The Dark Side Observatory

in Weatherly, Pennsylvania, USA

Welcome to the Dark Side Observatory in Weatherly, Pennsylvania, USA. The Dark Side Observatory is the personal observatory of Tom and Jane Wildoner. It was constructed in 2017 and continues to be modified as time permits. The links below present some of our images, clicking on an image will open a new window with the full resolution. IMAGE USE: We have a liberal policy in the use of our images, you may share/use the image as long as the image is not edited in any way and credit is given to Tom and Jane Wildoner, The Dark Side Observatory.

Questions or comments can be addressed to thedarksideobservatory@gmail.com

You can follow us on TWITTER as @tdsobservatory, my image portfolio is available on FLICKR. I also post images on my Facebook account at https://www.facebook.com/tom.wildoner and https://www.facebook.com/thedarksideobservatory We also routinely post the latest images on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/tomwildoner/

Our images have been used on UNIVERSE TODAY, EARTHSKY, The Washington Post, Sky and Telescope, Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD), Amateur Astronomy Picture of the Day, WNEP News, BBC Sky at Night Magazine, SyFy.com, Let's Talk Science and numerous online media outlets and E-Magazines.

RELEASE DATE: 5 August 2022

Globular Cluster Messier 5 (M5 or NGC 5904)

Messier 5 (M5 or NGC 5904) is a bright globular cluster located in the constellation Serpens. M5 is one of the oldest globular clusters, as well as one of the brightest in our galaxy. Estimates to the number of stars vary from 100,000 to as many as 500,000.
Observation data (J2000 epoch)Class: VConstellation: SerpensRight ascension: 15h 18m 33.22sDeclination: +02° 04′ 51.7″Distance: 24.5 klyApparent magnitude (V): 5.6Apparent dimensions (V): 23′.0
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 81 x 60 seconds at 0C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: March 3, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 2 August 2022

The Cygnus Wall in the North America Nebula (NGC7000)

This is the Cygnus Wall, a portion of the North American Nebula (NGC 7000) in the constellation Cygnus. The nebula is approximately 1,500 light years from Earth, and the Cygnus Wall spans about 20 light years. The Wall exhibits the most concentrated star formations in this nebula.
Tech Specs: Sky-Watcher Esprit 120ED Telescope, ZWO AS2600mc-Pro running at 0C, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, Optolong L-eNhance filter (2”), 41 x 300 second exposures, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini, focus with a ZWO EAF, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Processed using PixInsight, DSS and Luminar NEO. Image Date: June 5, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 30 July 2022

C/2022 E3 (ZTF) Observation - July 29, 2022

Here is a 51-minute combined exposure and raw unprocessed video showing C/2022 E3 (ZTF) moving through the constellation Hercules, what a nice little tail.
From EarthSky.org “Astronomers call this comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF). It got its name because it was the third such object to be discovered in the fifth half-month (A, B, C, D, E) of this year. The ZTF stands for the Zwicky Transient Facility, which uses the 48-inch Samuel Oschin robotic telescope, located at Mt. Palomar in southern California.”
Info at the time the image was taken:
Object: C/2022 E3 (ZTF)Right Asc: 17h 39m 46.1s Dec: 35° 54' 01.1" (J2000) [HMS|Dec]Magnitude: 13.80 Altitude: 75° Solar Elongation: 111.4° Constellation: HerSun distance: 398.20 Million Km Earth distance: 316.93 Million KmRise: 13:34 Transit: 22:12 Set: 06:46 America/New_York
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, Antares Focal Reducer, ZWO ASI290MC (on Orion 60mm Guidescope), ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 69 x 60 seconds at 5C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: July 29, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).
51-Minute RAW Video

RELEASE DATE: 28 July 2022

The Black Eye Galaxy – Messier 64

The Black Eye Galaxy, Messier 64 (M64), or NGC 4826, is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices. The dark band of absorbing dust gives this galaxy the name “Black Eye” or “Evil Eye” galaxy.
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
  • Constellation: Coma Berenices
  • Right ascension: 12h 56m 43.696s
  • Declination: +21° 40′ 57.57″
  • Distance: 17.3 Mly
  • Apparent magnitude (V): 8.52

Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, Antares Focal Reducer, ZWO ASI290MC (on Orion 60mm Guidescope), ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 96 x 60 seconds at 0C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: June 3, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - July 28, 2022

RELEASE DATE: 24 July 2022

Jupiter - July 23, 2022

The planet Jupiter from yesterday morning (July 23, 2022). Captured a few frames through broken clouds and haze.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, Antares Focal Reducer, ASI290MC, best 20% of 5000 frames, processed using AutoStakkert and Registax. Image Date: July 23, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 23 July 2022

Morning Crescent Moon and Earthshine

Another view of this mornings moon, this time it's overexposed to show the Earthshine.

RELEASE DATE: 23 July 2022

Morning Crescent Moon

A quick view of this morning's crescent moon.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, Antares Focal Reducer, ASI071MC-Pro, best 20% of 500 frames, processed using AutoStakkert and Registax. Image Date: July 23, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 20 July 2022

Comet C/2017 K2 Observation

Here is a 56-minute stacked image of Comet C/2017 K2 as it cruises through the constellation Ophiuchus in our southern skies. Check out the HUGE coma (cometary atmosphere) on this comet! Measurements suggest that the coma is nearly as large as the planet Jupiter.
From EarthSky.org “Astronomers first spotted this comet in 2017 using the Pan-STARRS survey instrument in Hawaii. At the time, they said it was the farthest active inbound comet they’d yet seen. It was between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus when they first saw it. Now it’s in the inner solar system, with closest approach to Earth on July 14. The comet will be closest to the sun several months later, on December 19, 2022. With a small telescope, you should be able to spot the comet throughout the summer.
According to in-the-sky.org, the current visual magnitude is listed as 8.81.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, Antares Focal Reducer, ZWO ASI290MC, ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, ZWO OAG, 56 x 60 seconds at 5C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: July 19, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 13 July 2022

Arcturus (Alpha Boötis)

What is that bright star high in the Western sky after sunset? Say hello to Arcturus (a red giant star), also known as Alpha Boötis (the brightest star in the constellation Boötis). It is the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere. It has a visual magnitude of −0.04, and is the fourth brightest star in the night sky. The name Artcurus comes from the Greek meaning "keeper or guardian of the bear", which refers to the its position adjacent to the tail of the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear).
Distance to Earth: 36.66 light yearsMagnitude: -0.04Radius: 10.98 million miSurface temperature: 4,290 KConstellation: BoötesSpectral type: K1.5IIIFe-0.5Coordinates: RA 14h 15m 40s | Dec +19° 10′ 56″
Tech Specs: Sky-Watcher Esprit 120ED Telescope, ZWO AS2600mc-Pro running at 0C, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, Optolong L-eNhance filter (2”), 6 x 300 second exposures, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini, focus with a ZWO EAF, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: May 29, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 10 July 2022

Spiral Galaxy Messier 106 (M106)

Messier 106 (M106, also known as NGC 4258) is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici and is approximately 23.7 million light years from Earth. The galaxy is thought to contain 400 billion stars.
Observation data (J2000 epoch)Constellation: Canes VenaticiRight ascension: 12h 18m 57.5sDeclination: +47° 18′ 14″[1]Redshift: 448 ± 3 km/sDistance: 23.7 ± 1.5 MlyApparent magnitude (V): 8.4Size: 135,000 ly (in diameter)Apparent size (V): 18′.6 × 7′.2
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 66 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: January 26, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 6 July 2022

Globular Cluster Messier 53 (M53 or NGC 5024)

Messier 53 (also known as M53 or NGC 5024) is a globular cluster in the Coma Berenices constellation and is one of the more outlying globular clusters. It is roughly 60,000 light-years away from our solar system.
Observation data (J2000 epoch)Class: VConstellation: Coma BerenicesRight ascension: 13h 12m 55.25sDeclination: +18° 10′ 05.4″Distance: 58,000 lyApparent magnitude (V): 7.6Apparent dimensions (V): 13’
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 81 x 60 seconds at 0C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: April 29, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 1 July 2022

Open Cluster Messier 67 (M67 or NGC 2682)

Messier 67 (also known as M67 or NGC 2682) is an open cluster in the constellation of Cancer. It has the nickname King Cobra cluster, not sure where that name came from but would love to know. The cluster is about 2,800 light-years away from Earth. From Burnham's Celestial Handbook, Volume 1, "It is a compact group, some 15' in diameter, and containing 500 or more members, from the 10th to the 16th magnitudes." M67 has more than 100 stars similar to the Sun, and numerous red giants.
Distance to Earth: 2,800 light yearsRight ascension: 08h 51.3mDeclination: +11° 49′Apparent Magnitude: 6.1Common Name: King Cobra clusterFeatures: Three confirmed extrasolar planetsApparent dimensions: 30′
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 108 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: January 3, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 28 June 2022

Globular Cluster Messier 92 (M92 or NGC 6341)

M92 is a bright, compact globular cluster located in the northern section of Hercules. I think Robert Burnham said it best, “This is a beautiful rich globular cluster which in almost any other constellation would be considered a major show object; in Hercules it has been somewhat overshadowed by the splendor of the fabulous M13.” (Burnham’s Celestial Handbook – Volume 2 – Robert Burnham Jr.).
Observation data (J2000 epoch)Class: IVConstellation: HerculesRight ascension: 17h 17m 07.39sDeclination: +43° 08′ 09.4″[2]Distance: 27,000 lyApparent magnitude (V): 6.4Apparent dimensions (V): 14' arc minutes
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 81 x 60 seconds at 0C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: April 29, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 24 June 2022

Globular Cluster Messier 3

Messier 3 (also known as M3 or NGC 5272) is a globular cluster found in the northern constellation of Canes Venatici. M3 is one of the three brightest globular clusters in the Northern hemisphere (along with M13 and M5). This cluster is made up of around 500,000 stars. It is estimated to be 11.4 billion years old. It is located at a distance of about 33,900 light-years away from Earth.
Observation data (J2000 epoch)Class: VIConstellation: Canes VenaticiRight ascension: 13h 42m 11.62sDeclination: +28° 22′ 38.2″Distance: 33.9 klyApparent magnitude (V): 6.39Apparent dimensions (V): 18′.0
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, Antares Focal Reducer, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 72 x 60 seconds at 0C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: May 30, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 20 June 2022

The Dumbbell Nebula - Messier 27

The Dumbbell Nebula (Messier 27, M27 or NGC 6853) is a bright planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula. It is easily seen in binoculars and wide-field photographs. The central star is an extremely hot blueish subdwarf. The nebula was created by the dying star ejecting a shell of gas into space.
  • Observation data: J2000 epoch
  • Right ascension: 19h 59m 36.340s
  • Declination: +22° 43′ 16.09″
  • Apparent magnitude (V): 7.4
  • Apparent dimensions (V): 8.0′ × 5.6′
  • Constellation: Vulpecula

Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, Antares Focal Reducer, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 52 x 60 seconds at 0C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: May 29, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 17 June 2022

Clavius Crater on Earth’s Moon

Clavius is a large crater found on the southern side of the moon, it measures approximately 136 miles across. The crater was named after Christoph Klau (or Christophorus Clavius) a 16th century German mathematician and astronomer.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90 Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ASI290MC, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, best 15% of 10000 frames. Processed using SharpCap, Autostakkert, Registax and Luminar Neo. Image Date: June 9, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 13 June 2022

IC2177 and the Seagull Nebula Region

IC 2177 is a region of nebulosity that lies along the border between the constellations Monoceros and Canis Major. The region is often referred to as the Seagull Nebula, and includes a larger nebulous region as well and open clusters NGC 2335 and NGC 2343 and a small reflection nebula named NGC 2327 (in the wing of the Seagull). The open cluster Messier 50 (M50 or NGC 2323) can be seen in the upper left corner.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics REDCAT51, ZWO AS2600mc-Pro running at 0C, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, Optolong L-eNhance filter (2”), 24 x 300 second exposures, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro, ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF, stacked in DSS and processed using PixInsight and Adobe Lightroom. Image date: January 31, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - June 14, 2022

RELEASE DATE: 10 June 2022

The Moon - June 9, 2022

Here is a view of last evening’s moon, 75% illuminated.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90 Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, best 15% of 500 frames, two image composite. Processed using SharpCap, Autostakkert, Registax and Luminar Neo. Image Date: June 9, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 9 June 2022

The LEO Triplet - M65, M66 and NGC 3628

The Leo Triplet is a small group of galaxies in the constellation Leo and include Messier 65 (M65), Messier 66 (M66) and NGC 3628 (a beautiful edge-on spiral galaxy). The trio is estimated to be some 30-million light-years away. In this image, M65 is in the upper right, M66 in the lower right and NGC 3628 on the left.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, 93 x 60 seconds at -10C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini, focus using a ZWO EAF. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Image date: March 3, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 5 June 2022

Spiral Galaxy Messier 94 (M94)

This is the spiral galaxy named Messier 94 (M94 or NGC 4736) found in the constellation Canes Venatici. It has an apparent magnitude of 8.99 and is about 16 million light-years away from Earth.
From NASA - New stars are forming at a high rate within the bright ring. This region is known as a starburst ring. The cause of this peculiarly shaped star-forming region is likely a pressure wave traveling outward from the galactic center, compressing the gas and dust in the outer regions. The compression of material means the gas starts to collapse into denser clouds. Inside these dense clouds, gravity pulls the gas and dust together until the temperature and pressure are high enough for stars to be born.
Observation data (Epoch J2000)Constellation: Canes VenaticiRight ascension: 12h 50m 53.1sDeclination: +41° 07′ 14″Apparent dimension (V): 11.2’ × 9.1’Apparent magnitude (V): 8.99
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 66 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: January 26, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 2 June 2022

The California Nebula - NGC1499 Through Clouds

This is the California Nebula (NGC 1499 or Sharpless 220) an emission nebula in the constellation Perseus that I imaged back in January. This nebula is about 1,000 light years from the Earth. The nebula is being lit up by the star Menkib which is the brightest star in the center of my image. I would usually throw this data out because there were high clouds all night, but decided to process it anyway, I like the results.
  • Observation data: J2000.0 epoch
  • Right ascension: 04h 03m 18.00s
  • Declination: +36° 25′ 18.0″
  • Distance: 1,000 ly
  • Apparent magnitude (V): 6.0
  • Apparent dimensions (V): 2.5° long
  • Constellation: Perseus

Tech Specs: Williams Optics REDCAT51, ZWO AS2600mc-Pro running at 0C, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, Optolong L-eNhance filter (2”), 24 x 300 second exposures, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro, ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF, stacked in DSS and processed using PixInsight and Adobe Lightroom. Image date: January 4, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 31 May 2022

Tau Herculid Meteor Shower

The Tau Herculid meteor shower/outburst was a bust last evening, but still came away with a few nice captures and some lessons learned. The biggest lesson was learning my all-sky dome camera tends to overheat the equipment inside, yikes, temperatures inside hit about 58C (136F). We had almost 600 people watching our live stream from all over the world and had a blast chatting through the event and sharing observations from your locations. This image shows the best meteor captured during this event from my backyard. I’ve highlighted the Big Dipper (in Ursa Major) and Keystone (in Hercules) asterisms for reference.
Tech specs: Canon 6D, ZWO AAP, Lensbaby Fisheye lens, ISO 1000, 60 second exposures. Processed in Adobe Lightroom. Image Date: May 31, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 30 May 2022

Globular Cluster Messier 10 (M10)

Messier 10 (M10 or NGC 6254) is a globular cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus. It is approximately 15,000 light years away. From Wikipedia, “A globular cluster is a spherical collection of stars that orbits a galactic core as a satellite. Globular clusters are very tightly bound by gravity, which gives them their spherical shapes and relatively high stellar densities toward their centers.”
Observation data (J2000 epoch)Class: VIIConstellation: OphiuchusRight ascension: 16h 57m 8.92sDeclination: −04° 05′ 58.07″Distance: 14.3 klyApparent magnitude (V): 6.6Apparent dimensions (V): 20′.0
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 71 x 60 seconds at 0C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: April 29, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 26 May 2022

M63 - The Sunflower Galaxy

Here is a view of the Sunflower Galaxy, Messier 63 (M63, NGC 5055) found in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is a spiral galaxy surrounded by many short spiral arm segments. It is also a member of a group of galaxies referred to as the M51 Group. The Sunflower Galaxy lies roughly 37 million light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 9.3. This has been one of my favorite galaxies to image during galaxy season. I've managed to image this galaxy annually since 2017.
Distance to Earth: 27 million light yearsRadius: 49,000 light yearsRight ascension: 13h 15m 49.3sDeclination: +42°01’45”Apparent Magnitude: 9.3Apparent dimensions: 12′.6 x 7′.2Stars: 400 billionCommon Name: Sunflower Galaxy
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 108 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: January 3, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 23 May 2022

Messier 36 - Open Cluster in Auriga

Messier 36 (M36 or NGC 1960) lies at a distance of about 4,100 light years away from Earth in the constellation Auriga and is about 14 light years across. There are at least sixty members in the cluster. The cluster is very similar to the Pleiades cluster (M45), and if it were the same distance from Earth it would be of similar brightness.
Distance: 4,340 light year.Radius: 7 light yearRight ascension: 05h 36m 18.0sDeclination: +34° 08′ 24″Apparent Magnitude: 6.3
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: January 3, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 19 May 2022

NGC 772 (Arp 78) The Nautilus Galaxy

When I first imaged The Nautilus Galaxy (NGC 772/ARP 78) I was fascinated by its shape, one spiral arm stretched outward from the center. This is probably an effect of being tugged on by a satellite galaxy designated as NGC 770 (the bright fuzzy ball of light at the eight o'clock position). NGC 772 is also listed as ARP 78 in the Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. This catalog was compiled by Dr. Halton C. Arp and it details 338 peculiar galaxies. It is estimated that NGC 772 is twice the size of our Milky Way Galaxy! If you are looking at this image on Facebook or on our web site, I’ve also included an annotated version of the image.
Distance: 130 million light year.Right ascension: 01h 59m 20sDeclination: +19° 00’ 27”Apparent Magnitude: 10.3Apparent Size: 4.57 x 2.52 (arc minutes)
I’ve imaged this galaxy three times in the last seven years, each time bringing out new details from changes in camera sensor technology, software processing and experience.
I’m not sure who first coined the name “Nautilus Galaxy”, but I did find a reference from 2008 by Ruben Kier who states, “I find the shape of NGC 772 resembles the nautilus shell, as illustrated to the right, so I have called it the Nautilus Galaxy.” (REF: http://www.stardoctor.org/772.html) If you Google “Nautilus Shell” you’ll see what he is talking about.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 178 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: November 9, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - May 20, 2022



RELEASE DATE: 16 May 2022

Lunar Eclipse - May 15, 2022

A quick view of the lunar eclipse last evening, clouds rolled in right before totality, bummer. Still grabbed some interesting views with some high level clouds. Tech specs: Canon 6D, Canon 2xIII, Pluto trigger, Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, tripod mounted, ISO 3200, 2 seconds, f/5.6, 400mm. Processed in Adobe Lightroom and Luminar Neo. Image Date: May 15, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 15 May 2022

The Helix Galaxy - NGC 2685

Here is an image of a galaxy named The Helix Galaxy, also designated as NGC 2685 and can be found in the constellation Ursa Major. Because of how peculiar this galaxy looks, it is also listed in the Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as ARP 336. What is unique about this galaxy is that it is a lenticular and polar ring Seyfert Type 2 galaxy. In my image you can just make several swirling arms circling around the galaxy, scientists postulate these were formed when two galaxies gravitationally interact with each other.
Distance: 40-42 million light year.Diameter: 50,000 light years (half of the Milky Way)Right ascension: 08h 55m 34.75sDeclination: +58° 44′ 03.87″Apparent Magnitude: 11.1Apparent Diameter: 5.2 (arc minutes)
There are many examples of Seyfert Galaxies and you can peruse them at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seyfert_galaxy
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 160 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: November 8, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 9 May 2022

The Moon - May 8, 2022

A view of last evening's moon 50% illuminated (First Quarter).
Tech Specs: Meade 12" LX-90 telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, Antares Focal Reducer, best 15% of 1000 frames at full resolution, Sharpcap Pro, Autostakkert, Luminar Neo. Image Date: May 8, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 6 May 2022

NGC 457 - The Owl Cluster

This is the Owl Cluster in Cassiopeia, also known as NGC 457. The Owl Cluster is about 7,900 light-years away. The two bright stars inside this cluster are magnitude 5 Phi-1 Cassiopeia and magnitude 7 Phi-2 Cassiopeia.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks, processed using DSS. Image Date: November 8, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 3 May 2022

Moon - Mercury - Pleiades Conjunction

Last evening’s moon, Mercury and Pleiades conjunction imaged after sunset. Mercury and the main stars in the Pleiades have been highlighted for visibility.
Tech specs: Canon 6D, Pluto trigger, Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, tripod mounted, ISO 1250, 2.5 seconds, f/8, 200mm. Processed in Adobe Lightroom and ProDigital Software StarSpikes Pro v4. Image Date: May 2, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 2 May 2022

Galaxy NGC 1961 (Arp 184)

NGC 1961 is an unusual galaxy, located about 171 million light-year from Earth, toward the constellation Camelopardalis. Because of its unusual appearance, Arp listed in his Catalog of Peculiar Galaxies as entry number 184.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 108 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: November 8, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 28 April 2022

Galaxy Messier 109 in Ursa Major

This is the barred-spiral galaxy Messier 109 (M109 or NGC 3992) found in the constellation Ursa Major. M109 is about 83 million light years away from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 10.6. M109 has several satellite galaxies all visible in this image. Estimates indicate that this galaxy contains about 1 trillion stars!
Annotated image link provided below.
  • Distance to Earth: 83 million light years
  • Apparent Magnitude: 10.6
  • Right ascension: 11h 57m 36.0s
  • Declination: +53° 22′ 28″
  • Apparent dimensions: 7.6 × 4.7 arc minutes

Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 135 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: January 3, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).
Annotated IMAGE

RELEASE DATE: 25 April 2022

Supernova 2022hrs in NGC4647

Here is a quick view of a new supernova located in the galaxy NGC4647 and discovered by Koichi Itagaki on April 16, 2022. At the time of imaging it was at magnitude 12.6. The comparison image on the top was taken using my 12” Meade LX-90 back in 2020. The large elliptical galaxy next to NGC4647 is Messier 60 (M60), they form a pair known as ARP116 and are interacting with each other.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 48 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, BIN2,, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: April 25, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 23 April 2022

Galaxy IC356 (Arp213) in Camelopardalis

IC 365, also known as Arp 213, is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation Camelopardalis (the Camel). The galaxy appears red in color, because it is situated behind the dust of the Milky Way, at a distance of approximately 50 million lightyears. If you look close you can make out some of the dark dust lanes in the spiral arms. Arp included this galaxy in his list of peculiar galaxies because of the odd dark lane that goes from the central region of the galaxy and extends to the 10 o’clock position in my image.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 108 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks, processed using DSS. Image Date: November 8, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 22 April 2022

Lyrid Meteor Shower - Rogue Meteor

Here is an image from last evenings Lyrid meteor shower run, 300 x 120 second exposures and only two rogue meteors captured. Granted, there were a lot of clouds last night. In this image the Northern Cross and Big Dipper asterisms as well as the star Vega are highlighted for reference. Where it says “Radiant Point” is this area meteors should “appear” to be coming from. You can see the rogue meteor on the top of the screen (NORTH).
Tech Specs: Canon 6D with Lensbaby Fisheye Lens, ZWO AAPlus, dew strap, unguided, operated via ethernet to Bluestacks. 120 second exposure at ISO 1000. Processed in Luminar NEO and Corel PaintshopPro. Image Date: April 22, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 20 April 2022

Today’s Sun - April 20, 2022

Today’s sun (April 20, 2022) in white light with some HUGE sunspots coming into view.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Orion Glass Solar Filter, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, best 15% of 1000 frames, processed using Autostakkert and Registax. Image Date: April 20, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 18 April 2022

Open Cluster NGC 2158 in Gemini

NGC 2158 is located in the constellation Gemini, southwest of M35. While it looks like they are close together, NGC 2158 is actually around 9,000 light-years behind M35 (11,000 light-years from Earth). It has an apparent magnitude of 8.6.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, stacked in DSS. Image Date: November 7, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 15 April 2022

Spiral Galaxy Messier 74 (M74)

This is the face-on spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces known as Messier 74 (M74). At a distance of 32 million light-years, this galaxy sports two beautiful spiral arms, it contains an estimated 100 billion stars. Combined images from 11/7/21 and 1/31/22.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 108 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, stacked in DSS. Image Date: November 7, 2021 and January 31, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - April 16, 2022

RELEASE DATE: 12 April 2022

Flaming Star (IC405) and Tadpole Nebula (IC410)

This is the Flaming Star Nebula (IC405) and the Tadpole Nebula (IC410). The Flaming Star Nebula is the coma-shaped nebula on the top, the Tadpole Nebula is the large, circular nebula near the bottom right. From Wikipedia, IC405 is an emission and reflection nebula in the constellation Auriga, surrounding the bluish star AE Aurigae. It shines at magnitude +6.0. IC410 is a faint and dusty emission nebula of more than 100 light-years across approximately 12,000 light-years away from Earth in the northern constellation of Auriga. NGC 1893, an open cluster, is embedded inside IC410.
If you are viewing this on Facebook, I've also included an annotated image.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, Optolong L-eNhance 2" filter, 22 x 300 seconds at -10C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: January 26, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 9 April 2022

Open Cluster M35 in Gemini

This is open clusters Messier 35 found in the constellation Gemini. This is a huge open cluster that almost fills the same size in the sky as a full moon, it is about 2,800 light-years from Earth.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, stacked in DSS. Image Date: November 7, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 6 April 2022

Supernova SN2022ewj in Galaxy NGC 3367

Here is a quick shot of the supernova, designated as SN2022ewj in the galaxy NGC 3367. It is a Type II supernova that can be found in the constellation Leo.
INFO: A Type II supernova (plural: supernovae or supernovas) results from the rapid collapse and violent explosion of a massive star. A star must have at least 8 times, but no more than 40 to 50 times, the mass of the Sun (M☉) to undergo this type of explosion. Type II supernovae are distinguished from other types of supernovae by the presence of hydrogen in their spectra. (Wikipedia).
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 56 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: April 5, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 5 April 2022

Occultation of 14 Tauri

Here is a view of the occultation of the star 14 Tauri that occurred on 5 April 2022 at 00:32 (UT). 14 Tauri has a visual magnitude of 6.14 and can be seen in the lower left section of each image. From Wikipedia, “The term occultation is most frequently used to describe lunar occultations, those relatively frequent occasions when the Moon passes in front of a star during the course of its orbital motion around the Earth.”
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 30 second unguided exposures at -10C, processed using PixInsight and Corel Paintshop Pro. Image Date: April 5, 2022 at 00:32 (UT). Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 4 April 2022

Globular Cluster NGC 2419 in Lynx

Here is a view of the most distant globular cluster in the Milky Way, NGC 2419, some have postulated that this may be an extra-galactic object. I have seen distances listed as high as 285,000 light-years away from Earth. It appears small and dim, but it is actually very large and very bright (if it was a bit closer to us), there are estimates of 300-400 million solar masses in this cluster.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, stacked in DSS. Image Date: November 6, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 3 April 2022

The Sun - April 2, 2022

Yesterday’s sun in white light, pretty active with a lot of sunspots. A few dark areas from dust in my imaging train that I didn’t catch.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Orion Glass Solar Filter, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, best 10% of 1000 frames, processed using Autostakkert and Registax. Image Date: April 4, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 1 April 2022

The Eskimo Nebula - NGC 2392

This is the planetary nebula called The Eskimo Nebula or NGC 2392. It is a double-shell planetary nebula located in the constellation Gemini. Radial velocity measurements reveal that this diameter of the cloud is growing at a rate of 68 miles per second (Burnham, 1978).
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, stacked in DSS. Image Date: November 6, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 28 March 2022

Quadruple Conjunction - March 28, 2022

This morning's quad conjunction from Weatherly, PA. Venus, Saturn, Mars and an old crescent moon in the early morning sky. Hope you had a chance to see it!
Tech Specs: Canon 6D tripod mounted, Pluto trigger, Canon EF70-200mm USM lens, Canon 2xIII, ISO 400, 2.5 seconds, f/5.6, 140mm. Image Date: March 28, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 26 March 2022

Seyfert Galaxy NGC 1275

From Wikipedia: NGC 1275 (also known as Perseus A or Caldwell 24) is a type 1.5 Seyfert galaxy located around 237 million light-years away[2] in the direction of the constellation Perseus. NGC 1275 corresponds to the radio galaxy Perseus A and is situated near the center of the large Perseus Cluster of galaxies.
Hubble Image at https://hubblesite.org/contents/media/images/2008/28/2375-Image.html
I was happy to detect some of the galaxy strands that Hubble showed in it’s image taken in 2008.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 162 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, stacked in DSS. Image Date: November 6, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 24 March 2022

Central Region of the Orion Nebula

Here is the central region of the Orion Nebula, called the Trapezium Cluster. It is also known as Theta-1 Orionis and is about 1,600 light-years away. The four brightest stars have been designated A, B, C, and D. The Trapezium Cluster is what provides the light for the Orion Nebula (M42) in the constellation Orion.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 108 minutes total, mix of 5, 10, 30 and 60 second exposures at -10C plus darks, processed using DSS. Image Date: November 8, 2021 and January 31, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 21 March 2022

Montes Apenninus - March 11, 2022

The Apenninus Mountains are one of my favorite locations to image on the moon. It is also home to our moons tallest mountain, Mons Huygens, which stands 3.4 miles tall!
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ASI290MC, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, best 15% of 10k frames at full resolution, processed using SharpCap Pro and Registax. Image Date: March 11, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 18 March 2022

Planetary Nebula NGC 40

From Wikipedia: NGC 40 (also known as the Bow-Tie Nebula and Caldwell 2) is a planetary nebula discovered by William Herschel on November 25, 1788, and is composed of hot gas around a dying star. The star has ejected its outer layer which has left behind a smaller, hot star with a temperature on the surface of about 50,000 degrees Celsius. Radiation from the star causes the shed outer layer to heat to about 10,000 degrees Celsius, and is about one light-year across. About 30,000 years from now, scientists theorize that NGC 40 will fade away, leaving only a white dwarf star approximately the size of Earth.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 59 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 6, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 15 March 2022

The Pacman Nebula - NGC 281/Sh2-184

NGC 281 is an HII region in the constellation of Cassiopeia and part of the Perseus Spiral Arm. NGC 281 is also known as the Pacman Nebula for its resemblance to the video game character and in the Sharpless Catalog, Sh2-184.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, Optolong L-eNhance 2" filter, 48 x 300 seconds at -10C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: November 6, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 12 March 2022

Rupes Recta on the Moon

Rupes Recta, a linear fault line, or rille, was casting quite the shadow on March 11, 2022. The name is Latin for straight cliff, although it is more commonly called the Straight Wall. This fault has a length of about 68 miles (110 kilometers). The small (11 miles wide) crater Birt lies just to the west.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ASI290MC, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, best 20% of 30k frames at full resolution, processed using SharpCap Pro and Registax. Image Date: March 11, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 11 March 2022

Waxing Gibbous Moon - March 10, 2022

Here is a view of the moon from March 10, 2022, 55% illuminated.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, best 20% of 500 frames at full resolution, processed using SharpCap Pro and Registax. Image Date: March 10, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 10 March 2022

Planetary Nebula NGC 2371/72

Here is a different looking planetary nebula designated as NGC 2371 and 2372 found in the constellation Gemini. You can just start to make out the “wings” on either side of this nebula with a 54-minute exposure. Distance to this planetary nebula is listed at 4,400 light-years.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 7 March 2022

Comet 110P/Hartley

Here is a view of Comet Hartley (110P) now in the constellation Gemini on March 4, 2022.
110P/Hartley live position and data on March 4, 2022.Right Ascension: 07h 51m 21.8s Declination: 13° 27' 44.0" (J2000)Magnitude: 16.47 (Estimated: JPL) Constellation: GeminiSun Distance: 387,987,959 km [20.9 km/s] Earth Distance: 270,433,333 km [19.0 km/s]Perihelion: 21 Oct 2021 05:51 UTC [+133d 19h 8m 37s]
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: March 4, 2022 @ 01:00 (UT). Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 5 March 2022

Supernova 2022fx in NGC 4348

Supernova 2022fx (ASASSN-22am) discovered on January 9, 2022 by the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae. May be a bit hard to see in the left image but there is a clear white circle when you look at it under magnification. The supernova is located in the galaxy NGC 4348, a 13th magnitude galaxy found in the constellation Virgo.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: March 4, 2022 @ 01:00 (UT). Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 3 March 2022

The Horsehead Nebula in Orion

Here is a wide field shot of one of the most photographed objects in the night sky, the Horsehead Nebula. The Horsehead Nebula is a diffuse dark nebula in the constellation Orion. The Horsehead Nebula is also referred to as Barnard 33 and is located inside the emission nebula IC 434 (the reddish background), it lies about 1,500 light-years away. The bright star to the left of the Horsehead Nebula is actually the star Alnitak, the leftmost star in the belt of Orion.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, Optolong L-eNhance 2" filter, 48 x 300 seconds (4 hours) at -20C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus was accomplished using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: January 31, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - March 3, 2022

RELEASE DATE: 1 March 2022

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Here is a view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken on 27 Feb 2022. Some of the gaps are from the removal of cloudy images during the run. Stats at the time the image was taken:
  • Right Ascension: 08h 23m 01.2s Declination: 26° 54' 37.6" (J2000)
  • Magnitude: 11.1 (Observed: COBS) Constellation: Cancer
  • Sun Distance: 273,951,572 km [26.7 km/s] Earth Distance: 140,817,219 km [23.0 km/s]
  • Perihelion: 23 Jan 2022 07:06 UTC [+34d 19h 27m 56s]

Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 90 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: February 21, 2022 @ 02:30 (UT). Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 27 February 2022

Orion and Running Man Nebula M42 Complex

Winter imaging is not complete until you image the Orion and Running Man nebula found in the constellation Orion. This is probably one of the most photographed areas in the winter sky. Objects in this view include M42 (Orion Nebula), M43 (de Mairan’s Nebula), NGC 1977 (The Running Man Nebula), NGC 1975 and NGC 1973.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, Optolong L-eNhance 2" filter, 36 x 300 seconds at -20C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: January 26, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 25 February 2022

Comet 116P/Wild 4

Here is a view of Comet 116P/Wild 4 taken on 21 Feb 2022. Stats at the time the image was taken:
Right Ascension: 09h 42m 53.8s Declination: 18° 58' 40.6" (J2000)Magnitude: 14.90 (Estimated: JPL) Constellation: LeoSun Distance: 361,523,431 km [21.9 km/s] Earth Distance: 215,377,993 km [8.9 km/s]Perihelion: 10 Jul 2022 20:24 UTC [-139d 17h 53m 44s]
HISTORY: Paul Wild (Astronomical Institute, Berne University, Switzerland) on 1990 January 21.98 at a position of RA=9h 34m 31.69s, DEC=+20° 39' 39.5" (1950.0). He described the comet as strongly condensed, with a total magnitude of 13.5-14.0. There was a fan-shaped tail extending about one arc minute toward the northwest.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: February 21, 2022 @ 02:30 (UT). Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 23 February 2022

Comet C/2019 L3 (ATLAS)

Here is a view of C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) taken on 21 Feb 2022. Stats at the time the image was taken:
Right Ascension: 06h 35m 20.8s Declination: 22° 49' 37.5" (J2000)Magnitude: 9.2 (Observed: COBS) Constellation: GeminiSun Distance: 534,885,571 km [22.3 km/s] Earth Distance: 434,198,442 km [28.1 km/s]Perihelion: 9 Jan 2022 17:57 UTC [+42d 6h 25m 32s]
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: February 21, 2022 @ 02:30 (UT). Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 22 February 2022

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Here is a view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken on 21 Feb 2022 sporting an interesting looking tail. Stats at the time the image was taken:
Right Ascension: 08h 22m 36.9s Declination: 27° 28' 17.6" (J2000)Magnitude: 10.5 (Observed: COBS) Constellation: CancerSun Distance: 266,941,984 km [27.2 km/s] Earth Distance: 129,406,197 km [21.3 km/s]Perihelion: 23 Jan 2022 07:06 UTC [+28d 19h 21m 22s]
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: February 21, 2022 @ 02:30 (UT). Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 21 February 2022

Messier 1 - The Crab Nebula in Taurus

The Crab Nebula, Messier 1, is the result of a supernova that was first observed and then recorded in Chinese astronomical writings in the year 1054. The Crab Nebula is found in the constellation Taurus and is about 6,700 light years away. This explosion was so bright that it was visible during daylight hours for over 20 days and remained visible in the night sky for over two years.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 267 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks, processed using DSS. Image Date: November 4, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 18 February 2022

Starburst Galaxy NGC1569

NGC 1569 (also known as UGC 3056 and Arp 210) is a dwarf irregular starburst galaxy nearly 11 million light-years away in the constellation Camelopardalis. NGC 1569 is a hotbed of vigorous star birth activity which blows huge bubbles and super-bubbles. The galaxy’s vigorous “star factories” are also manufacturing brilliant blue star clusters. This galaxy is exceptional in that its spectrum is blueshifted. This means that the galaxy is moving towards the Earth. In contrast, the spectra of most other galaxies are redshifted because of the expansion of the universe. (http://annesastronomynews.com/photo-gallery-ii/galaxies-clusters/ngc-1569)
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 108 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 15 February 2022

The Jellyfish Nebula IC443 in Gemini

The Jellyfish Nebula, also known by its official name IC 443, is the remnant of a supernova lying 5,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Gemini.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, Optolong L-eNhance 2" filter, 60 x 300 seconds at -10C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: November 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).
ANNOTATE VERSION

RELEASE DATE: 12 February 2022

Galaxy NGC2403 in Camelopardalis

NGC 2403 is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Camelopardalis. NGC 2403 is an outlying member of the M81 Group, and is approximately 8 million light-years distant. Star forming regions can be seen in this galaxy.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, stacked in DSS. Image Date: November 6, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 10 February 2022

Waxing Gibbous Moon - February 9, 2022

Last nights waxing gibbous moon, 64% illuminated.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, best 20% of 500 frames at full resolution, processed using SharpCap Pro and Registax. Image Date: February 9, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 9 February 2022

Messier 81 - Bode's Galaxy in Ursa Major

Messier 81 (M81) is a large spiral galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major. It is referred to as Bode’s Galaxy as it was first discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1774 and later picked up by Messier and added to his catalog. The magnitude is listed at a bright 6.9 and the distance is about 11,800,000 light-years away from Earth.
Messier 81 is the largest galaxy in the M81 Group, a group of 34 galaxies located in the constellation Ursa Major. At approximately 11.8 million light years from the Earth, it makes this group and the Local Group, containing the Milky Way, relative neighbors in the Virgo Supercluster. (Wikipedia)
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 108x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 6, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - February 10, 2022


RELEASE DATE: 6 February 2022

The Surfboard Galaxy M108

Messier 108 (M108 or NGC 3556), nicknamed the Surfboard Galaxy, is a barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major. The galaxy lies at an approximate distance of 45.9 million light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 10.7.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 89 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 3 February 2022

Edge-On Spiral Galaxy NGC 891 in Andromeda

The edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 891 is what many think our own Milky Way Galaxy would look like if viewed from the edge. This galaxy is about 30 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda and was discovered by William Herschel on October 6, 1784.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 90 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 29 January 2022

Planetary Nebula NGC 1501 in Camelopardalis

NGC 1501 lies in the constellation Camelopardalis (the Giraffe) and is roughly 5,000 light-years away. The internal complexity of this nebula is only hinted at in my image, you can see the various light and dark bands inside. It has also been referred to as the Oyster Nebula, from the bright central star peeking out of the cloudy shell around it. The surrounding cloud was formed when the central star blasted off its outer shells.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 4, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 26 January 2022

Observation of Comet C/2019 L3 (Atlas)

Here is a 60-minute combined image of the comet designated as C/2019 L3 (Atlas) as it is heading through the constellation Gemini. The comet is just past perihelion (closest approach to the sun) and heading back out into space. The comet was discovered as an asteroidal object by the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS). The discovery image on 10 June 2019 showed it as an 18th magnitude, apparently starlike, object moving very slowly in the constellation Lacerta.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 60 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks, processed using DSS. Image Date: January 25, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 23 January 2022

NGC 1514 - The Crystal Ball Nebula of Taurus

This planetary nebula is located right on the border of Taurus and Perseus. It is cataloged as NGC 1514 and is also known as the Crystal Ball Nebula. The magnitude, depending on the source, is listed at 10.9.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 4, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - January 24, 2022

RELEASE DATE: 20 January 2022

Galaxy NGC 1023 (Arp 135) in Perseus

Here is galaxy NGC 1023 in the constellation Perseus. From Wikipedia: NGC 1023 is a barred lenticular galaxy (magnitude 9.4) and a member of the NGC 1023 group of galaxies in the Local Supercluster. Distance measurements vary from 9.3 to 19.7 million parsecs (30 to 64 million light-years).
NGC 1023 was discovered by William Herschel in 1786. If you look close you can see a small companion on the right-hand side, this is designated as PGC 10139 (also referred to as NGC 1023A because of its possible connection to the main galaxy). It is a magnitude 13.6 irregular galaxy. It is also cataloged in the ARP Atlas (Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies) as ARP 135.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 3, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 17 January 2022

Main-belt Asteroid Thetis

Thetis, minor planet designation 17 Thetis, is a stony asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 90 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 17 April 1852, by German astronomer Robert Luther at Bilk Observatory in Düsseldorf, Germany who deferred to Friedrich Wilhelm August Argelander the naming his first asteroid discovery after Thetis from Greek mythology. (Wikipedia)
The video and image show the movement of Thetis over a 90-minute period on December 13, 2021.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF, 90 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, processed using PixInsight and DSS. Image Date: December 13, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).
Thetis Video Link

RELEASE DATE: 14 January 2022

Open Cluster Messier 103 (M103)

This is another session on open cluster Messier 103 (M103) using the Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope operating at 1600mm.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 15 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 2, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 11 January 2022

Messier 76 – The Little Dumbbell Nebula in Perseus

The Little Dumbbell Nebula, also known as Messier 76 (M76), NGC 650/651, is a planetary nebula in northern constellation Perseus. Distance to M76 is currently estimated as 780 parsecs or 2,500 light years. The total nebula shines at the apparent magnitude of +10.1. The Little Dumbbell Nebula derives its common name from its resemblance to the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) in Vulpecula. It was originally thought to consist of two separate emission nebulae so bears New General Catalogue numbers NGC 650 and 651.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 54 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: November 3, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 8 January 2022

Alderamin (Alpha Cephei)

Here is a quick shot of the star called Alderamin (Alpha Cephei), the brightest star in the constellation Cepheus in the Northern Hemisphere. Due to the precession of the Earth, this star will eventually replace Polaris as the North Star in the year 7500 AD.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 5 x 30 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: 19 Sep 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 5 January 2022

Star Trails - 10.5 Hours

Here is a composite image containing 340 two-minute exposures using a Lensbaby Fisheye Lens. North is at the top, you can see Polaris making a very small arc. The images were stitched together using Startrails v2.1 by Achim Schaller.
Tech Specs: Rubbermaid Cake Keeper All-Sky Setup (Canon 6D, Lensbaby Fisheye Lens, ZWO AAP, Clear Plastic Dome and dew strap). 340 x 120 seconds at ISO 2000, untracked, no calibration frames. Image date: January 3-4, 2022. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - January 6, 2022

RELEASE DATE: 4 January 2022

Heart and Soul Nebula Mosaic

This two panel mosaic shows a wide field view of the Heart and Soul Nebula (IC 1805 and IC 1848). Each panel was a combined 150 minute exposure, the final mosaic stitched together using Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE). I also chose to process the image by removing the stars.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, Optolong L-eNhance 2" filter, 30 x 300 seconds at -10C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: September 26 and October 27, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).
Ceres_121221.mp4

RELEASE DATE: 1 January 2022

Dwarf Planet Ceres Observation

Ceres (minor-planet designation: 1 Ceres) is the largest object in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Ceres has a radius of just under 294 miles. The image shown shows Ceres in a stationary position and the stars moving, the image was processed to keep Ceres stationary and give an impression of how far it moved during this one hour and 40 minute combined exposure. The diffraction spikes on Ceres are caused by the design of the Ritchey-Chretien telescope.
The video clip shows the same time comparison and the movement of Ceres.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 100 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, stacked in DSS. Image Date: December 12, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 28 December 2021

Messier 38 - Open Cluster in Auriga

Messier 38 (M38 or NGC 1912) is a large open cluster found in the constellation Auriga. It lies at a distance of about 4,200 light years away from Earth and is about 13 light years across. Also included in this view is open cluster NGC 1907 to the left of M38.
Observation data (J2000.0 epoch)Constellation: AurigaRight ascension: 05h 28m 43sDeclination: +35° 51′ 18″Distance: 3,480 lyApparent magnitude (V): 7.4Apparent dimensions (V): 21′Other designations: NGC 1912
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 57 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: October 27, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 24 December 2021

Reflection Nebula GN 21.11.4

While imaging the planetary nebula called NGC 7048, I spotted this strange little thing in the corner of the frame. None of my software packages showed anything in the area, so I loaded up SIMBAD and it had a reflection nebula designated as GN 21.11.4. This is a very small cropped portion from my image of NGC 7048, and it is over-processed so you can see it better.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 54 x 60 second at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Image date: August 2, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 20 December 2021

Open Cluster NGC 1502 in Camelopardalis

NGC 1502 is a beautiful little open cluster in the constellation Camelopardalis, it contains about 45 stars.
Observation data (J2000 epoch)Constellation: CamelopardalisRight ascension: 04h 07.50mDeclination: +62° 19.9′Distance: 2,700 lyApparent magnitude (V): 6.9Apparent dimensions (V): 20 arcmin
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 57 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: October 27, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 17 December 2021

NGC 404 – Mirach’s Ghost in the Constellation Andromeda

Located near the bright star Mirach is the galaxy NGC 404. Lying so close to Mirach, a second magnitude star, has earned it the name "Mirach's Ghost".
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 85 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: October 27, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 15 December 2021

Comet C/2019 L3 (ATLAS)

Here is a quick view of Comet C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) while it was in the constellation Lynx on December 12, 2021. Not visible to the naked eye, it will pass closest to the Earth on January 10, 2022.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 56 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats, stacked in DSS. Image Date: December 12, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 14 December 2021

Geminid Meteor Shower

A few Geminid Meteors from last evening - much more to process!
Tech Specs: Canon 6D using a Lensbaby Fisheye Lens and controlled with a ZWO AAP via BlueStacks, 60 second exposures at ISO 2000. Processed in Corel PaintshopPro. Image Date: December 13, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 13 December 2021

The Moon - December 12, 2021

Last night’s moon, 69% illuminated.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. Best 20% of 2000 frames, stacked in Autostakkert, wavelets in Registax, final image in Corel Paintshop Pro. Image Date: December 12, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - December 14, 2021

RELEASE DATE: 11 December 2021

Open Cluster Messier 103 (M103)

This is the open cluster Messier 103 (M103) and is one of the most distant of the Messier open clusters at 9,000 light years away.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 60 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: October 27, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 8 December 2021

The Soul Nebula - IC1848

This large star forming region is called the Soul Nebula (or Embryo Nebula) and is found in the constellation Cassiopeia. This nebula is often shown next to the Heart Nebula (IC 1805). The Soul Nebula is about 6,500 light years away from Earth. The nebula contains several open clusters and there are few smaller emission nebulas around the perimeter. The star clusters are surrounded by hydrogen, which glows red from the young hot stars nearby.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, Optolong L-eNhance 2" filter, 30 x 300 seconds at -10C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: October 27, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 3 December 2021

Uranus, Titania and Oberon

Here is a quick image of the planet Uranus and two moons called Titania and Oberon.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 20 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: October 27, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 30 November 2021

A Starless Image of the Cygnus Wall

Here is a starless version of an area named The Cygnus Wall, it is actually part of the larger North America Nebula (the area that looks like Central America). The ridge is about 20 light years long and is a large star forming region. The starless image was created using the StarNet++ plugin with PixInsight.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, 49 x 300 seconds at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: July 30, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 27 November 2021

The Pleiades - Messier 45

The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45, are an open star cluster located in the constellation Taurus. Robert Burnham states in his Celestial Handbook, "undoubtedly the most famous galactic star cluster in the heavens, known and regarded with reverence since remote antiquity."
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 80 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image date: October 1, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - November 27, 2021

RELEASE DATE: 24 November 2021

The Triangulum Galaxy - Messier 33

From Wikipedia: The Triangulum Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 3 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Triangulum. It is catalogued as Messier 33 or NGC 598. The Triangulum Galaxy is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy and about 44 other smaller galaxies. It is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed with the naked eye.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 171 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image date: October 1, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 21 November 2021

The Perseus Double Cluster

Here is a view of the famous double cluster in the constellation Perseus (between Perseus and Cassiopeia), they are also designated NGC 869 and NGC 884. Check out the red supergiants in this view! Did you know that the Perseus Double Cluster is surrounded by one of the largest concentrations of red supergiants stars in the sky? (Red supergiants, neutrinos and the Double Cluster, Tristram Brelstafff, 1996)
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 60 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Two panel mosaic imaged on 9/26/21 and 10/01/21. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 19 November 2021

Partial Lunar Eclipse

Last night’s partial lunar eclipse from Weatherly, PA in a higher resolution. What a great show!
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071, ZWO EAF, and ZWO AAP. Captured using SharpCap Pro, processed in Autostakkert and Registax, best 20% or 500 frames captured at 4944 x 3284. Image date: November 19, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 17 November 2021

The Heart Nebula - IC1805

The Heart Nebula (IC 1805) lies about 7,500 light years away from Earth in the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. The brightest part of the nebula (a knot at its western edge) is separately classified as NGC 896, because it was the first part of the nebula to be discovered. The nebula's intense red output and its morphology are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars near the nebula's center. This open cluster of stars, known as Melotte 15, contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, and many more dim stars that are only a fraction of our Sun's mass. The Heart Nebula is located adjacent to the Soul Nebula forming a view referred to as the Heart and Soul Nebula.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, Optolong L-eNhance 2" filter, 30 x 300 seconds at -10C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: September 26, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 14 November 2021

Messier 11 - The Wild Duck Cluster

Here is a view of the open cluster called the Wild Duck Cluster (Messier 11, M11, NGC 6705) in the constellation Scutum. One of the nicest open clusters in the Northern skies. It has a magnitude of 6.3 and contains an estimated 2900+ stars. The cluster lies between us and the Scutum galactic cloud. The dark areas in the image are actually obscured by dust and gas.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 60 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: September 24, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 12 November 2021

66% Illuminated Moon

Tonight’s moon (Nov 12, 2021) currently 66% illuminated, two panel mosaic.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071, ZWO EAF. Captured in SharpCap Pro, processed in Autostakkert and Registax, two panel mosaic. Image date: November 12, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 11 November 2021

NGC 663 - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia

Here is a view of the open cluster NGC 663 (also known as Caldwell 10), a young cluster of about 400 stars in Cassiopeia. Two other NGC clusters are also in this view, NGC 654 to the left and NGC 659 to the right.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 40 x 30 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: September 26, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 9 November 2021

Omega Nebula and Black Swan Cluster

Here is a wide field image of the Omega Nebula, Messier 17 (M17) found in the constellation Sagittarius. It has been called the brightest and most massive star-forming region of our galaxy. The Black Swan Cluster (M18), also makes an appearance as the small grouping of stars below and to the right of M17.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, 18 x 300 seconds at 0C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: August 4, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4 zone).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - November 10, 2021

RELEASE DATE: 7 November 2021

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Here is a view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it is making its way through the constellation Gemini. Closest approach to Earth will be on the 11th and 12th of November 2021.
Tech Specs: Orion 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 60 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Stacked in DSS and processed with PixInsight. Image Date: November 6, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 6 November 2021

Jupiter and Saturn in the Southern Sky

Jupiter and Saturn in the southern skies from my backyard in Weatherly, Pennsylvania. Both planets highlighted for effect, still a little color left on the trees.
Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF17-40mm, ISO 3200, 20 seconds, f/4, 19mm, tripod mounted, trees highlighted by light painting. Image date: November 4, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 5 November 2021

IC 5070 - The Pelican Nebula

From Wikipedia: The Pelican Nebula (also known as IC 5070 and IC 5067) is an H II region associated with the North America Nebula in the constellation Cygnus. The gaseous contortions of this emission nebula bear a resemblance to a pelican, giving rise to its name. The Pelican Nebula is located nearby first magnitude star Deneb, and is divided from its more prominent neighbor, the North America Nebula, by a molecular cloud filled with dark dust.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, 51 x 300 seconds at 0C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: August 4, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 2 November 2021

Globular Cluster Palomar 13

The Palomar Globular Clusters are a unique and challenging list of 15 very faint globular clusters. Most of these were only found after scrutinizing plates from the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS). If you look closely at my image, you will see a collection of stars in the center, this is the globular cluster designated Palomar 13.
Magnitude: 13.80Constellation: PegasusRA (J2000): 23h 06m 44.9sDec (J2000): +12° 46' 17"Size (mins): 1.5
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 95 x 60 second at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Image date: July 30, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 30 October 2021

Neptune and Triton

Here is a wide field view of the planet Neptune and the moon Triton (right in the center of the image). The orange/red giant star near the center of the image is HD 221148 (magnitude is 6.26).
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 15 x 30 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: September 24, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 28 October 2021

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Here is a view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it is making its way through the constellation Gemini. Closest approach to Earth will be on 11/12 November 2021.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. 82 x 60 seconds at -10C plus darks and flats. Image Date: October 27, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 25 October 2021

The Ghost of Cassiopeia - Widefield

IC 59 and IC 63 are found in the constellation Cassiopeia very near the bright star Gamma Cassiopeia. This set of objects is also known as the Ghost of Cassiopeia. Gamma Cassiopeia also has the informal nickname of Navi. The “IC” designation comes from a group of objects discovered between 1888 and 1907, most made possible by photography, and known as the Index Catalogue.
These nebulae are a combination of emission and reflection, they are located about 610 light years from Earth and are about 10 light years across. Gamma Cassiopeia provides the radiation to light up this area of dust and gas, eventually dissipating the area.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, 36 x 300 seconds at 0C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: August 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 20 October 2021

Nearly Full Moon - October 19, 2021

Last night’s nearly full moon.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. Captured at 3704 x 2462, 578 frames, top 20% stacked and processed. Image Date: October 19, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 19 October 2021

IC1396 Elephant Trunk Nebula in False SHO

This is the faint emission nebula designated as IC 1396 in the constellation Cepheus. This region is energized by the bright, bluish central multiple star HD 206267. You can see the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula, IC 1396A, on the lower edge of this image. This has been processed using false SHO (Hubble Palette) in PixInsight. From NASA APOD, “Stars could still be forming inside the dark shapes by gravitational collapse. But as the denser clouds are eroded away by powerful stellar winds and radiation, any forming stars will ultimately be cutoff from the reservoir of star stuff.”
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, 36 x 300 seconds at 0C with darks from the library and flats taken the next morning, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: August 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4 zone).

RELEASE DATE: 17 October 2021

Jupiter - October 13, 2021

Here is a quick capture of the planet Jupiter and an overexposed image of Jupiter on the top showing the four Galilean moons.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC, and ZWO EAF, Televue 1.5x Barlow. Captured in SharpCap Pro, processed in Autostakkert and Registax, top image single 3-second exposure, bottom image is best 20% of 9000 frames. Image date: October 13, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 15 October 2021

Saturn and Seven Moon - October 13, 2021

Here is a quick capture of the planet Saturn and an overexposed image of Saturn capturing seven of the planet's brighter moons.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC, and ZWO EAF, Televue 1.5x Barlow. Captured in SharpCap Pro, processed in Autostakkert and Registax, top image single 5-second exposure, bottom image is best 20% of 9000 frames. Image date: October 13, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 14 October 2021

The Moon - October 13, 2021

Here is a view of last evening’s 60% illuminated moon shot through some heavy fog.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC, and ZWO EAF. Captured in SharpCap Pro, processed in Autostakkert and Registax, four panel mosaic. Image date: October 13, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 13 October 2021

Globular Cluster Messier 15 in Pegasus

Messier 15 (M15 or NGC 7078) is a bright globular cluster located in the constellation Pegasus. The age of this cluster is estimated to be 12 billion years, ranking it as one of the oldest known globular clusters.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 32 x 60 second at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Image date: August 2, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - October 14, 2021

RELEASE DATE: 10 October 2021

The Dumbbell Nebula - Messier 27

The Dumbbell Nebula (Messier 27, M27 or NGC 6853) is a bright planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula. It is easily seen in binoculars and wide-field photographs. The central star is an extremely hot blueish subdwarf. The nebula was created by the dying star ejecting a shell of gas into space.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 25 x 60 second at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Image date: July 26, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 7 October 2021

Gamma Cygni Nebula - Sadr Region

Here is a wide field view of the Gamma Cygni Nebula (Sadr Region) in the constellation Cygnus. The bright star in the middle of the image is the star Sadr, the central star in the Northern Cross asterism (inside the constellation Cygnus). While it looks like Sadr is buried inside the nebula complex, it is not. Sadr is about 1,800 light years away while the nebula is about 4,900 light years away. On the far right edge you can see the open cluster IC 1311 which I hope to image soon.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, 33 x 300 seconds at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: August 2, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 4 October 2021

Campbell’s Hydrogen Star

I found this object to be interesting, although not very photogenic. The reddish-orange “star” in the central part of the image is called Campbell’s Hydrogen Star. Astronomer William Wallace Campbell spotted this unusual star-like object through a visual spectroscope at Lick Observatory in 1893. He could tell immediately from its spectrum that, despite its stellar appearance, he was not seeing an ordinary star at all. Instead, he had spotted an uncharted planetary nebula. With some extreme processing, I could make out the small reddish disk, but no central star.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 48 x 60 second at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Image date: August 2, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 30 September 2021

Planetary Nebula NGC 7048

This is the planetary nebula NGC 7048 found in the constellation Cygnus. This planetary nebula has an apparent magnitude of 12.1 and is about 5,260 light years away.
Observation data: J2000 epochRight ascension: 24h 14m 15.25sDeclination: +46° 17′ 16.1″Distance: 5260 lyApparent magnitude (V): 12.1Apparent diameter: 1.02′Constellation: CygnusDesignations: PK 088-01 1, PN ARO 41, IRAS 21124+4604
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 54 x 60 second at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Image date: August 2, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 27 September 2021

Jupiter in Two Views

Testing some new equipment - here is Jupiter on September 24, 2021. Jupiter’s moons from left to right are Ganymede, Io, Europa and Callisto.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC and ASI071MC-Pro, ZWO AAPlus, ZWO EAF. Image date: September 24, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - September 28, 2021


RELEASE DATE: 24 September 2021

Veil Nebula Complex in Cygnus

Here is a wide field view of the Veil Nebula Complex found in the constellation Cygnus. This is the remnants of a supernova that is about 1,470 light years from Earth and nearly 50 light years across. The Veil Nebula Complex has about two dozen components that have their own designations including the Eastern Veil, Western Veil, The Funnel, Pickering’s Triangle and more.
Observation data: J2000.0 epochRight ascension: 20h 45m 38.0s[1]Declination: +30° 42′ 30″[1]Distance: 1470 lyApparent magnitude (V): 7.0Apparent dimensions (V): 3 degrees (diameter)Constellation: CygnusDesignations: NGC 6960, 6992, 6995, 6974, and 6979, IC 1340, Cygnus Loop, Cirrus Nebula, Filamentary Nebula, Witch's Broom Nebula (NGC 6960), Caldwell 33/34.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, 36 x 300 seconds at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: August 2, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 20 September 2021

Jupiter and Saturn from September 19, 2021

Jupiter and Saturn from September 19, 2021, just a quick 30-second video capture of each testing out the ZWO AAP for video capture. You can see Europa in transit on Jupiter.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI290MC. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using Autostakkert and Registax. Image date: September 19, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 17 September 2021

North American Nebula in Cygnus - NGC 7000

The North America Nebula (NGC 7000) is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus. Can you see how it looks like the North American continent complete with a prominent Gulf of Mexico? The name “North America Nebula” was coined by Dr. Max Wolf (ref: Burnham’s Celestial Handbook, Volume 2, by Robert Burnham Jr.) no doubt from his work with E.E. Barnard on dark nebulae. No summer imaging session is complete without putting a little bit of time on this deep space object.
The North America Nebula covers a region more than ten times the area of the full moon, but its surface brightness is low, so normally it cannot be seen with the unaided eye (Wikipedia).
Observation data: J2000.0 epochRight ascension: 20h 59m 17.1sDeclination: +44° 31′ 44″Distance: 2,590 ± 80 lyApparent magnitude (V): 4Apparent dimensions (V): 120 × 100 arcminConstellation: CygnusDesignations: NGC 7000, Sharpless 117, Caldwell 20
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, 49 x 300 seconds at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: July 30, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 5 September 2021

Lagoon and Trifid Nebula in Sagittarius

First light with the ZWO ASI2600MC-P and I targeted the Lagoon and Trifid Nebula region of Sagittarius using the Williams Optics REDCAT. When looking in this region, you are looking into the center of the Milky Way, our galaxy. The Trifid Nebula (blue and red nebula) is near the top and is also known as Messier 20 (M20). The Lagoon Nebula is the largest nebula in this view and is also known as Messier 8 (M8). Several star clusters are also in view including Messier 21 (M21) to the upper left of the Trifid Nebula.
This was also the first test using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT Mount for autofocus on the Williams Optics Redcat using the ZWO EAF, worked like a charm.
Tech Specs: Williams Optics Redcat, Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount, ZWO ASI2600MC-P camera, Optolong L-eNhance 2" filter, 19 x 300 seconds at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO 30mm f/4 mini guide scope and ZWO 120 Mini. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Autofocus using the ProAstroGear Black-CAT and ZWO EAF. Image date: July 30, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 31 August 2021

Planetary Nebula NGC 6781

NGC 6781 is a planetary nebula a few thousand light years away in the constellation Aquila. The planetary nebula is about two light-years across. Within NGC 6781, shells of gas blown off from the faint, but very hot, central star’s surface expand out into space. These shells shine under the harsh ultraviolet radiation from the progenitor star in intricate and beautiful patterns. The central star will steadily cool down and darken, eventually disappearing from view into cosmic oblivion (https://www.eso.org/public/images/ngc6781-potw/).
These nebulae are formed when a star begins reaching its end of life. The star begins throwing off shells of gas that expand away from the star. This forms a ring of hot ionized gas that we see as a planetary nebula. If you look closely, you can see a small blue star in the center of the nebula, this is the star that created the nebula.
Location:Right Ascension (J2000) 19h 18m 28sDeclination (J2000) +06° 32’ 22”Visual Magnitude: 11.8
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 56 x 60 second at 0C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Image date: July 30, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 28 August 2021

Globular Cluster NGC 7006

From SpaceTelescope.org, “NGC 7006 resides in the outskirts of the Milky Way. It is about 135,000 light-years away, five times the distance between the Sun and the center of the galaxy, and it is part of the galactic halo. This roughly spherical region of the Milky Way is made up of dark matter, gas and sparsely distributed stellar clusters.”
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 28 x 60 second at -10C with darks and flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using ZWO AAP and processed using PixInsight. Image date: July 28, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 25 August 2021

Globular Cluster NGC 6934 in Delphinus

Here is a view of the globular cluster NGC 6934 in the constellation Delphinus. It is about 54,000 light years away from Earth.
Observation data (J2000 epoch)Class: VIIIConstellation: DelphinusRight ascension: 20h 34m 11.37sDeclination: +07° 24′ 16.1″Distance: 52 kly (16 kpc)Apparent magnitude (V): 8.83
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, ZWO AAP, 75 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Image date: June 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 21 August 2021

Elliptical Galaxy Messier 59 (M59)

Messier 59 (also known as M99 or NGC 4621) is an elliptical galaxy about 50 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo. This galaxy has many globular clusters: estimated to be about 2,300. This is far more than the roughly 200 orbiting the Milky Way, but dwarfed by the 13,450 orbiting the supergiant elliptical galaxy Messier 87. Lot’s of background galaxies in this view including NGC 4606 and NGC 4607 in the upper left corner and NGC 4638 and NGC 4637 in the lower right corner.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 75 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: June 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 18 August 2021

Arp 286 Trio in the Constellation Virgo

Here is a trio of interacting galaxies almost 90 million light-years away, toward the constellation Virgo. NGC 5566, the largest galaxy in this image, is HUGE, about 150,000 light-years across. Just below it is NGC 5569. To the upper left is the third galaxy, NGC 5560, stretched and distorted by its interaction with NGC 5566. The galaxy trio is also included in Halton Arp's 1966 Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as Arp 286.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 72 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: June 6, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 15 August 2021

Elliptical Galaxy Messier 49 (M49)

Messier 49 (also known as M49 or NGC 4472) is a giant elliptical galaxy about 56 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo. This galaxy has many globular clusters: estimated to be about 5,900. This is far more than the roughly 200 orbiting the Milky Way, but dwarfed by the 13,450 orbiting the supergiant elliptical galaxy Messier 87. Lot’s of background galaxies in this view down to roughly the 14th magnitude.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 60 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: June 6, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 12 August 2021

Fireworks and an Open Cluster

NGC 6946, sometimes referred to as the Fireworks Galaxy, is a face-on intermediate spiral galaxy with a small bright nucleus, whose location in the sky straddles the boundary between the northern constellations of Cepheus and Cygnus. Its distance from Earth is about 25.2 million light-years. NGC 6939 is an open cluster and is located 4,000 light-years from our solar system.
NGC 6946 also appears in Arps Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as ARP 29. It was placed in the “Peculiar Galaxy” category since it has one spiral arm that is larger than the others.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 60 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: May 31, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 9 August 2021

Open Cluster NGC 6802

Open cluster NGC 6802 is found in the constellation Vulpecula. If you are familiar with Brocchi’s Cluster (The Coat Hanger), this open cluster resides just to the side of it. Robert Burnham lists this cluster at a magnitude of 11 and containing about 60 stars.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 60 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: May 31, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 5 August 2021

Elliptical Galaxy Messier 60 (M60) ARP 116

Messier 60 or M60, also known as NGC 4649, is an elliptical galaxy approximately 57 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo. Together with NGC 4647, a spiral galaxy, it forms a pair known as Arp 116.
The Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies is a catalog of peculiar galaxies produced by Halton Arp in 1966. A total of 338 galaxies are presented in the atlas, which was originally published in 1966 by the California Institute of Technology. The primary goal of the catalog was to present photographs of examples of the different kinds of peculiar structures found among galaxies.
A 2012 Hubble image of this galaxy seems to confirm they are indeed interacting with each other.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 95 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: May 31, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

FLICK EXPLORER IMAGE OF THE DAY - August 6, 2021

RELEASE DATE: 2 August 2021

The Fox Head Cluster - NGC 6819

This is the open cluster NGC 6819 located in the constellation Cygnus. I have seen references calling the cluster the Fox Head Cluster, personally I just don’t see a fox head in this. It is about 7,200 light years away from Earth and has a visual magnitude of 7.3, thus you’ll need a small pair of binoculars to enjoy this jewel.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 44 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: May 17, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 29 July 2021

Wide Field of Globular Cluster Messier 13 (M13)

Messier 13, also referred to as the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, is one of the brightest and best known globular clusters in the northern skies. It shines at a magnitude of 5.8, is about 22,200 light years away and contains an estimated 300,000 stars.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 44 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: May 17, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 25 July 2021

Open Cluster Messier 29 (M29)

This is the open cluster Messier 29 (M29 or NGC 6913) and is found near the star Sadr, the center star of the Northern Cross asterism (in the constellation Cygnus). It is a rich field of sky where the Northern Milky Way passes directly through. M29. It has an apparent magnitude of 7.1 and is about 4,000 light years away. I think M29 looks like a tiny version of the Pleiades cluster.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 53 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: May 13, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 21 July 2021

The LEO Triplet - M65, M66 and NGC 3628

The Leo Triplet is a small group of galaxies in the constellation Leo and include Messier 65 (M65), Messier 66 (M66) and NGC 3628 (a beautiful edge-on spiral galaxy). The trio is estimated to be some 30-million light-years away. In this image, M65 is in the upper right, M66 in the lower right and NGC 3628 on the left.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 121 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: May 13, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 18 July 2021

Galaxy Messier 90 (NGC 4569, Arp 76)

M90 (NGC 4569, Arp 76, UGC 7786 and others) is an intermediate spiral galaxy located approximately 58 million light-years away in Virgo. Halton Arp included M90 in his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as Arp 76, describing the galaxy as a “Spiral with a High Surface Brightness Companion.” He may have been talking about the galaxy IC 3583, the irregular-looking galaxy to the left of M90.
Observation data (Epoch J2000):Constellation: VirgoRight ascension: 12h 36m 49.8sDeclination: +13° 09′ 46″Apparent dimension (V): 9.5’ × 4.4’Apparent magnitude (V): 10.26
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at 0C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 81 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro. Image date: May 13, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 15 July 2021

Open Cluster Messier 67

Messier 67 (also known as M67 or NGC 2682) is an open cluster in the constellation of Cancer. It has the nickname King Cobra cluster, not sure where that name came from but would love to know. The cluster is about 2,800 light-years away from Earth. From Burnham's Celestial Handbook, Volume 1, "It is a compact group, some 15' in diameter, and containing 500 or more members, from the 10th to the 16th magnitudes."
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at -20C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 15 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro running v1.5 Beta software. Image date: April 4, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 11 July 2021

Leo I Dwarf Galaxy

Leo I is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy in the constellation Leo. At about 820,000 light-years distant, it is a member of the Local Group of galaxies and is thought to be one of the most distant satellites of the Milky Way galaxy. Can you see the little blurry object to the right of Regulus? That is the Leo I dwarf galaxy. I previously imaged this using the Meade 12” and wanted to try out the Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED on the same target.
Tech Specs: Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro running at -20C, Celestron CGEM-DX Mount Pier Mounted, ZWO EAF, 18 x 60 second exposures with dark/flat frames, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope, controlled with a ZWO ASIAir Pro running v1.5 Beta software. Image date: April 7, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle 4 Zone).

RELEASE DATE: 8 July 2021

Galaxy Messier 95 (M95)

Messier 95 (also known as M95 or NGC 3351) is a barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation Leo, it is about 33 million light-years away from Earth. M95 has a magnitude of 9.7 and has around 40 billion stars.
Its spiral arms host a flurry of star birth activity and sparkle with the light of countless young, blue stars. The arms themselves are very tightly wound around the galaxy’s core and are nearly circular (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2018/messier-95).
M95 is one of several galaxies within the M96 Group, a group of galaxies in the constellation Leo, the other Messier objects of which are M96 and M105.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 67 x 60 second at -10C, 30 darks and 30 flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using Sequence Generator Pro and processed using PixInsight. Image date: April 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 2 July 2021

Elliptical Galaxy Messier 86 (M86)

Messier 86 (also known as M86 or NGC 4406) is an elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo. Messier 86 is linked by several filaments of ionized gas to the severely disrupted spiral galaxy NGC 4438 (on the right side of my image), indicating that M86 may have stripped some gas and interstellar dust from the spiral. Messier 86 has a rich array of globular clusters, with a total number of around 3,800. Its halo also has a number of stellar streams interpreted as remnants of dwarf galaxies that have been disrupted and absorbed by this galaxy. (ref: Wikipedia).
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 67 x 60 second at -10C, 30 darks and 30 flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using Sequence Generator Pro and processed using PixInsight. Image date: April 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).

RELEASE DATE: 29 June 2021

Hercules Globular Cluster Messier 13

Messier 13, also referred to as the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, is one of the brightest and best known globular clusters in the northern skies. It shines at a magnitude of 5.8, is about 22,200 light years away and contains an estimated 300,000 stars.
Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX-90, Celestron CGEM-DX pier mounted, ZWO ASI071mc-Pro, Antares Focal Reducer, 98 x 60 second at -10C, 30 darks and 30 flats, guided using a ZWO ASI290MC and Orion 60mm guide scope. Captured using Sequence Generator Pro and processed using PixInsight. Image date: April 5, 2021. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA, USA (Bortle Class 4).