M13 ist der wohl bekannteste Kugelsternhaufen des Nordhimmels und einfach zu finden im Sternbild Herkules. Im Frühjahr und angenehm warmen Frühsommer steht er in der ersten Nachthälfte in Deutschland sehr hoch und ist damit ein beliebtes Beobachtungsobjekt. Wegen seiner hohen Sterndichte hohen scheinbaren Helligkeit wird er von Astrofotografen außerdem gerne als Referenz benutzt, um einer neuen Optik das erste Mal genauer auf den Zahn zu fühlen. So war auch meine Motivation für dieses Bild. Das Ergebnis hat mich dann aber so geflashed, dass ich es hier vorstellen möchte:
The Markarian Chain is a group of galaxies in the Virgo galaxy cluster. The association is named after the Armenien astrophysicist Benjamin Markarian who studied them in the 1970s.
What is this diffuse spot close to Regulus, the main star in constellation Leo? These thoughts were not pondered by a famous discoverer but by myself while looking for deep sky object around constellation Leo worthwhile for a longer shooting session. I used the planetarium software Stellarium at that time. And the faint spot had never come across to me as a prominent object until that moment. There was no special catalogue identifier or label visible although the object appeared to be extended and not too dim.
With this picture we dive into the constellation Canes Venatici. The galaxy NGC 4631 on the left half of the image is known as whale galaxy while NGC 4656 and NGC 4657 on the right half of the image pane are known as hockey-stick or crowbar galaxy. The elongated part is catalogued as NGC 4656 while the smaller angled end is NGC 4657.
The rosette nebula NGC 2237 is a H-II emission region in the constellation monoceros (unicorn). Its distance to our solar system was measured to be roughly 5.200 light years and its diameter to about 130 light years. A mass estimate yields approximately 10.000 solar masses.
Have you ever been sitting at your computer playing with the planetarium program where you can load the current orbits of thousands of asteroid by a mouse click? And yes, they all line up nicely on the screen then, in denser swarms around the ecliptic - as one would expect since many are fragments within our planetary disc around the sun. But when looking at the sky at night - are they really out there? Or are they just propaganda to drive space agencies observation programs? Let's check that ourselves with an object that should be nominally easy to find: the asteroid (4) Vesta is one of the larger pieces and therefore brighter and easy to detect even with a binocular. Since I had time and gas nebula could not be easily imaged in the early morning hours from my location in February, I used the opportunity and pointed my telescope at Vesta which should be wandering through the constellation Lion this morning (according to a button press result in my sky charts program). The observations were all done by the camera and the mount automatically and assembling the frames reveals the "trojan star":
NGC 300 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor in a distance of roughly 6 million light years. It's appearance with hydrogen-alpha emission areas indicating star formation activities resembles one of our nearest neighbor galaxies, the triangulum galaxy M33 in approx. 2.7 Mio. light years distance.
The Tarantula Nebula NGC 2070 (Object No. 2070 in the New General Catalogue) can be found within the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) in the constellation Dorado.