M33 – The Triangulum Galaxy

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M33 gets its name from the Triangulum constellation in which it can be found.  At magnitude 5.7, it can be seen with the naked eye under the right conditions and is located about 3 million light years away — slightly farther than the larger and more prominent neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, and quite a bit smaller, too — about 40 … Read More

Orion Wide-field

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Orion is one of most well known constellations and one of the easiest to recognize in the winter sky.  M42, the Orion Nebula, is also one of the brightest and easiest to see with the unaided eye, making up part of the Sword of Orion.  In this image, the three stars of Orion’s belt can be see on the right side, … Read More

NGC281 – The Pacman Nebula

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NGC281 gets its name as it resembles the video game character Pacman.  This object is particularly striking in narrowband (currently on the to-do list), and is one of the few areas scientists have been able to study high-mass stars (stars much more massive than our sun).  From NASA: High-mass stars are important because they are responsible for much of the … Read More

M31 – Andromeda Galaxy (Wide-field)

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The Andromeda Galaxy is one of the most impressive galaxies to observe because of its size and distance — only about 2.5 million light years.  While comparative sizes have changed over the years, recent data suggests the Andromeda Galaxy is only slightly larger than the Milky Way in total mass, but contains about 1 trillion stars compared to our 200 … Read More

NGC1499 – The California Nebula Wide-field

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NGC1499 is a huge nebula resembling the state of California (hence the name).   At roughly 2.5 degrees wide, a full moon could fit about 4 times across the nebula.  This image is a wide-field shot in natural light, so the nebula glows its natural red color.   A more recent image in narrowband can be seen here.  While the nebula is quite … Read More

The Heart & Soul Wide-field

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Located in Cassiopeia at about 7,500 light years away and 200 light years wide, IC1805, The Heart Nebula gets its name from its heart-shaped appearance.  Its neighbor, IC1848, The Soul Nebula, is its nearby neighbor.  This natural visible spectrum image, the nebulae shows their red glow characteristic of emission nebulae. NASA’s WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) has captured some fantastic imagery and explains: … Read More

NGC7000 – The North America Nebula Wide-field

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This wide-field image of the North America Nebula region shows the North America Nebula, the Pelican Nebula, several other smaller nebula, and a huge number of stars.  Located in Cygnus, the nebula is an emission nebula located near Deneb, the tail of the Swan. This image was consists of 30 300s exposures with a Canon T4i and 200mm EF-L lens … Read More

IC1805 – The Heart Nebula

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Located in Cassiopeia at about 7,500 light years away and 200 light years wide, the Heart Nebula gets its name from its heart-shaped appearance.  The nebula makes a terrific narrowband target, though this image is in more natural visible spectrum where the heart shows its red glow characteristic of an emission nebula.  The brightest part is NGC896, at the left … Read More

NGC891 – Edge-on Galaxy

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NGC891 is an edge-on spiral galaxy thought to be about the same size and shape as our Milky Way.  Located in Andromeda, the galaxy is about 30 million light years away.  While we see the galaxy edge-on, the Milky Way would be nearly impossible to view from NGC891 for the same reason we cannot see (in the visual spectrum) through … Read More

M76 – The Little Dumbbell

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M76 is an extremely small and faint planetary nebula in the constellation Perseus.  Planetary nebulae are different from standard HII or diffuse nebulae in that they are formed from red giant stars as they die; the nebula is the ionized gas ejected from and surrounding the star. While many HII nebulae can be photographed with little magnification, planetary nebulae require high magnification and … Read More

NGC6436 – The Fireworks Galaxy

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NGC6436, The Fireworks Galaxy, is about 20 million light years away in Cepheus (I’ve read conflicting information that it is as close as 10 million light years and as far away as 22 million light years).  It’s roughly 1/3 the size of our Milky Way.  The galaxy itself is incredibly active with star formation and frequent supernovae. This image consists … Read More

NGC7023 – The Iris Nebula

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The Iris Nebula is an reflection nebula located in the constellation Cepheus.  Unlike emission nebula that are glowing ionized gas, reflection nebulae are clouds of gas and dust reflecting light from nearby stars. Because blue light reflects more efficiently off the dust and gas, it’s typically the predominant color of reflection nebula (the same reason why our sky is blue). This image consists of … Read More

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