Tadpoles in the Cosmic Pond: IC 410 and NGC 1893

In the constellation Auriga on clear winter nights one can find the open cluster NGC 1893 embedded in the emission nebula IC 410. While NGC 1893 can be observed visually using a telescope with proper aperture the faint nebula IC 410 is a real hard case for the visual observer and much easier to catch by photography. Due to some smaller but prominent star formation regions the nebula IC 410 is nicknamed as the "tadpole nebula". IC 410 was discovered on September 25, 1892 by the (german) astronomer Max Wolf (June 21, 1863 - October 3, 1932) while the open cluster NGC 1893 was discovered already earlier on January 22, 1827 by the (british) astronomer John Herschel (Mar 7, 1792 - May 11, 1871).


IC 410 and NGC 1893, camera Atik 460EXmono, optics Lacerta Newton f=1000mm f/4, 2023-02-08, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

What can be seen in the image is what cannot be seen visually through a telescope. The image is presented in false colors resulting from an (amongst astro-photographers widely known) image acquisition technique using narrow band filters.

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Comet C2022 E3 ZTF in February 2023

The comet C/2022 E3 ZTF was recently visible on February, 7th from Bad Kreuznach, Germany, where the nights before were mostly overcast since the beginning of the year 2023. The comet was discovered in March 2022 by a professional wide-field survey observatory, the Zwicky Transient Facility as indicated by its name. The comet passed perihelion (closest approach to sun) on January 12th, 2023 and ran through the perigee (closes approximation to Earth) on February 1st, 2023 when it also reached its maximum apparent brightness of roughly 5 magnitudes. Thus in an urban area it could not be seen by the naked eye the moon being close to full around that date. The following image was captured shortly after the perigee passage on February 7th, 2023 at night.


Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF, 2023-02-07 around 21h UTC, 19x120s RGB, 3x300s RGB for background, setup: Atik 460EXmono, Lacerta Newton 10"f/4, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

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The globular cluster M13 in constellation Hercules - and a telescope first light

M13 ist probably one of the most well known globular clusters of the northern hemisphere and very simple to find in the constellation Hercules. When it is comfortably warm in the northern hemisphere in spring and early summer the cluster stands high in the sky and is a popular object for observation. For its high stellar density and apparent brightness astronomical photographers often choose it as a reference object to test a new optical setup for its image quality. This was my major motivation for this image, too. In the end the result was convincing and I chose to present it on this page.


Image data: M13 and surrounding f=430mm, f/3.3 20x180s, 30x120s, 30x60s als HDR

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Markarian Chain and Virgo Galaxy

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.


Markarian Chain and Virgo Galaxy, telescope Skopos f=560x0,8=448mm @f/5.6, Camera Atik 460EXM, 14/26/24/46x300s LRGB

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Leo-1 Dwarf Galaxy (PGC 29488, UGC 5470)

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.


Leo-1 Dwarf galaxy, PGC24988, telescope Skopos f=560x0,8=448mm @f/5.6, Camera Atik 460EXM, 14/26/24/46x300s LRGB

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"Whale" Galaxie NGC 4631 and "Hockestick/Crowbar" Galaxie NGC 4656/4657

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.


Bilddaten: "Wal"-Galaxie NGC 4631 und "Hockeyschläger"-Galaxie NGC 4656, Teleskop Skopos f=560x0,8=448mm @f/5.6, Camera Atik 460EXM, 38/25/24/34x300s LRGB

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NGC 2237 The Rosette Nebula

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.


Imgage data: Telescope Skopos f=560x0,8=448mm @f/5.6, Camera Atik 460EXM, 17x600s Ha, 12X600s O[III], 51/52/53x120s RGB

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Revealing Asteroid (4)Vesta

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":


Image Data: Telescope Scopos 80, f=560mm, f/7, Camera Canon EOS60Da, 2021-02-14_02h21-4h50UTC

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NGC 300

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.


Image data: telescope Takahashi FSQ106ED @f/5, Camera Atik 460EXM, L: 28x600s, Ha: 6x600s, RGB 6x300s per channel, Atik 460EXM, September 2019, Farm Tivoli, Namibia

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