Popular Astronomy

February 2015

Seven section members sent in a total of 33 observations this month;  8 drawings and 25 images.


Steve Norrie of Fife contributed three images: on the right is M1,  the crab nebula, a supernova remnant in the constellation of Taurus. Chineese astrronomers witnessed this supernova in 1054 AD.

Below left is spiral galaxy NGC2403, which is in the constellation of Camelopardalis.

Below right is is an image showing three kinds of diffuse nebula.  Barnard 33 is a dark nebula known as the Horse  Head nebula. NGC2024 is the reddish nebula to the left of the bright star Alnitak; this emission nebula is known as the Flame nebula.  The blue nebulosity to the left of the Horse Head is NGC2023, an example of a reflection nebula. Steve used an ED80 refractor and a modified Canon 600D camera for these images                                                                                                                     
















Michael Kinns of Eastry sent in four drawings.  On the left below is a drawing of open cluster NGC2244 in the constellation of Monoceros, made using 50x7 binoculars, and on the right the same open cluster as seen through Michael's 200mm f6 Newtonian reflecting telescope at a magnification of 67x.


The drawing below left is a drawing of M67, an open cluster in the constellation of Cancer.  To its right is NGC2775, a spiral galaxy also in Cancer, which is also known as Caldwell 48.  These were also observed using the 200mm telescope at a magnification of 75x.



    Alan Clitherow, Planetary Section Director, imaged NGC2264 which is in the constellation of Monoceros, and comprises the Cone emision nebula and the Christmas Tree open cluster.  

Alan used a ED80 refractror, with a 0.8x focal reducer attached. The camera was an OSC QHY10.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 Mark Beveridge, observing from Aberdeen, sent in 10 images this month.  Mark used a 140mm f14,3 OMC Maksutov telescope plus a SXR-H814 mono camera plus RGB filters for the first 4 images here.  Below left is NGC3359, and on the right NGC3556, better known as M108, both in the constellation of Ursa Major. The latter image shows many faint, distant galaxies in the background, plus a very distant quasar.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



 On the left below is another galaxy in Ursa Major, NGC2841, and next to it galaxy NGC4258 (M106) which is in the constellation of Canes Venatici. 

NGC2841 is noted for an abundance of young blue stars, but few HII regions.  Its spiral arms are discontinuous; the galaxy is of a type called a flocculent spiral.  

The small galaxy in the top right of the M106 image is NGC4248 .


 Mark's remaining images were made using a 100mm f9 Orion Skywatcher refractor, plus the camera and filters described above.  Below left is an image of M101, a face on spiral galaxy in the constellation of Ursa Major, caled the Pinwheel galaxy.  It is about 170,000 light years across, considerably more than our own Milky Way galaxy.  Below right is IC405, an emission/reflection nebula in the constellation of Auriga, known as the Flaming Star nebula.  The bright bluish star is AE Aurigae, an irregular variable.  It is UV radiation from this star which is ionising hydrogen gas, making it visible in the far red.                                                                                                                                                         


The next pair of images are both emission nebulae in the constellation of Cassiopeia.  Below left is IC1848, the Soul nebula and on its right is NGC896, the Heart nebula.                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Mark's final pair of images are, below left, NGC1499, the California nebula, an emission nebula in the constellation of Perseus.  This nebula shines at the H beta wavelength of 486 nm due to radiation from a very energetic star, xi Persei (Menkib).  Below right is NGC3953, a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation of Ursa Major.  This magnitude 10.8 galaxy is a member of the M109 group of galaxies;  two supernovae have been seen within it since the year 2000.                                                 


Graham Taylor used the Bradford Remote Telescope situated on Teneriffe for the 3 images below.  Below left is the M33 spiral galaxy in the constellation of Triangulum, and to its right NGC4631, The Whale galaxy, also known as Caldwell 32, in the constellation of Canes Venatici.  This edge-on galaxy contains a central region of intense star formation; so many of the most massive stars have already ended their lives as supernovae that huge quantities of gas are being expelled out of the plane of the galaxy, visible in X-ray photographs.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Graham's third image, below, is supernova remnant NGC692, The Veil nebula, in the constellation of Cygnus.  It is thought that the source supernova exploded 5000 - 8000 years ago.                                                                                                                                                                                                                


Dale Holt sent in the four drawings depicted below.  Clockwise from the left below;  first is M3, a globular cluster in the constellation of Canes Venatici.  It contains about 500,000 stars, 274 of which have been identified as variables, more than can be said for any other globular cluster. Dale used a 153mm f9 refractor for this obsrvation, plus a Watec 120N+ video camera. 

Next is M94, a spiral galaxy also in Canes Venatici.  This galaxy is of interest because it has an inner and an outer ring structure, the former being the site of considerable new star formation making this galaxy a starburst galaxy.

The third sketch shows two galaxies in the constellation of Leo, the eliptical M105 and the barred lenticular NGC3384.  M105 is known to contain a supermassive black hole.

The fourth sketch is of NGC4449, also known as Caldwell 21, an irregular galaxy in the constellation of Canes Venatici.  This is another example of a starburst galaxy;  there are several massive young star clusters here.

The last three obsevations were made using a 505mm f3.5 Newtonian telescope plus the video camera as above.



Ian Papworth sent in eight images, using a Celestron Nextar 6SE f6.3 telescope, and a ZWO ASI 120mm video camera.  Since this telescope is on an alt -Azimuth mount, exposures need to be relativeley short, to avoid field rotation.  Ian has used a filter wheel to produce the colour images; considering the very short sub frames and the nature of the telescope mount these have turned out very well.

Ian's first image (below left) is M42, the diffuse nebula in the constellation of Orion: to its right is Ian's colour version of the Trapezium in M42.











                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Below left is M51, the Whirlpool galaxy in the constellation of Canes Venatici. This face-on spiral has a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus.  The companion galaxy is NGC1595.  Below right is M27, the Dumbbell planetary nebula in the constellation of Vulpecula.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         









Ian's next four images are, from below left in a clockwise direction:  M13, globular cluster in the constellation of Hercules;  M82, an edge-on galaxy in Ursa major sometimes called the Cigar galaxy, which was home to a type 1a supernova in January 2014;  then two images of the supernova remnant M1, in the constellation of Taurus.




















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