Amateur Astronomy from Edinburgh2022-01-22T14:09:55+00:00

Forthimage – Amateur Astronomy from Edinburgh

This website is a sort of observing log and a place where I can post my images and observations. You can find more information about the equipment I use on the About/Equipment page as well as papers I am co-author of.

Having imaged many of the obvious objects I find it more satisfying now to contribute data to various projects.

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.

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, as well as others.

Mark Phillips

Recent posts

V523 Cas eclipsing binary

25 January 2022|Eclipsing Binary, News|

Cloud stopped play so caught the primary transit but not the secondary. Will try this one again since it transits so fast.

Object IDV523 Cas
Eclipsing binary star
Details2022-01-24
21:44 – 22:58 UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
CameraAtik 460EX @-10°C
Photometric R filter
Exposure(s)137 x 25s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAstroImageJ

AAVSO — Variable Star Plotter

HAT-P-70b exoplanet transit

22 January 2022|Exoplanet, News|

This was an ALERT object for ExoClock. Lost the last 30 minutes to clouds. Quite a bright parent star which actually makes it harder. Only 10s exposures which means a lot of subs to deal with. Gives good values for Rp/Rs, no residual structure but disagrees with the only previous observation – but I would say that other observation was an unclear result from the chart.

Object IDHAT-P-70b
Details2022-01-21 10:00 – 00:34 UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
CameraAtik 460EX @-10°C
Photometric R filter
Exposure(s)1097 x 10s
20 each darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingHOPS

PZ UMa eclipsing binary

18 January 2022|Eclipsing Binary, News, Variable Star|

Thought I’d try to catch an eclipsing binary transit since no obvious exoplanet ones to do for last night. First processed in HOPS, since that’s what I know, but that obviously wants to map an exoplanet transit onto the data. Finally processed in AstroImageJ, which charted it quite well.

Object IDPZ UMa
Details2022-01-17
21:18 – 00:12 UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
R Photomeric filter
CameraAtik 460EX @-10°C
Exposure(s)155 x 60s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAstroImageJ

Qatar-8b exoplanet transit

17 January 2022|Exoplanet, News|

Well half a transit as clouds stopped play. Thin, changing cloud all night as well so the data looked really messy but the O-C shift is in close agreement with the two other observations on the ExoClock website. Closest in separation and magnitude comparison star 118 gave the best fit.

Object IDQatar-8b
Details2022-01-16 17:59 – 23:03 UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
CameraAtik 460EX @-10°C
Photometric R filter
Exposure(s)292 x 55s
20 each darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingHOPS

Used AAVSO plotter for comparison stars. Star list >

The second frame contains an interesting artefact. Unclear what it is but possibly some re-entering space junk or even a meteor vapour trail?

IC 2162, Sh 2-257 and Sh 2-254

9 January 2022|Nebula, News, NGC Winter|

More Tribbles… from left to right:
IC 2162, Sh 2-257 and Sh 2-254
Sh 2-256 is just below the middle one and Sh 2-258 is faintly to the left of the left-hand one.

Object IDNebulae
Orion
Details2022-01-03
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
IDAS D3
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)15 x 300s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP
Photoshop
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NGC 1333

6 January 2022|Nebula, News, NGC Autumn|

A reflection nebula in Perseus. No. 1 on the HOYS target list. Tricky one to process because of all the dust around which is easy to lose in the background. As always, more subs would help.

Object IDNGC 1333
Details2022-01-04
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
IDAS D3
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)20x240s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
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NGC 891 Silver Sliver Galaxy / Caldwell 23

6 January 2022|Caldwell, Galaxy, News, NGC Autumn|

Object IDNGC 891 / Caldwell 23
Details2022-01-03
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
Altair Astro Tri-band filter
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)15x300s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
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M42 CCD Rc

6 January 2022|M31-60, Nebula, News|

Was setup for an exoplanet transit but cloud got in the way, so took 4 frames M42 with the R-Cousins filter and CCD camera again. Not bad!

Object IDM42
Details2022-01-05 20:51 UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
CameraATIK 460EX mono
Baader Rc filter
Exposure(s)5x180s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
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Photometry of Dwarf Nova in Gemini TCP J07094936+1412280 29

3 January 2022|News, Nova, Other|

Still learning here but more consistent now with reprocessed data. Using AAVSO chart X27541GQ, comparison star 127, V mag. 12.701.

250mm f4.8 Newtonian
QHY168C @-15°C // Green channel only

29-12-2021 21:55 UT // TG mag. 12.48 // 540s
31-12-2021 23:31 UT // TG mag. 12.90 // 90s
01-01-2022 21:58 UT // TG mag. 13.29 // 90s
03-01-2022 21:58 UT // TG mag. 13.68 // 150s
04-01-2022 20:42 UT // TG mag. 13.88 // 150s

AAVSO X27541GQ data

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Dwarf Nova in Gemini TCP J07094936+1412280 2022-01-01

1 January 2022|News, Nova, Other|

Better conditions for photometry. V mag 13.29

31-Dec-2021 poor conditions, no image, gave 13.1

Main image is full colour (enhanced) but photometry using green channel only

Object IDTCP J07094936+1412280
Details01-01-2022 21:58:55 UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
IDAS D2
Exposure(s)3x30s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingPre-processed, stacked and channels separated in Siril
Photometry in AstroImageJ
Composition in Photoshop
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Dwarf Nova in Gemini TCP J07094936+1412280

31 December 2021|News, Nova, Other|

Reported on 28 Dec 2021
britastro.org/node/26461
TCP J07094936+1412280
Photometry using AstroImageJ gave me on V mag of 12.3. Comparison stars may not be the best.

Main image is full colour (enhanced) but photometry using green channel only

Object IDTCP J07094936+1412280
Details29-12-2021 21:55 UT
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
IDAS D2
Exposure(s)3x180s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingPre-processed, stacked and channels separated in Siril
Photometry in AstroImageJ
Composition in Photoshop
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2021 Images

24 December 2021|News|

These are most of my images from 2021. Always feels like there are no clear skies in Scotland but clearly there are. Also did a lot of HOYS data on top of this – I am now up to 808 images submitted to the database. Only 1 exoplanet transit in 2021 though as there were very few long spells of clear skies and you need at least 4-7 hours for those.

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NGC 7142 and NGC 7129

17 December 2021|Nebula, News, NGC Summer, Open Cluster|

Strong Moonlight interfering but an unexpected clear night so all good. Nice sharp open cluster and 7129 is a HOYS object I image a lot.

Below is a less processed image showing the Moon gradients. By processing them out you definitely lose details.

Object IDNGC 7142 Open Cluster
NGC 7129
Cepheus
Details2021-12-16
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
IDAS D3
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)20 x 280s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP
Photoshop
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Sh2 157 Lobster Claws

17 December 2021|Nebula, News, NGC Winter|

Another Tribble visible in this one. As well as the main Sh2-157 nebula, there are other interesting objects in this picture:
Open Cluster NGC 7510
Open Cluster Cl Mrk 50
And the Tribble is LBN 111.14.00.72

Object IDSh2 157 part of Lobster Claws
NGC 7510
Cl Mrk 50
LBN 111.14.00.72
Details2021-12-10
Telescope250mm f4.8 Newtonian
MPCC
Altair Astro Tri-band filter
CameraQHY168C @-15°C
Exposure(s)25x300s
darks, flats, bias
CaptureNINA
ProcessingAPP, Photoshop
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Pillars of creation

8 December 2021|Nebula, News|

Not the famous ones in the Eagle Nebula, but still areas where stars are being created. These cold molecular pillars, generically known as elephant trunks, are areas of cold, dense gas, often associated with star formation. Research suggests they rotate, over periods of a few million years, as a semi-rigid structure, causing them to twist and change shape over time.

I thought I’d gather some closeups of them together from my recent images. The Pelican and Elephant Trunk nebulae are areas that I study along with the Hunting Outbursting Young Stars (HOYS) Project.

Full images:
NGC 7822
IC 5070
Sh2-86
IC 1396

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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