the hat

Another Méchain discovery from 1781, this galaxy was noted by Messier but not included in his catalogue until 1921. An old friend of mine once asked, is it one of them sombrero galaxies? So what do we reckon? Is it?

With the haze adding to the glow from the sodium vapour lamps looking south earlier today...
galaxy m104 el sombrero in virgo
700d + pn208    23 x 240s @ ISO800

pinwheel 101

Méchain first reported this galaxy on 27 March 1781 and it was included in Messier's catalogue. 21 million light years away, large but dim....
spiral galaxy m101 the pinwheel  in ursa major
700d + pn208   best of 34 x 240s @ ISO800

I also had a go at DSS's confusingly named drizzle and custom rectangle routines. No idea how it works, but this is what it does. It seems to get you closer...



Discovered by Charles Messier on 3rd. May 1764 as an object which could be mistaken for a comet, it took another 20 years before William Herschel hoisted his telescope toward it. The 1.2m reflector at Observatory House, Slough was then the largest telescope in the world. He announced that it consisted of stars.

90 light years in diameter and 34000 light years away, I wonder what Herschel and his mates thought when they first saw it. If anything like me, amazement. It hasn't changed since the 18th. century, so they would have seen something very similar to this...
globular cluster m3 in canes venatici
700d + pn208   24 x 90s @ ISO800

galaxies dim and distant

At around 30 million light years distant, these galaxies are receding from us at over 600 km s-1 Red-shift it's called. Although atmospheric seeing was not that good, it was warmish and mysteriously still and so invited that oh so dangerous of human activities, thinking.

Having walked into the mount a few hours earlier causing destruction of the connecting cable -it was dark officer- the eq6 had no idea where it was pointing, so crossing the meridian at around 01:00, the flip was troublesome. Once again it was PointCraft which plate-solved us to sanity.
nervous times: the barren spring sky showing the galaxies at the meridian

galaxies -to r- ngc4656, ngc4657 hockey stick and ngc4631 the whale in canes venatici
700d + pn208     best of 34 x 240s @ ISO800   


m101 or bust

...in 36 minutes. Half moon lighting the terrace, had to be worth a try.
galaxy m101 in ursa major
700d + pn208   9 x 240s @ ISO800 


cluster relief

What to photograph in a short time? How about this old cluster, just 2700 light years distant? Old they reckon because it contains more reddish stars...
open cluster m67 in cancer
700d + pn208   best of 35 x 90s @ ISO800