The Road to Mars

The Road to Mars

Thanks to NASA for featuring another one of my image as their (APOD) “Astronomy Picture of the Day”.

Sometimes you just need to follow “The Road to Mars”!

Capture last May in Moab, Utah. The Road to Mars was beautiful, The Bright Red Planet Mars, as seen at the end of a road in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.

Captured while looking south at 4:36am on 05-16-2018 and you can see the Milky Way in the upper right with Saturn just below the Milky Way as well. I used Low level lighting for the road & road side scenery. The Faint Green Glow on the Horizon just below Mars is called Natural Air Glow, The Amber glow on the Horizon in the lower right is the Light Pollution glow from the town of Moab, Utah.

Sony A7SII with a Sony E-mount to Canon lens adapter & Canon 16-35mm Lens set to F3.2, ISO 12,800, for a 13 second exposure, camera on a tripod.

Best Regards,

John Chumack

California Nebula

Inside the California Nebula Complex

Up Close & inside the California Nebula Complex.

The California Nebula (NGC 1499) is an emission nebula located in the constellation Perseus. It is so named because it appears to resemble the outline of the US State of California on long exposure photographs. It is almost 2.5° long on the sky and, because of its very low surface brightness, it is extremely difficult to observe visually.

The nearby energetic O7 star, xi Persei is responsible for the fluorescence of the nebula, due to excitation of the Hβ line. The California Nebula is also known as Sharpless 220 and is located about 1,000 light years from Earth. The California Nebula was discovered by E. E. Barnard in 1884.

This is my extreme close-up shot of it, literally looking inside near the center section the California Nebula Complex, you can also see the elusive black Jelly Fish, an opaque dark black molecular dust cloud near the bottom. A tremendous amount of details are visible within the California Nebula cloud..
I captured this image from my backyard observatory in Dayton, Ohio over 3 nights 09-17, 09-21, & 09-22 of 2017 of light gathering for a total of 7 hours & 15 minutes of exposure time, using my 6 inch diameter F5, Newtonian Scope & a ZWO 174MM cooled Cmos camera in HA, S2, O3 lines Mapped out to RGB.

Best Regards,
John Chumack


Elephant's Trunk Nebula

The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula in Cepheus

Here is my most detailed image of IC-1396 to date! The “Elephant’s Trunk” Nebula Complex.
The Elephant’s Trunk nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust within the much larger ionized gas region IC 1396. Located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth, this is a massive star formation region.

Taken from my backyard observatory in Dayton, in Narrow Band, 120 min in HA, 125 min in S2, 115min in O3, for a total of 6 hour exposure, over 3 nights from 09-17, 09-20, & 09-22 of 2017. Using a 6 Inch diameter Celestron Newt. Scope & ZWO 174MM Cooled Cmos Camera.

Best Regards,

John Chumack

Total Solar Eclipse 2017

The Total Solar Eclipse with Earthshine Moon

Here is my Final Master Piece Image showing The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse during Totality in a 5 image HDR, High Dynamic Range.
Blow it full screen and look at the details. also stand back from the Monitor and check it out from a distance too, not just close-up. It looks 3D to me…with the Earth-shine Moon, you can barely see the moons surface features, due to reflected light from Earth, The suns edge with Pink Prominence’s, with Inner Coronal loops and full outer Corona Details. The Brightest star in Leo “Regulus” is in the Upper left of the Frame. This is my best Totality image to date! FCD 100mm Diameter Explore Scientific Triplet APO Refractor (714mm FL), & Canon 6D DSLR, August 21, 2017 The Samford Homestead, Hopkinsville, KY.
My Personal Best Image to Date!

Best Regards,
John Chumack

The Bubble Nebula, Caldwell 11, Sharpless 162

The Bubble Nebula Complex in Cassiopeia

NGC7635 The Bubble Nebula

Certainly my best shot of the Bubble Nebula complex to date!
Lots of detail in this one!
It is an enormous bubble being blown into space by a super-hot massive star!
This was a 10 Hours of exposure through Astronomik 7nm & 6nm Narrow Band data Mapped out to RGB. Captured over 3 nights from my backyard observatory in Dayton. 6″ Celestron Newt.,Coma Corrector, & ZWO 174mm Cooled CMOS Camera, Nebulosity, Pixinsight, & Adobe CS.
NGC 7635, also called the Bubble Nebula, Sharpless 162, or Caldwell 11, is a H II region emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia, The “bubble” is created by the stellar wind from a massive hot, 8.7th magnitude young central star, SAO 20575.
The Bubble is located in front of the HII Emission Region. It is located about 7000 to 11000 light years from Earth.

Saturn & moon Enceladus

Saturn & moon Enceladus

Saturn is nearing Opposition, and is looking good all night long now…So go out and look it low in the South, Saturn is only ~ 21 degrees above my Southern Horizon in Dayton, Ohio, but still looks great in a telescope.

Here is another Shot this time Close-up of Saturn with the (11th magnitude Icy Geyser moon) Enceladus ,captured on 06-09-2017 from my backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio.

I used a Televue 5x Barlow & QHY5IIL Cmos Camera attached to my old orange tube C8, testing the magnification limits of my little 8 inch diameter scope.

The exposure times were longer than usual through RGB filters, as Saturn got very dim when magnifying that much with the 5x Barlow.  I can only do this on nights of decent stable seeing, but it was cool to see it fill my screen.

Not bad for being so low on the Horizon and for an object that is 1.275 billion km  or ~ 792 million miles away.

Saturn rises after dark in the South East each night, but is at its highest point in the South by about 2:00am …look for that bright Yellow Star due South.

I hope we get many more stable seeing nights during this Saturn Observing Season!

Best Regards,

John Chumack

Saturn on 06-09-2017

Saturn nearing Opposition

Saturn nearing Opposition…

Seeing was half way decent last night..060917..after 1:00am I captured some close-ups of Saturn near Opposition

…a few more days to Opposition, but you can see the shadow of the Rings on the front of Saturn’s Cloud-tops,

…and also the Shadow of Saturn’s Disk laying across the rings directly behind the top of the disk giving it the “cat ears” look!



CMI=26.9° CMIII=289.0°

When Planetary imaging you have two basic options…shoot with a single shot color Camera, or Shoot with a monochrome(B&W) camera and use a Filter wheel with three primary colors Red, Green, & Blue to combine them later for a full color image.   I happen to prefer the Monochrome & Filter wheel, simply because it is a little better at resolving the finer details, but it is more work than with a single shot color camera.

The Best steady seeing I’ve experienced in a while here in the Midwest, the More stable it is the more details I can pull out of the image, hopefully we get more steady nights like this.

Captured from my backyard observatory in Dayton with my C8 SCT Scope & QHY5IIL monochrome Cmos Camera & 2x Barlow, Astronomik RGB Filters, AS2, Registax6,RGB combined in Maxim DL, & CS2017. 3400 Avi frames with Firecapture.

Saturn Near opposition 06-09-2017

BTW Saturn is rising  low in the Southeast after Dark.  Don’t forget to look at Jupiter high in the South right at Dark too!

Best Regards,

John Chumack

Sinus Iridum or Bay of Rainbows

Driving across “The Bay of Rainbows”

Sinus Iridum  aka the “Bay of Rainbows” is a plain of basaltic lava in the Northwestern portion of Mare Imbrium on Earth’s moon.
It is surrounded by the rugged Mountain Range known as Montes Jura.

Sinus Iridum was formed from the remains of a large impact crater, which was then flooded with basaltic lava, inundating the “sea” wall.
The Bay of Rainbows spans 236km or 146.64 miles across.

If you were to drive across the Bay of Rainbows at 60mph, (assuming no crater sized potholes, LOL!!) it would take ~ 2 hours and 26 minutes.
Roughly the distance from Dayton, Ohio to Versailles, Kentucky, or Dayton, Ohio to Nashville, Indiana.

This bay and the surrounding mountains is considered one of the most beautiful features on the Moon, and is a favorite among lunar observers.
It is one of the features on the Moon that can be seen with the unaided eye.

C8 Telescope & ZWO ASI 224MC Color Camera, 600 frames stacked in Registax 6, at my backyard observatory in Dayton, OH.

Best Regards,
John Chumack


Jupiter & 3 Moons

Jupiter with 3 moons Europa, Io, & Ganymede, The GRS (Great Red Spot) was getting ready to go around the Limb, the 4th Moon Callisto was way off the field of view!

The Great Red Spot (GRS) is a persistent anticyclonic storm, 22° south of Jupiter’s equator. observations from Earth establish a minimum storm lifetime of 350 years.

The GRS winds speeds top out at about 400mph.. and is 2 to 3 times the size of the Earth!

I tested out the ZWO 224MC single shot color camera on my 8inch SCT to see what it can do, …Seeing was okay at prime focus, but any magnification you could see the Earth’s atmosphere boiling. so will try to Barlow it up on the next night of stable seeing.

Best Regards,

John Chumack