Amateur Astronomy from Edinburgh2021-09-21T10:36:53+00:00

Forthimage – Amateur Astronomy from Edinburgh

This website is a place where I can post my images purely for the fun of it. You can find more information about the equipment I use on the About/Equipment page. To give me something to aim for, I have set up pages to get as many Messier and Lunar 100 objects as I can. The Deep Sky page is for objects not in Messier’s catalogue and includes some more recent lists such as the Caldwell and Finest NGC catalogues.

Light pollution is a serious problem for amateur astronomy here on the edge of Edinburgh, Scotland, so this is a battle of photons vs sodium! Please come back and visit as the site develops, I make lots of mistakes, the weather gets worse and the skies get brighter.

I am currently President and Webmaster of the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh and some of my pictures are displayed on their Flickr page. I also contribute data to the HOYS citizen science project, ExoClock and the BAA Mars section.

Mark Phillips

Recent posts

NGC 7822 narrowband

6 December 2021|Nebula, News, NGC Autumn|

Homebrew false colour palette to help bring out the different regions. Interesting “pillars of creation” shown in the inset. Not the famous ones in the Eagle Nebula, but this object, along with the Elephant trunk nebula, also have similar features. A young star forming region in Cepheus, contains Sh2-171 and cluster Berkley 59.
It contains one of the hottest known local stars (marked) BD+66°1673, a O5V eclipsing binary. This star illuminates much of this nebula and forms the “pillars”. It is 45,000K and 100,000 time more luminous than the Sun.

Object IDNGC 7822, Sh2-171, Berkeley 59
DetailsEmission nebula
Cygnus
2021-12-05
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
Tri-band
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)20x300s
d,f,b
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop

Sh2-237 and IC417 Spider and Fly Nebulae

5 December 2021|Nebula, News, NGC Autumn|

Another Sh2 object. Clouds stopped imaging so only 8 captured.

Object IDSH2-237 (left-fly) IC 417 (right-spider)
Spider and Fly nebulae
DetailsNebulae, Auriga
2021-12-01
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
Tri-band
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)8x300s
d,f,b
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop

NGC 7538 Tri-band

26 November 2021|Nebula, News, NGC Summer, Open Cluster|

Looking for more obscure objects again. This is a young star forming region, contains masers too. Very close to the Bubble Nebula but just across the constellation boundary in Cepheus. In the Perseus arm of the Milky Way.

Object IDNGC 7538
DetailsOpen Cluster and Nebula
Cepheus
2021-11-24
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
Tri-band
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)28x300s
d,f,b
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop

NGC 6939 & NGC 6946 / C12 Fireworks Galaxy

24 November 2021|Galaxy, News, NGC Summer, Open Cluster|

Cepheus near the border with Cygnus. Bright Moonlight causing some background gradients.

NGC 6939, discovered by William Herschel of course, is quite old for an Open Cluster, between 1 and 1.3 billion years. It also lies about 400 parsecs above the galactic plane, a little unusual for Open Clusters as they are usually within the plane of the galaxy, hence the alternative name of Galactic Clusters.

NGC 6946 (also discovered by William Herschel) is about 25 million light years away and resides in the Virgo Supercluster. It’s known as the Fireworks Galaxy because it seems to be a hive of supernovae; ten have been observed in the 20th and 21st centuries alone. This is about 10 times the rate observed in our own galaxy, even though the Milky Way has twice as many stars. In fact more supernovae have been observed in this galaxy than any other.

During 2009, a bright star within NGC 6946 flared up over several months to become over one million times as bright as the Sun. Shortly thereafter it faded rapidly. Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that the star did not survive, although there remains some infrared emission from its position. This is thought to come from debris falling onto a black hole that formed when the star died. This potential black hole-forming star is designated N6946-BH1. The progenitor is believed to have been a yellow hypergiant star. Wikipedia

Object IDNGC6939 & NGC 6946 / C12 Fireworks Galaxy
DetailsGalaxy and Open Cluster
Cepheus
2021-11-20
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
Tri-band
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)25x300s
d,f,b
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop

IC5070 Pelican Nebula in narrowband

24 November 2021|Nebula, News, NGC Summer|

A star forming region I often image for the HOYS project. Bright moonlight but narrowband keeps most of it out of the image.

Object IDIC5070 Pelican Nebula
DetailsEmission nebula
Cygnus
2021-11-20
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
Tri-band
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)30x300s
d,f,b
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop

The Tribble Nebulae NGC1624/Sh2-212 and Sh2-211

16 November 2021|Dark nebula, Nebula, News, NGC Autumn, Open Cluster|

An obscure one in Perseus. The larger is open cluster inside an emission nebula NGC 1624, also known as emission nebula Sh2-212, the smaller Sh2-211. Now known as the Tribble Nebulae after “Star Trek: The Trouble with Tribbles”. The dark patch top right is the dark nebula Barnard 20.

Object IDThe Tribble Nebulae NGC1624/Sh2-212 and Sh2-211
Dark nebula Barnard 20
DetailsOpen Clusters
Emission nebulae
Perseus
2021-11-12
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
Tri-band
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)15x300s
d,f,b
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
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Double Cluster NGC 869 and NGC 884 / C14

16 November 2021|Caldwell, News, NGC Autumn, Open Cluster|

Revisiting an old friend. Two rich open clusters at similar distances from us of 7,500 light years.

Object IDDouble Cluster NGC 869 and NGC 884 / C14
DetailsOpen Clusters
Perseus
2021-11-12
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
IDAS D3
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)20x180s
d,f,b
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
Comments Off on Double Cluster NGC 869 and NGC 884 / C14

Galaxies Galore – Stephan’s Quintet and NGC 7331/C30

10 November 2021|Caldwell, Galaxy, News, NGC Autumn|

Stephan’s Quintet is to the left, consisting of 4 related galaxies and NGC 7320 which is a foreground galaxy. Their brightness’s range from +14.6 to +15.7.
NGC 7318B is colliding with gas in the group, producing a huge shock wave bigger than the Milky Way, spreading through the medium between the galaxies, heating the gas to millions of degrees, emitting X-rays.
A sixth galaxy, NGC 7320C appears to be connected by a tidal tail (just visible) to NGC 7319.

NGC 7331 or Caldwell 30 (to the right) is similar in size and structure to the Milky Way, 40M light years away. A discovery by William Herschel in 1784. It is the main body in the NGC 7331 Group, which contains unbarred spirals NGC 7335 and 7336, the barred spiral galaxy NGC 7337 and the elliptical galaxy NGC 7340. These other galaxies are all much further away (~300M ly), so not related to NGC 7331.

Object IDStephan’s Quintet and NGC 7331/C30
DetailsGalaxy Cluster
Pegasus
2021-11-03
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
IDAS D3
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)15x180s
d,f,b
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
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NGC 752 / C28 Open Cluster

10 November 2021|Caldwell, News, NGC Autumn, Open Cluster|

Looks ordinary but lots of interest in there if you dig a bit deeper – obviously not all associated with the cluster but just in the fov. Includes a fair number of galaxies, spectroscopic binaries, X ray sources, galaxy groups, radio sources, ir sources, stars with high proper motions. The cluster itself contains about 258 stars, mostly low mass in the main sequence or red giant stage. About 1300 ly away and just on the edge of naked eye visibility at mag. 5.7.

Object IDNGC 752 / C28
DetailsOpen Cluster
Andromeda
Mag.5.7
Size 75′
2021-11-01
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
IDAS D3
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)10x180s
d,f,b
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
Comments Off on NGC 752 / C28 Open Cluster

NGC 7008 Fetus Nebula

26 October 2021|News, NGC Summer, Planetary Nebula|

A planetary nebula with a diameter of 1 ly and about 200 ly away (Wiki says 2800 but parallax says 15.7mas ~200ly). Another William Herschel discovery. You can see the central star is still quite bright but is now a cooler white dwarf. There’s a nice double star system just top right of the nebula, although I suspect from their parallaxes (2.13 mas and 1.97 mas) it’s not a binary system. The nebula is much closer with a parallax of 15.7 so not associated with the double star.

Object IDNGC 7008
DetailsPlanetary Nebula
Cygnus
Mag. 12
Size 1.4’x1.1′
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
IDAS D3
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)7x180s
d,f,b
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
Comments Off on NGC 7008 Fetus Nebula

M33 tri-band

10 October 2021|Galaxy, M31-60, Narrowband, News|

Only a small window available to take this. Narrowband brings out the emission regions and clusters well I think.

Object IDM33 Triangulum Galaxy
Details2021-10-09
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
Tri-band filter
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)14x300s
darks, flats, dark-flats
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
Comments Off on M33 tri-band

Callisto and Ganymede shadow transits

6 October 2021|Jupiter, News|

Poor seeing so not much detail visible on Jupiter so concentrated on the shadow transits. Seeing comes in and out through the session. 13 frames in an animation. Satellite visible is Ganymede. Callisto is much further out and so the Ganymede shadow catches up with that of Callisto.

Object IDJupiter, Callisto and Ganymede
Details2021-10-04
19:06 – 20:08 UT
Seeing II
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
CameraZWO ASI290MC
UV/IR block
Exposure(s)13 .ser videos
90s each at 82 fps
CaptureFireCapture
ProcessingAutoStakkert, Registax, Photoshop
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ISS Lunar transit 2021-09-21

24 September 2021|Moon, News, Other|

Fortunately was covering the correct part of the Moon.

Object IDISS / Moon
Details2021-09-21 21:25UT
Start(UT)=212502.937
Mid(UT)=212511.749
End(UT)=212520.561
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
CameraZWO ASI290MC
Exposure(s)Duration=17.624s @57fps
CaptureFireCapture
ProcessingSER Player, Photoshop
Comments Off on ISS Lunar transit 2021-09-21

M31 tri-band test

9 September 2021|Galaxy, M31-60, Narrowband, News|

Test to see if imaging M31 in tri-band is worth it. Yes! Detail in there that I haven’t seen in other images I’ve taken. Planning a 6 pane mosaic of the galaxy.

Object IDM31 Andromeda Galaxy
Details2021-09-07
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
Tri-band filter
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)10x300s
darks, flats, dark-flats
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
Comments Off on M31 tri-band test

Sh2-155, C9 Cave Nebula

3 September 2021|Narrowband, Nebula, News, NGC Summer|

Horizontal banding sorted. Camera into USB 2 not 3, and not through a USB hub.
Not very happy with the processing.

Object IDSh2-155 / C9  Cave Nebula
Details2021-09-02
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
Tri-band filter
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)20x300s
darks, flats, dark-flats
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
Comments Off on Sh2-155, C9 Cave Nebula