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Tag Archives: astrophotography

Horse-head and Flame Nebula

This image of the Horse-head and Flame Nebulae imaged from Roberts Creek on Jan. 14/15th 2016 with a Megrez 120mm, Canon 60Da, 47 mins total exposures at 1600 ISO through an Astronomik UHC filter. This image includes a total of four nebulae at a distance of 1,500 light-years, all related to the large stellar nursery in Orion that includes the Great Nebula M42. The largest nebula in this group is the deep red emission nebula IC 434, appearing as a waterfall of ionized hydrogen at the right side of the image. An intervening cloud of interstellar dust creates the silhouette of a horse’s head, giving rise to the name of the dark nebula B33. The Flame Nebula, also known as NGC 2024 is at the left, this is another emission nebula, a region of glowing hydrogen gas in the shape of a burning bush. Between the Flame and the Horsehead is the smaller blue reflection nebula NGC 2023, caused by a cloud of fine dust reflecting the light of a central star. The brilliant blue star in the upper part of the image is the second magnitude star Alnitak, better known as the left-side star in the belt of Orion, the Hunter.

Mike BradleyHorseHead_RunningMan

Winners of the First Annual Bill Iden Memorial Astrophotography Contest

Our First Annual Bill Iden Astrophotography Contest was judged by RASC Vice President Chris Gainor.

chris gainor

Chris Gainor

First Place: The top photo for Chris was Mike Bradleys’ photo of NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula. Chris said: “The final product was sharp and showed features clearly inside the nebula.”

Iden 1st Place jpeg

Second Place: Brian Kelso’s first (top) photo of the eclipsed moon in the trees. Chris said: “It was an interesting composition with the right light level.”

0004 Eclipse_092715

Third Place: James MacWilliam’s reprocessed image of M31 Andromeda Galaxy. Chris said: “I thought this was a good effort with this image.” I’m having trouble lifting this image from the PDF file that James sent me. As soon as I get it, I’ll add it to the post.

Congratulations to all who took part. I hope that even more people enter our contest next year.

Clear Skies, Charles

Sunspots: 9 November 2015


I took advantage of the clear skies yesterday to take an image of the large group of sunspots (AR2449) while it was still there. Unfortunately the group is very much smaller now than it was last week, but still made a nice image. Attached is a white light shot, taken in monochrome, then cropped and colourised. It was a stack of 300 images.

I decided to take the images from the observatory as the wide horizons make it possible to follow the sun at this time of year without worrying about it hiding behind trees, unlike at home in Roberts Creek!

Mike Bradley

Lunar Eclipse Photos

0004 Eclipse_0927150009 Eclipse_0927150015 Eclipse_092715

Bryan Kelso took these three photos of the eclipse on 27 September at our SCC Observatory site with a DSLR & 300mm lens. Only a few weeks left to get your astrophotos in for the Bill Iden Astrophotography Contest. Entries must be in by the meeting on 13 November.

Regards, Charles Ennis

Solar Photo

Sun500strcurcoltext 3 aug m bradley

I took this last week with my Ha scope, single stacked, the image is a stack of the best 250 frames out of 500. The sun is quite quiet at present with only a few spots but some nice prominences, some of which are seen here. Can’t miss any opportunities to look at the sun!

Mike Bradley, Past President

Astrophotography Contest


The SCC has created the William Iden Award for Astrophotography. Bill, one of the members of our original club who passed on a few years ago, was known for his astrophotography skills. We’d all like to see YOUR astrophotography skills, so we’re running an astrophotography contest. Photos should be submitted to the SCC President no later than 13 November, 2015. The award will be presented to the winner at our Christmas meeting on 11 December 2015.

In future we’ll be looking for photos taken during the previous year, but for this inaugural contest we’ll accept any photos taken by the applicants. Please give us some details of how the photo was taken.

Charles Ennis, President, SCC RASC

Jupiter/Venus Conjunction

Our member Bryan Kelso took four photos of Jupiter with his Canon 30D camera on the nights of June 28th & 29th.

001Venus & Jupiter June 29_15

4 sec; ISO 400; 80 mm

007Venus & Jupiter June 29_15

5 sec; ISO 400; 300 mm – note 2 0f Jupiter’s moons


5 sec; ISO 400; 80 mm


2.5 sec; ISO 400; 205 mm – note 2 0f Jupiter’s moons

Nice work Bryan!

Strange Solar Activity

bob evermon june 2015 2bob evermon June 2015

David Hathaway, head of the solar physics group at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre reports that solar activity is “the weakest in 200 years”. “There is no scientist alive who has seen a solar cycle as weak as this one,” reports Andrés Munoz-Jaramillo of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. Puzzled scientists are witnessing the sun’s oddest magnetic reversals on record.

Normally, the sun’s magnetic north and south poles change polarity approximately every 11 years. During a magnetic-field reversal, the sun’s polar magnetic fields weaken, drop to zero, and then emerge again with the opposite polarity. Douglas Biesecker at NASA’s Space Environment Center says that “the magnetic shift is notable only because it signals the peak of the solar maximum”. However this cycle the sun’s north magnetic pole reversed polarity more than a year ago, so it has the same polarity as the south pole.

“The delay between the two reversals is unusually long,” said solar physicist Karel Schrijver at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif.

Scientists said they are puzzled, but not concerned, by the unusual delay. They expect the sun’s south pole to change polarity next month, based on current satellite measurements of its shifting magnetic fields.

Recently there has been an unexplained scarcity of sunspots. “It is not just that there are fewer sunspots,” says Dr. Schrijver, “But they are less active sunspots.” However, after months of quiescence, the sun has recently unleashed vast streams of charged particles into space five times in as many days last month, and flared again last week. Even so, these outbursts exhibited a fraction of the force of previous solar maximums.

Here are some photos by our member Bob Evermon, taken from his Skywatch from May 8 and June 23rd.

Solar Activity: 19 July

19 July 2015

19 July 2015

Attached is the image I took today. It isn’t the best capture, I was racing against the threat of cloud banks rolling in and almost missed the conical prominence that I had seen earlier. But I caught it! I stacked 100 images in Registrax and then adjusted level and colour in Photoshop. Take a look at the prominence, it is an impressive one. The other solar features are quite clear too. If the sun keeps this behavior up for a week or two you should all have some great public viewing at Hackett Park and Halfmoon Bay.

Mike Bradley




Messier 51, the Whirlpool Galaxy and NGC 5195 imaged from Roberts Creek with my 120mm Megrez refractor on July 13th when it was nicely visible for me. The image is 150 minutes of combined exposures ranging from 30 to 600 seconds with flats and darks applied, taken with a Hα “modded” DSLR.

This is a nice example of interacting spiral galaxies, they are located in Canes Venatici. Estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years beyond the Milky Way, M51 was actually the first galaxy to be officially classified as a spiral galaxy. Messier 51 is one of the best known galaxies in the sky. The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars.

Mike Bradley, SCC RASC