Nebulosity stacked file Heart Nebula 18/11/2019 reprocessed 26/04/2020

I had a go at reprocessing my image of upper half of Heart Nebula (poor pointing of telescope missed bottom half!) from back in November 2019 – now that I am a little better at processing.

Of course – rubbish in, rubbish out – and this was my first sensible astronomy image, unguided, no flats or darks, with my QHY10 colour one-shot camera.

However, I am quite pleased with the result considering the appauling material I had to deal with…..and after some judicious cropping to remove awful parts of the image!!!!

Of course, I will be far more critical of myself in another year, once my skills improve!



This is a Planetary Nebula discovered in 1939 then “lost” till 1989.

The image explains why. Visually this is what you see. In the centre is a “bright” star with 2 faint galaxies in the 8 o’clock position next to it. These are NGC 2475 and 2474 which where mistakenly thought to be the planetary (even SkyMap Pro has them all in the same place). However, the planetary is some 30′ north of these (right in this image). It wasn’t until the narrow band filters came in that the error was discovered. It is now called “The head phone nebula”

This is a quick 8x 4 minute  in each Ha, O and S. To show where everything is, I’ve used the Takahashi and the Atik 4021 to give a wide field of 103′. The planetary is 7′ x 7′ and shows the difference narrowband makes! I will be going back at the next imaging night for more data and with the RC 6 inch and Atik 314 for a close up look with the FOV of 16′ x21′.

Don’t forget to click on the image to get an expanded view.



M101 21-22/4/2020 processed with new flats and darks

This was my first ever image taken where I managed to get guiding to work – hence the 180 second sub-frames. I have now taken new dark and flat frames to accompany the 180 second length (of course does not affect flat length but I needed new flats anyway!)

  • Altair Astro 183M mono camera
  • Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA
  • Sky Watcher EQ6 mount
  • Luminence FIlter only
  • Lichfield, UK
  • 180 second subs


Hixon 44


Hi Folks,

This is the result of the Virtual Star Party, Hixon 44 Galaxy Group. There are officially 4 galaxies in the group but my info tells me there are in fact 5. The whole group covers a span of 15′ x 10′ and is some 80 million LY distant.

Taken with the RC 6 inch through the Luminance filter. 2 hours of 5 minute subs, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, converted into Tiff through Fits liberator and tweeked in PS6.

NGC3185 is on the left (9 o’clock) Mag 12.17 and 2.1′ x 1.4′ in size.

NGC 3190 is in the middle, Mag 11.1 and 4.4′ x 1.5′

NGC 3193 is on the right , Mag 10.81 and 2’x 2′ (looks like another star!)

NGC 3187 underneath the central galaxy, is the interesting one, as you can see there has been interaction with possibly 3190. Mag 12.77 and 3.6′ x 1.6′.

The fifth one (NGC 3189)  is hidden, as it sits on top of 3190.

I’ll be trying for another “new” target tomorrow night.


Nearly forgot…… another galaxy (PGC 86788) is in the bottom left, just below and to the right of the 2 bright stars. Mag 15.9 and 34″ x 26″. It is not part of the group as it is 103 LY distant.

Sunflower Galaxy M63 – photo from virtual RAG star party 24-25/4/2020

After my first attempt at taking a photo of the Sunflower Galaxy last wee (which I was proud of but did look like a blob), my wife instructed me to take it again as it did not look like the photos on the internet(!)

With Damian’s instruction and Rob’s help on getting the settings in PHD and EQMOD right, I was able to take my second-ever guided photo during the evening of our first ever RAG virtual star party (larger group of RAG members by Microsoft Teams until 00:30 and then continued by Rob and I via Bluetooth ear pierces so we could describe what we saw at the eyepiece and direct each other to showpieces), and as per instruction I choose M63.

Guiding was a lot more difficult to get working tonight so it was midnight before I started successfully getting useable subs. Cables had got tangled and the mount appears to have problems on one side of the mount and there was issue with focusing…….but eventually with persistance and a few restarts I was up and running – and was pleased then to have sub-arcsecond RMS guiding error for the 90 mins I then continued to collect 60 second subs (60 secs because I was worried due previous problems during evening with guiding).

  • Altair Astro 183M mono camera
  • Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA
  • Luminence filter only.
  • Sky Watcher EQ6 mount.
  • EQMOD to control mount via laptop.
  • Carte de Ciel Planetarium Software.
  • Astrophotography Tools Software to take photographs.
  • Nebulosity 4 Software to stack image.
  • Location: Lichfield, UK

Adobe Photoshop CS6 to post-process image (curves and levels, some mild noise reduction and sharpening, a layer to slightly darken background to remove some residual gradient not taken out by flat frames and allow me to mask back in the periphery of the 3 galaxies in the image, image scale changes).


Andy’s Star Party! (Remote)

Had a great time last night. We really enjoyed chatting as the sun set. As it got dark we got set up and had a bit of practice with our kit. We even managed to see the phase of Venus. I think we learnt quite a lot. We’ve gone through everything today and noted down what we learnt. Sorry there are no good pics to share, just the evidence that we were there. Shame we didn’t see the Starlink Satellite Train. We’ll just have to keep on trying.

M106 and companions

M106 from the 22nd and 23rd March. I havent been able to get any HA images of 106 yet but im pleased so far with the LRGB data. I did have an issue with what appears to be CA (chromatic aberration) although this is likely my fault as im new to combining RGB images. Ian King is currently looking at the scope for evaluation. 100×1.5min luminance 20×1.5min RGB



Focus points and balance points for Daystar Hydrogen Quark Solar Filter on Sky Watcher 72mm DS Pro OTA without star diagonal and HEQ5 Pro mount

I am using a 0.5x Astro Engineering AC555 0.5x Barlow lens screwed onto bottom of Quark.

Notice that Quark can’t go fully into 2″-1.25″ adapter due to fact that extension on bottom Quark from AC555 would damage 2″ UV filter on bottom of that adapter if I pushed it in further. In spite of this I can’t fully push extension tube into focuser or otherwise the Quark won’t reach focus. This is first time I have successfully used Quark without star diagonal and extension tube required to make up for length of light path in star diagonal.