Sunday, November 4, 2018

Hello Deep Space Objects, Goodbye Mars

Clear dark sky last night.

Transparency was not great, but the Milky Way was visible.

I planned ahead and created an observation list for SkySafari via LiveSky.

Here are a couple of deep space objects from my list.  Not astrophotography, per se, but actual image captures made using electronically assisted astronomy techniques.  

NGC 1514

Also known as the Crystal Ball Nebula, this is a planetary nebula discovered by William Herschel in 1790.  Last night was the first time for me.  I'll keep it on my list to revisit on another dark night when the transparency is better.

NGC 1514, A giant crystal ball in space
NGC 1514 is basically a binary star illuminating a cloud of gas that is expanding away from the dying larger of the two.  The smaller star is a white dwarf and is not visible here.

NGC 891

Also known as the Silver Sliver Galaxy. I really like NGC 891.  It was one of the first galaxies that I imaged shortly after getting my ZWO ASI224MC.  My jaw dropped when the stacked frames formed an image in SharpCap.

NGC 891, a jaw dropping beauty
This galaxy was also discovered by William Herschel.  He discovered it in 1784.

Mars, What About Mars?

I had the equipment outside and set up shortly after 8pm EST and Mars was already transiting the meridian.  I quickly captured some Mars data to take advantage of the Red Planet already being at its highest.

Mars, now being an early evening planet, is becoming more and more difficult to observe.

Mars is now really tiny, but still shows some of its characteristic features.  I added its capture to  my comparative size graphic below.
The Incredibly Shrinking Red Planet

What's next?  As Mars gets more difficult to observe, this blog will emphasize it less, but will continue to be a venue for whatever even remotely astronomy related topics interest or amuse me.

Suggestions for topics welcome.


  1. You're right, the Silver Sliver is beautiful. I'd love to see the Bubble Nebula.

  2. The Bubble Nebula is on my list of deep space objects to revisit when the wide field imager arrives!


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