M51: the Whirlpool Galaxy in Canes Venatici

This is a famous sight: Messier 51, also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy (not hard to see why!) in the Hounting Dogs constellation (Canes Venatici).

I remember being able first time ever to see this galaxy with 8×40 binoculars when I was 14. That was a major achievement back then.  We spent the night under the stars in April with three friends, and as the spring sky is not very rewarding to binocular users, at least this one made our hearts beat faster.

In this picture, images from last year in April are combined with images from February 15th, 2018. All are taken with the C11, Nikon D750 and now in February with the ASI174MM as a guiding camera, replacing the Lacerta MGEN for off-axis guiding work.

The ASI174MM has delivered every time since it’s purchase in January a decent guiding star. With PHD combined with BackYardNikon the guiding goes excellent.

https://www.astrobin.com/full/336520/C   M51, a distant galaxy at 31 million light years

 

 

 

 

M65 and M66 in Leo

These galaxies prove to be a real challenge.  I gathered data to make some details visible in these fluffy patches in the empty spaces around Leo. We ‘re looking deep into our  universe.  Picture taken with the C11 and Nikon D750

The famous Pleiades and their environment

Since September the sun has barely appear in our skies and the same is true for stars. So there were only three clear nights without a Moon, all three of which I was so lucky to image the sky. On December 16th I could do this picture with the well-known Pleiades, in a wide field setup.

I used the EQ8 with the old Nikkor 180mm F2.8 ED unguided. An IDAS 2″ filter in front of the objective was used resulting in an effective F/ratio of 3.8.

20 frames of 300″ were stacked and processed by Jean Lammertyn in PI.

M45 (c) Joost Verheyden & Jean Lammertyn Lots of stuff can be seen on this picture: not only the Pleiades (“Seven Sisters, daughters of Atlas) and their surrounding blue reflection nebula, but also the “Interstellar Flux Nebula” of IFN, which is all of the dusty filaments in grey that almost fill the picture, these nebula do emmit light themselves, but merely refelect light from nearby stars.  Some red patches of luminous hydrogen gas show up. I’m happy that with a limited integration time, this kind of result is possible from Hoegaarden. Earlier attempts in processing from my side were not nearly as good as this one! Thanks Jean.