Finder charts for NGC Objects in and around M101 from Sky Safari

I have approached this business of astrophotography as an observer, primarily concerned with trying to extend what I could observe beyond what was visible with the eye at the telescope.

To accompany my recent picture of M101, in which I noticed many small galaxies, the following finder charts are from Sky Safari Pro 6 planetarium software.




Moon image with mobile phone

This was taken with my mobile in Derby city centre…during day light.

Ok enough teasing. Its the inflateable Moon hanging in the Cathedral.

It is  well worth the visit as the detail is based on NASA images. But hurry as Sunday 6th October is the last day. The Knife Angel is also on display nearby.


Happy with my previous image, I thought I’d have a go at the galaxy next door to it—-M31, Andromeda.

This is the same set up as the M33 image so the same FOV. Just shows how big M31 is! This is 6×5 minutes in RGB and 3×5 minutes in L. 1hour 45 minutes total. You will notice some odd shapes in the stars. This is down to me not refocusing between filter changes. Still I know better for next time.



Decided to change my guiding system. Instead of using either the Takahashi or the RC I’ve bought a new dedicated guide scope. It’s a 50mm f3.8 guider/ finder scope. Searched the internet and found a brand new one for less than £50. I’ve teamed it up with the Atik 450. I haven’t imaged M33 for some time so I thought I’d test the guiding on it. Setting the scopes up to be in the same FOV proved more simple than I expected. Having quickly focused the Tak I set up the imaging for 5 minute exposures and took 12 guided images. Stacked in DSS processed in Fits Liberator and PS6, this is the result. This is the best guiding I have ever achieved. The stars show no sign of trailing so I am hopeful that I’ve solved a lot of my previous problems.


DSOs 02-03/10/2019

Last night looked pretty promising and it was the last chance to get out before going away for 2 weeks +. However, once outside the sky seemed very hazy, making it impossible to go hunting for very faint DSO. So had to be satisfied with a few brighter ones. I thought it might be nice to look at the M31 companions, M32 and M110 for a change. So here they are. Not very exciting! You can only see the central sections.


Clusters seemed appropriate in the circumstances, so here is M34, as I hadn’t imaged it before. Probably on account of its size. This image is in fact a mosaic of four.

After that the sky had cleared a little so I went for M1, the “Crab” nebula, as I hadn’t looked at that for a while.



M32 and M110 were from 20 10-sec frames, M34 was from 20 1.2-sec frames and M1 from 40 10-sec frames.


Brow Farm weekend – October 4th, 5th, 6th – CANCELLED

Hi Folks
After looking at numerous weather forecasts, they actually all agree (for a change) about the likely weather of the weekend around Brow Farm. Unfortunately they all agree it’s going to be wet and horrible.
I think the best thing to do is to cancel it, and to rearrange it for another date. There seems to be quite a bit of interest in the event, from RAG, and other groups, so it should be a go’er
Sorry that the weather seems to have beaten us on this occasion

Rob Leonards processing of my M101 data from 29/9/2019 on 2/10/2019

Hi Andy,

Well- here it is. Once I’d finished I did take a look at Damien’s and I think they’re quite comparable (see what you think) which suggests to me that Pixinsight and Photoshop are 2 different trains that end up at the same station, so to speak.

A couple of thoughts-

– It’s a nice set of data. 1 hour isn’t an enormous amount of time for DSS stuff, but there’s plenty to work with.

– I used the base images and stacked them in DSS before putting them into Pixinsight. I noticed that there appears to be a bit of field rotation between the subs- I don’t know if that’s a product of polar alignment being a little out? Guiding will overcome this.

– On the initial stretch there was quite a foggy orange colour. Are you using a light pollution filter at all? It appears to me that your light pollution is more sodium based than mine (LEDs where I live) and a basic LP filter may help if you’re not already using one.  I have an under-used 2 inch one if you want to borrow and try out.

– There did appear to be a few dust bunnies. Obviously you’ve supplied some flats- I don’t know if some dust has come on in the meantime since they were made. I hid them by darkening the background. For flats I tend to make new ones each session after I’ve finished. I have a cheapy flats panel that I made using a tracing panel off Amazon and some cardboard.

It’s been fun to have a play! I’ve also been playing with some wide field shots that I took on Sunday- they’re on the blog.