The Ohio skies have been unforgiving so far this winter. There have been so few clear nights lately that I haven’t even bothered starting a new imaging project. Tonight was not forecast to be great, but it did end up giving me a few hours of clear skies to play around. I decided to do some Electronically Assisted Astronomy, where I just take shorter exposures of objects and use the live stacking ability of SharpCap to stack maybe 10 minutes of data per objects. I was able to visit a lot of celestial friends tonight!
I spent maybe three hours beforehand taking new biases and flats to use for this adventure. It took a lot of fiddling, but I finally got them to be applied properly within SharpCap. The difference was amazing, as the color balance and histogram manipulation gave much better views of the objects with such little exposure time.
First, I tested on NGC 1961, a circumpolar galaxy around 200 million light years away.
To the east is the Intergalactic Wanderer, NGC 2419. This is a cluster that is farther away from us than the Magellanic Clouds. In the corner is the galaxy NGC 2424.
Next, I had to move to the Orion constellation. First is the Casper the Friendly Ghost nebula, containing NGC 2068, 2064, and 2067. It’s all pretty dim, so I didn’t dwell.
Next, down the constellation, is the Flame Nebula, NGC 2024, with the accompanying bright star Alnitak.
Right next door is everyone’s favorite, the Horsehead Nebula, IC 434.
Here we have the Running Man Nebula.
And the most famous nebula, M42. You can see just how much brighter it is over everything else by how clean just 9 minutes on it is.
Moving north, I glanced upon the galaxy pair M81 and M82.
I made sure to catch the Pleiades before it headed over the trees.
One I’ve never looked at before, this is the core of the Rosette Nebula. I can see why everyone images this one.
I revisited the Shoebuckle Cluster and NGC 2158 again, because I missed them.
Next to the star Tania Australis is the cute Little Pinwheel Galaxy, NGC 3180.
To round out this very successful night, I gave a few minutes to the Monkey Head nebula, NGC 2174.