Incredibly Starry Alaskan Skies & Faint Photographic Aurora

Incredibly Starry Alaskan Skies & Faint Photographic Aurora
M31 Andromeda bottom left, middle left is the Double Star Cluster in Perseus.
Diagonally across the frame is our Milky Way Galaxy. While a Satellite cuts through the center of the FOV.

Even when you can’t see Aurora with your eye, your camera can capture the subtle beauty of the elusive  Aurora Borealis!!!

At the Bottom is the Faint Arch Aurora Borealis & across the top are patches of faint green Aurora (Excited Oxygen Molecules).
Far right is the bright Star Vega!

Aurora Borealis In Alaska on 03-28-2014
Canon 5D Mark II DSLR & Canon 24mm lens, F2.0, ISO 6400
A single 30 second exposure with Camera on a tripod.

Best Regards,
John Chumack

Alaska’s Amazing Scenery & Aurora!!

Soooooo Missing Alaska right now!!!…And still processing the 8,000+ Aurora images I captured up there! Here is another nice one approaching us just before it went crazy, on the night of 03-27-2014…this one was shot with A Canon 5D Mark II + 24mm F1.4lens set at F2.0, ISO 3200, for a 10 second exposure.
Best Regards,
John Chumack

1/2 a Billion Lights Years Away!

The Hercules Super Cluster of Galaxies……..1/2 a Billion Light Years away!!!!

The Hercules Galaxy Cluster (Abell 2151) is a cluster of about 200 galaxies some 500 million light-years distant in the constellation Hercules.

It is rich in spiral galaxies and shows many interacting galaxies. The cluster is part of the larger Hercules Supercluster, which is itself part of the much larger Great Wall super-structure.

If you have a telescope…..then go to the 5th mag star 5 Hercules and then drift about 30’ (Arc minutes) east to 7th magnitude star HD 144149.

You will need about 200x of magnification, as this seems to work best for this cluster as all its members are very small mainly due to their remoteness!

Try to see how many galaxies you can glimpse with your own eyes! You will have then looked back 1/2 a billion years, or seen light that left those galaxies 1/2 a billion years ago!!!!

1 Hour exposure with my QHY8 Cooled CCD camera & 16″ diameter Homemade Newtonian telescope.

Captured from my observatory in JBSPO in Yellow Springs, Ohio. It wasn’t the best of conditions that night but went for it anyway on 05-31-2014.

Best Regards,

John Chumack

Comet C/2012 K1 PANSTARRS

Comet C/2012 K1 PANSTARRS as seen last Saturday night through some high thin haze..but it came out okay…this 8th Magnitude Comet looked great visually through an 18″ Obsession Scope while observing with my good friends Ron, Kristie, & Justin on 05-31-2014.
I captured this 15 minute exposure with my Homemade 16″ Newt. Scope & QHY8 CCD Camera while Tracking on the Comets Nucleus!
Its still near the legs of Ursa go have a look if you get clear skies!

Best Regards,

John Chumack


M3_Globular Star Cluster

M3_Globular Star Cluster captured during some testing last Friday night with my Homemade 16″ Diameter telescope & QHY8 CCD Camera & 1 hour exposure at my observatories at John Bryan State Park Observatory in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  05-30-2014

M3 is the 3rd Object in Charles Messier’s Famous 110 object Catalog of amazing deep space Galaxies, Nebulae, & Stars Clusters. It was Charles first “Original” Discovery which occurred on May 3rd  1764.
M3 was first resolved into stars and recognized as cluster by Sir William Herschel around 1784.
At a distance of about 33,900 light years, M3 is further away than the center of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, but still shines at magnitude 6.2, as its absolute magnitude is about -8.93, corresponding to a luminosity of about 300,000 times that of our sun.

M3 is thus visible to the naked eye under very good conditions – and a superb object with the slightest optical aid. Its apparent diameter of 18.0 arc minutes corresponds to a linear extension of about 180 light years; an estimate of even 20 arc minutes from deep photographic plates, corresponding to about 200 light years linear diameter. It appears somewhat smaller in amateur instruments, perhaps about 10 minutes of arc. But its tidal radius, beyond which member stars would be torn away by the tidal gravitational force of the Milky Way Galaxy, is even larger: About 38.19 minutes of arc. Thus, this cluster gravitationally dominates a spherical volume 760 light years in diameter.

On the other hand, M3 has a compressed, dense core measuring 1.1′ in diameter, or linearly, 11 light years, comparatively large for a globular. Its half-mass radius is 1.12′, or about 11.2 light years, so that half of this clusters mass is contained in a volume of only 22 light years in diameter.

Imagine being on a Planet around a Star in the center of this Cluster, your entire night sky would be covered with super bright stars!!!

Learn more about M3 from

Best Regards,
John Chumack