Horsehead and Flame Nebulas in Orion

The Horsehead and Flame Nebulas in the constellation of Orion.

The Horsehead and Flame Nebulas in the constellation of Orion.

People often don’t realise how hard to see the horsehead nebula is. It is quite a faint nebula located in the constellation of Orion, faint enough that you need a reasonably large amateur telescope (for example 15″ aperture reflector such as a dobsonian) and dark skies to visually see it.

Photographically the Horsehead is well known and captured by amateur astronomers. It sits along side one of the brighter stars in the constellation of Orion, Alnitak, which is one of the three bright stars making up the Belt of Orion. The Flame Nebula is also located adjacent to Alnitak.

 

Tarantula Nebula

NGC 2070 (Tarantula Nebula)

NGC 2070 (Tarantula Nebula)

This is a photograph of the very well known and popular to photograph Tarantula Nebula, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (a companion galaxy of our Milky Way). This photograph was taken using a SBIG ST8-XME camera on a telescope at 2180mm focal length. The combined exposure time is 304 minutes. There is nice star colour retained in addition to the obvious pink of the general nebula, making this quite a colourful image.

The Moon – December 2015

The Moon - 20th December 2015

The Moon – 20th December 2015

Every now and then it’s fun to just whip out the camera and snap a straight forward photograph of the Moon. 20th December was just such an occasion for me, typically a deep sky and dark sky astrophotographer. There is something always satisfying about a simple, crisp, clean photograph of the Moon.

On this occasion the moon was a little of 9 days old, so becoming quite bright and round. It is photographed through my 90mm William Optics Megrez 90 APO telescope at a focal length of approximately 1200mm using my Canon 6D. Ordinarily in my workshops I advise using video for high resolution images of the moon, but as I also say rules are there for breaking and in this case it’s just a simple single frame out of the camera.

Geminid’s Meteor Shower – 2015

Geminid's Meteor Shower - December 12th 2015 - from Perth Western Australia. A combination of 23 frames containing Geminids meteors over approximately 4 hours.

Geminid’s Meteor Shower – December 12th 2015 – from Perth Western Australia. A combination of 29¬†frames containing Geminids meteors over approximately 4 hours.

Geminid's Meteor Shower - 14th December 2015 - from Perth Western Australia - Crop 3: Disintegrating meteor

Geminid’s Meteor Shower – 14th December 2015 – from Perth Western Australia – Crop 3: Disintegrating meteor

Geminid's Meteor Shower - 14th December 2015 - from Perth Western Australia - Crop 2: Rainbow meteor

Geminid’s Meteor Shower – 14th December 2015 – from Perth Western Australia – Crop 2: Rainbow meteor also breaking up

Geminid's Meteor Shower - 14th December 2015 - from Perth Western Australia - Crop 1: Green meteor

Geminid’s Meteor Shower – 14th December 2015 – from Perth Western Australia – Crop 1: Green meteor

I didn’t have the time to travel far for the Geminid’s Meteor Shower this year, resorting to setting up my camera in my backyard, after returning from an event at the Perth Observatory no less! I left the camera going overnight, stopping at 01:20am due to a full memory card (to be expected – get what you can!).

I’m very pleased with the result from my somewhat last minute and casual attempt at the Geminid’s – 29 frames containing a meteor (one of them containing two) and a reasonably pleasing landscape setting and composition.

The complete image is created by combining all meteors from the 29 frames in to one image. As such, over the 4 hour period the sky moved however the constellations/stars are shown from only the first frame. As a result, the meteors don’t appear to come as concentrically from the Gemini radiant as you might expect.

Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth, Western Australia.

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth, Western Australia.

I managed to spare some time on the 2nd & 3rd November 2015 to do a spot of aurora chasing. Still only local, but an opportunity to get out and try or a few shots. The 2nd turned out to be not so good, a brief aurora show followed by heavy dew and then cloud. The 3rd on the other hand turned out quite pleasing with a nice in-camera show of aurora. Here are some photographs from Lake Leschenaultia in Chidlow, in the hills of Perth Western Australia. There is nothing special about this location for Aurora, it’s simply just around the corner from where I live so convenient with reasonably dark and low southern horizons which is what you need for aurora.

Trees frame the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds in the sky above the lake. Subtle green and blue tones in the night sky complement the dark silhouettes.

Trees frame the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds in the sky above the lake. Subtle green and blue tones in the night sky complement the dark silhouettes.

Subtle colours fill the sky where the Large Magellanic Cloud is also visible. Foreground reeds and trees provide nice framing for the water.

Subtle colours fill the sky where the Large Magellanic Cloud is also visible. Foreground reeds and trees provide nice framing for the water.

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth Western Australia. Pink reflects in the water of Lake Leschenaultia.

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth Western Australia. Pink reflects in the water of Lake Leschenaultia.

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth Western Australia. Pink reflects in the water of Lake Leschenaultia.

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth Western Australia. Pink reflects in the water of Lake Leschenaultia.

Beautiful silhouettes on the shores of Lake Leschenaultia. The Magellanic Clouds (Large and Small) overhead in the night sky filled with stars, and reflecting in the lake.

Beautiful silhouettes on the shores of Lake Leschenaultia. The Magellanic Clouds (Large and Small) overhead in the night sky filled with stars, and reflecting in the lake. A small amount of faint glow on the southern horizon is probably residual aurora activity from the show 10 minutes earlier.