade DSI II

Orion Thin Off-Axis Guider

I have just purchased an Orion Thin Off-Axis Guider (TOAG). This enables me to contain both the main DSLR and CCD cameras on the same focuser, freeing up my guide scope. Testing has been positive thus far.

Orion Thin Off-Axis Guider

Orion Thin Off-Axis Guider

The TOAG is solid metal: it is very sturdy and will handle the load of a more solid CCD camera such as my Meade DSI II. This is just what I needed for my big Newtonian. “It’s ideal for use with Newtonian reflector telescopes which have limited “back focus” travel” (Orion, 2013). My Schmidt-Newtonian does indeed have limited focuser travel and this item has fit the need quite well. I assembled the item and pointed the telescope out the window and targeted a terrestrial target (a telephone pole). The focus of the two cameras did not match: after adjusting the TOAG I was able to obtain focus on the CCD. It did take some experimenting with the extra included spacers: “[a] C-mount to T-threads adapter, Canon DSLR bayonet adapter, Camera T-adapter, ultra-thin M48 male to T-adapter female adapter, 3mm Coma-Corrector spacer, 18mm spacer, and a 2″ nosepiece” (Orion, 2013) are included to get the right fit.



Now that piggy-backed refractor scope is freed up for visual observing.

Meade lxd75-sn10 Steve Johns 2013

Meade lxd75-sn10 Steve Johns 2013


Orion. 2013. Orion Thin Off-Axis Guider for Astrophotography. Retrieved November 17, 2013 from http://www.telescope.com/Orion-Thin-Off-Axis-Guider-for-Astrophotography/p/102812.uts

Nasa Video of Vesta

Since Fall is officially here, the annual evil weather came with it – resulting in cloudy and rainy conditions. Observing is postponed often this time of year. Meanwhile I post other astronomical content. Here is a video from NASA of the latest flyby of the asteroid Vesta: Click here.

The Dawn Mission: NASA mission to this object: http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/

By sedulus Posted in Main Tagged

Circumpolar! – A project kick-off

A view of North from my back patio

A view of North from my back patio. Ignore the DSL lines.

Throughout the 2013-2014 Winter season, I have decided to observe and photograph the area of circumpolar sky above 60Deg North latitude. I like to challenge my self on finding and documenting faint and difficult-to-find targets in unpopular parts of the sky. Who knows – I  might get lucky and actually discover a nova or asteroid in this area. Documentation of each constellation will appear under the Research Projects tab on this site. See the Circumpolar! page for details.

By sedulus Posted in Main

USB power issues

November 3, 2013

Another one of those nights that nothing works right – we all have those…

32-degree F temperature outside. Clear. Had some issues with my auto-guider, a Meade DSI II CCD camera attached to a 3″ refractor auto-guide scope. The 15′ USB extension has too much attenuation as it is transferring data for both the DSI and the Cannon Rebel T3 DSLR. The Cannon had to issues at all, but the DSI live view was nothing but noise most of the time. I had determined that this was due to the reduced voltage going to it. I was forced to observe without an auto-guider: not fun.

Meade LXD75-sn10 Steve Johns

Meade LXD75-sn10 Steve Johns

I am ordering a new Tripp Lite 10-meter USB2.0 A/A Hi-Speed Active Extension / Repeater Cable. The ACTIVE means that is has integrated circuitry that will manage the power along the run. This should clear up things a bit.

By sedulus Posted in Main