Dick Miller's CCD Images     

Open Clusters
Diffuse Neb
Misc Objects
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                         Recent Images -- Last Updated 4/29/2018

     The images below will not show up on the other pages until they are replaced on this one.  You won't see any repeats when you go to one of the links on the left.  Basic information about the telescopes and cameras is at the bottom of this page.

   NGC 2997

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 60/20/20/20

   NGC 2997 is a beautiful "Grand Design" spiral (SAB(rs)c) found in the southern constellation Antila.  It doesn't get as much attention as it deserves because of it's low declination (-31 degrees).  It is relatively nearby at approximately 25 million light years, but there is a lot of variation in the distance results.  Megastar lists the magnitude as 10.1 and the size as 9.2' x 7.4'.  Again, there is variation in the published measurements but these are fairly typical.

My data for this image was sharp but noisy.  Al Kelly worked his processing magic to get this result.  It is much better than my processing.

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   NGC 2359 (Thor's Helmet)

   Celestron CG 9 1/4, ST2000XM, 180/80

   This is a poor image of a pretty object.  I fought transparency issues every night I was out for this one.  One exposure would be nice and clear and the next would have almost nothing in it.  In addition, I was a bit sloppy with my focus and tracking was not perfect.  For those reasons, only a half size image is shown.  It looks a lot better than a full size.

NGC 2359 is about 12 thousand light years from Earth and the central star is a Wolf-Rayet.

The image is shown in the HOO palette (see Narrowband).


   IC 5070 (The Pelican)

   Astrotech AT66, ST2000XM, 110/60/50

   The Pelican is located in Cygnus, right beside the North America nebula, NGC 7000.  This is a narrowband image, and is shown in the CFHT palette.  For an explanation, see the Narrowband page.

The Pelican and North America nebulae are both parts of a large complex of (mostly) hydrogen and dust.  They are active star-forming regions with lots of hot new stars.  The radiation from these stars ionizes the gas, which in turn produces the emission that makes these object visible.  The red of hydrogen alpha dominates the image, with just a few hints of other colors around the edges.

This image was collected in my severely light polluted yard in The Woodlands, TX.  The great thing about narrowband images is that they are almost unaffected by light pollution, moonlight, etc.  

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   NGC 6756

   Celestron CG 9 1/4, ST2000XM, 60/20/20/20

   NGC 6756 is a small open cluster in Aquila.  It is 4.0' in diameter and contains about 40 stars. There is not a lot of information available on this one.  It is just a pretty little group.

This image was done from my yard in The Woodlands, TX.


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   Sharpless 2-132

   Astrotech AT66, ST2000XM, 110/60/60

   Sh2-132 is an emission nebula in Cepheus, and is part of the Cepheus OB association, a huge cloud of mostly hydrogen in, or just beyond, the Perseus arm of our galaxy.  It is also known as the Lion Nebula, but personally I would call it the Pug.  Most of the emission in the head and body is hydrogen alpha but there is quite a bit OIII in the southwest corner, the "legs".

This image was done from my yard in The Woodlands, TX.  Most of the really good images I've seen of this object have involved 20 to 30 hours of exposure at a dark sky site.

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   Messier 39 (NGC 7092)

   Astrotech AT66, ST2000XM, 24/20/10/10

   M39 is a large, bright, loose open cluster.  It contains 30+ stars in a diameter of 31'.  It is only 200 to 300 million years old, so most of the stars are still burning hydrogen and are still on the main sequence.  It is one of the nearest Messier objects to Earth. 

It can be seen with the naked eye in a dark sky and is an excellent binocular object in any sky.  M39 has an apparent size slightly larger than the full Moon.   This is another image from my yard.


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   NGC 7082

   Astrotech AT66, ST2000XM, 60/20/20/20

   NGC 7082 is a less than impressive open cluster.  The catalog data says it contains 182 stars in a 24' diameter but it does not look that rich to me.  It is close to M39 (above) but is much older.  It does not appear to have been studied much.

Again, from my yard.

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   M106 (NGC 4258)

   Celestron CG 9 1/4, ST2000XM, 84/32/32/32

   Messier 106 is a big (18.6' x 7.2') SAB(s)bc galaxy located in Canes Venatici.  It was a "late" addition to Messier's catalog, having been added in 1947 based on research by Helen Hogg.  It was discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1781.  But many of Mechain's discoveries were included in the catalog and it appears certain that Messier was aware of it.

106 has an active nucleus with a supermassive black hole, a short bar, complex arms, and a very large faint halo.  Above and to the right of 106 is NGC 4248, a peculiar irregular.

This image was acquired at the 2017 Texas Star Party.  I had expected a better result but was dealing with dewing and poor transparency on the night it was made.

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   M58 (NGC 4579)

   Celestron CG 9 1/4, ST2000XM, 120/32/32/32

   M58 is another of my images from the 2017 TSP.  Conditions were better than they were for M106, and the results were better.  M58 has a short bar, easily seen, and a central black hole.  It is 5.9' x 4.7', and is classified as SAB(rs)b.  The distance to M58 is about 62 million light years and it is the most distant Messier object.  It is surrounded by a large number of very tiny galaxies, many of which are undoubtedly satellites

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   M88 (NGC4501)

   Celestron CG 9 1/4, ST2000XM, 80/24/24/24

   M88 is inclined 30 degrees to our line of sight, giving it an elliptical appearance similar to the way we see M31, the Andromeda Galaxy.  The arms are very crisp and fairly tightly wound; they can be traced all the way to the core.  M88 is 7.0' x 3.7', and classified as SA(rs)b  

While there are numerous tiny galaxies in the field, the only one of any size is VCC 1400, below and slightly right of M88.

Also a 2017 TSP image.

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   NGC 4449

   Celestron CG 9 1/4, ST2000XM, 48
   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 80/28/28/28

   NGC 4449 is a fascinating object.  It is a very boxy irregular (IBm), similar to the Large Magellanic Cloud except that it is one of the most active starburst galaxies in our part of the universe.  For a thorough discussion of all its interesting aspects, see Kanipe and Webb, Annals of the Deep Sky, vol. 3.  I could not begin to fit all of it  on this page.

My original image was done at my observatory but sky conditions were not great during acquisition of the luminance, so I collected more at the 2017 TSP.  The 48 minute image there was much better than the earlier 80 minutes, so I merged the images 75/25, favoring the TSP shot.

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   NGC 3190 Group (Hickson 44, Arp 316)

   Celestron CG 9 1/4, ST2000XM, 140/48/48/48

   I don't usually attempt galaxies, particularly faint ones, from my home.  But I got started on this one just as a test and decided to finish it.  Even with the long exposure, the background is quite noisy.  A 45/15/15/15 image at my observatory would probably have been just as good.  The field was offset to find a guide star.

This is an interesting group.  The four brightest galaxies make up Hickson 44, while the three northernmost are identified as Arp 316.  NGC 3190, the brightest, is an edge-on spiral.  Its classification is SA(s)a pec sp.  The integral sign galaxy to the right is NGC 3187, while the E2 galaxy to the left is NGC 3193.  The ring galaxy in the lower right corner is NGC 3185.  It is included in the Hickson group but not in the Arp.  The classification is (R)SB(r)a.  The only other galaxy of any size (but less than an arc minute) is in the lower middle of the field.  NED lists the name as LSBC D500-05, but it is listed in a number of other catalogs.

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   M3 (NGC 5272)

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 20/7/7/5

   I would normally use a longer total exposure for a globular cluster like this but I was doing a test for a talk I'll be giving to the local camera club.  This image uses 30-second individual exposures with no guiding.  I had to toss a few but the ones I kept produced a reasonably good result.  I wanted to show what a beginner might achieve without the complexity of guiding.

M3 is notable for having a large number of variable stars, especially RR Lyrae variables.  Also, Sandage first identified "blue stragglers' in this cluster in 1953.  These are massive stars that should have left the main sequence long ago but which, for some reason, have not or, more likely, have left and then returned.



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   NGC 1514

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 76/28/20/28

   NGC 1514 is a beautiful planetary nebula located in Taurus.  It was discovered by William Herschel in 1790.  It has a bright central star which produces diffraction spikes in my Newtonian telescope.  These a no more "real" than the diffraction spikes on the other bright stars in the field.  The denser central part of the nebula contains a number of overlapping bubbles which give it a lumpy appearance.  There is a fainter outer envelope.  Al Kelly reprocessed my original image to eliminate gradients and reduce the noise.  Thanks, Al.

The central part of 1514 is just a little larger than the equivalent part of M57, the Ring Nebula.  The Ring also has an outer envelope which is even larger but much fainter.

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   NGC 2327, IC 2177, and More

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 60/24/24/24

   NGC 2327 is the small bright nebula just above center.  IC 2177 is the nebulosity occupying the lower left two-thirds of the field.  This is a huge object, 150' x 60', with only a small portion visible here.  It includes numerous areas of dark nebulosity, a few of which can be seen in this image.  GN 07.01.4 sweeps to the right, away from the bright star in the lower right of the field.  It consists of a small bright area overlapping the star and a longer, but fainter, streamer looking very much like a comet.  It is also known as Magakian 241 and is classified as a cometary nebula, but is not a typical cometary in either appearance or location.  Finally, the cluster of bright stars just left and below GN 07.01.4 is the open cluster VdBergh 92.  It contains 12 stars within a 3' diameter.

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   NGC 2683

   10-inch Newtonian, ST2000XM, 48/20/20/20

   NGC 2683 is believed to be a barred spiral, even though no bar can be seen in even the best available images.  It is nicknamed the UFO Galaxy because its appearance matches fairly closely a number of descriptions of various supposed UFOs.  The yellow to brownish color, especially near the core, is a result of dust in the galaxy halo.  There a many small background galaxies in the field.

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     This site presents color CCD images of astronomical objects taken by the author.  Most have been taken with an SBIG ST2000XM camera and either a homebuilt 10-inch Newtonian, Astro-Tech AT66ED, Celesron CG9 1/4, or Meade 2045D telescope  There are a few other possible camera/telescope combinations described on the Equipment page but rarely used.  Images taken with the 10-inch will always be from my observatory at West Point, TX.  Those taken with the AT66ED will frequently be from my home in The Woodlands, TX, but it is portable and I take it to dark sky sites when possible.  The same applies to the Celeston CG 9 1/4 and Meade 2045D.  Except for images with the 10-inch, the location will be identified.  The most recent dozen or so images will be shown on this page and others can be found by selecting an object type from the buttons on the left.  All the images will be displayed as large thumbnails, accompanied by descriptions of the object, equipment used, exposure times, etc.  Under each thumbnail, you will generally have the option of linking to a full size or half size image.  Use your browser's Back button to return.  Experiment with each size a few times to see which you prefer.  The half-size images are usually more attractive but the full-size images obviously show more detail.  Occasionally, I might include a few monochrome images but not many.

     I began my color imaging in September, 2008  -- not counting a couple of years of CMY imaging with my Cookbook camera back in the previous century.  For those of you interested in the technical details of the images, the lengths of the luminosity, red, green, and blue exposures are listed as L:R:G:B minutes.  If the field size is something other than 21.7' x 28.9' (or 28.9' x 21.7'), the size will be listed.  Also, unless otherwise noted, the images are oriented North up and East to the left.  Details about the telescopes, cameras, filters, software, etc. can be found on the Equipment page.  In late 2009, I acquired a set of narrowband filters and am starting to take some NB images.  When those images are moved off this page, they will be collected on a new Narrowband page.  On that page, there is a short description of the palettes used to convert the exposure sets to color images

     Prior to September, 2008, I spent several years accumulating monochrome images of all 338 Arp Peculiar Galaxies.  These can be seen at my other web site, www.338arps.com.  This challenging project sharpened my general imaging skills but color is a new challenge.  The Arp Galaxies that I have imaged in color will appear on both sites.

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