Author Archives: Geoff Dryland


Hi All,

Got around to making the closeup of the “Headphone” nebula last night.

After making a great effort to focus, get the PHD to work and eventually finding the planetary, I started imaging at 10.45pm. Above is the first result of 12x 5 minute subs. I tried stacking in DSS but it wouldn’t have it as it said there were too few stars! So I moved to Maxim DL where I auto aligned and stacked. This is the result. Extremely disappointed. As before, I have the star drift problem. In the past I have blamed this on: Poor Polar alignment, Focus, Reflection off the Spider, PHD not being very accurate.

Then I noticed that none of the subs seemed to have any drift. So I went back into Maxim DL and MANUALLY aligned all 12 subs. I then stacked these and the result is:

It would appear that the auto stack in both DSS and Maxim DL has been the problem all along.

I have taken more subs on this so will go back and add them then process using MANUAL align.



ngc2903 update

Hi All,

Andy made a few comments about this galaxy so this is trying to give a better view of it.

I’ve added some more luminance to give a total of 2 hrs 20 mins to the ngc2903 image. A quick process to try to show the full extent of the galactic arms, especially the one coming round the bottom of the galaxy. This is the full image with no clipping so it is 16.8 x 22.5 arcminutes.

Andy, just realised I gave you the FOV but you wanted image scale. Image scale is 0.97 Arcseconds/pixel


NGC 2903

Hi All,

Nearly full moon and clear skies so obviously a good time to take images! Especially within 20 degrees of the moon and also in Luminance on a fairly small

target of 12 mag.

So here it is, ngc2903 in Leo.

Taken with the RC 6″ and Atik314. Luminance only 30 x 4 minutes subs.

I’ve been wondering why the stars appear to have a small amount of drift because the elongation is not in the line of Dec or RA. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is Focus (even though the Bhatinov mask shows its OK). When I magnify up a long way, I can see a slight out of focus in the direction of the oblong stars. Could this be it? Answers please to the God of clear skies asap.



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.



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.

Heron Galaxy

Hi All,

Having some fun with the RC 6 inch. Never imaged this one before. Mainly because it is small and faint. There are two galaxies interacting, NGC5395 (the body) and NGC5394 (neck and head). NGC5395 is Magnitude 11.7 and is 2.7′ x 1.3′, whilst NGC5394 is Mag. 12.9 and 1.9′ x 1.3′. No info on the fish it is trying to catch!

So this is 3 hrs 45 min x 5 minute subs taken with the Atik 314L+ camera. The first image is the full FOV ( 21′ x 16′) and the second is cropped by75%. I will come back to this one to get RGB when I have had more practice at finding and aligning the target!!

The images I have seen of this have been taken with a 28 inch scope in the Nevada Desert and the write up said the scope wasn’t really big enough!

This may be small and faint but it was discovered in 1787 by William Herschel using his “new” 20 foot Telescope (I presume that’s length not width).



Finally got the PHD2 to work (but not through the Eagle!) The only thing stopping that is that EQMOD doesn’t want to work in the Eagle. Anyway, I have now worked out that the RC scope must have been knocked out of alignment by 31′ from both the Takahashi and the guide scope. So all I have to do is GOTO the object I want, center it in the Takahashi, then move it sideways 3/4 screen left in the image and hey presto, the object appears in the RC image! So this is really a test of both focus and guiding through the RC 6″.

The image is 2 hours of 5 minute subs in luminance.Taken through the Ritchey Chretien 6 inch @ f9 with the Atik 314L+. Baader 1.25 inch filter.

This is not cropped so it is the full screen FOV (16.8 x 22.5 arcminutes). Guiding looks OK but the focus may be out a little. Sorry the Easter Bunny (called Dust) has left a trade mark. Looks like I’m ready for the Galaxy Season.


SH2-231,232,233 and 235

Hi All,

This is probably the last large group of Sharpless objects I have left to image. There are 4 nebulae and 2 planetary in the capture.

232 is the large nebula in the center. It has mid-range brightness (2) and 40′ wide. A planetary nebula (PNG173.5+03.2)is just to the right of the bright star in the center and has a mag of +18, (if you can see it). Just above 232 to the right is 235. This is an emission nebula, listed as bright(3) and 10′. At the 3 o’clock position is the planetary PNG173.7+02.7,at just 30″ it was only discovered in 1985. Above 235 is 231.Another emission nebula,  mid-range brightness (2) and 12′ in size. Finally, the baby of the group is 233 which is above 231. It is mid-range (2) and only 2′.

The catalogues list the group as requiring an exposure of 21hrs to give an HaRGB image @ f4. I’m not going there just yet, I’m sticking to just Ha!! Even so, this is 62×2 minute subs @f2.8 (guiding not working when I took this).