Mars & Antares, A Celestial Pairing in the Southwestern sky !

Mars & Antares, A Celestial Pairing in the Southwestern sky !

Go out and look to your Southwest at Dusk to see Planet Mars & Bright Red Giant Star Antares, aka Alpha Scorpio.  You need a low unobstructed view to see them.    They look very similar in color , a red orange. Mars is the one that is  higher in the sky.   They are only up for a short period of time, so go out after sunset, but before it gets dark,  Take a look all weekend between 8:30pm and 9:00pm E.S.T.  I captured this shot on 09-25-2014 above my Observatory Dome in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Canon 6D  DSLR & 75mm lens, F7.1, ISO 6400, 3.2 second exposure

Camera on a tripod.

Best Regards,

John Chumack


Ursa Minor – The Little Dipper

Ursae Minoris – The Little Bear, The Little Dipper

Ursa Minor is Latin for Little Bear, Ursa Minor is a constellation in the northern sky. The tail of the Little Bear may also be seen as the handle of a ladle, hence the name Little Dipper.

It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations. Ursa Minor is notable as the location of the north celestial pole, although this will change after some centuries due to the precession of the equinoxes.

Polaris, also known as the North Star is the brightest star in the constellation, Polaris is a yellow-white super-giant and brightest Cepheid variable star, ranging from apparent magnitude 1.97 to 2.00.

Beta Ursae Minoris is only slightly fainter, with its apparent magnitude of 2.08.  Also known as Kochab, it is an orange giant star, 16 degrees from Polaris. Kochab and magnitude 3 Gamma Ursae Minoris have been called the ‘guardians of the pole star’.

I have included an illustrated version to I.D. the Stars & magnitudes (brightness), using the Little Dipper as practice you can learn how to judge a Star’s magnitude in the night sky!

Interesting Fact :  Four stellar systems have been discovered to contain planets.

Photo Details:

Ursa Minor – The Little Dipper & Polaris

Canon 6D DSLR & 58mm Lens, F4.0, ISO 1250, CG-4 Tracking Mount, a 48 second exposure captured at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, Ohio on 09-22-2014.

Best Regards,

John Chumack

M42 & M43 The Great Orion Nebula Complex

M42 &M43 The Great Orion Nebula _ A stellar Nursery the closest to Earth. This star birth region is 1, 344 light years away
and is about 24 light years across.
The Orion Nebula is one of the most scrutinized and photographed objects in the night sky!!
My first Test of an Emission Nebula with my unmodified Canon 6D DSLR at the Prime Focus of my Home-built 16″ Diameter F4.5 Newt. telescope.
This is a quick 97 second exposure,
actually two shots layer Masked, to prevent over exposure!  A 7 second exposure for the center Trapezium region and a 90 second exposure for the full nebula is all it took to record this.
ISO was set at 3200. The Canon 6D tends to be a little more Blue/Green sensitive…a little noise in this image at 70F, but it does the trick if you need a quick image before the clouds roll in!!!
Transparency was not the best Friday night…but now I know it is easily capable of recording bright red Emission Nebula quickly!
Pretty impressive & sensitive for an unmodified DSLR.

This was just a test under poor sky conditions, so the next clear night I will go back and do a longer exposure & fully glory shot!

Best Regards,
John Chumack

Waning Crescent Moon 09-19-2014

The Waning Crescent Moon this Morning…..I saw Jupiter nearby as well!!!
The sky was Crystal Clear & good seeing this morning!!!!! I captured this image with my 10″ @F6.3 SCT from my backyard in Dayton, Canon 6D DSLR, ISO 400, 1/80 second exp.

Best Regards,

John Chumack


Super Wide Field of The Great Andromeda Galaxy!

A super Wide Angle View of our Sister Galaxy The Great Andromeda Spiral Galaxy. M31. M32, M110 Testing the Lens out at 105mm.. We are looking through millions of our own Milky Way stars to see another whole Island of Stars(Andromeda Galaxy)off in the distance 2.2 Million light years away!
The Bright Orange Star near Bottom is Mirach aka Beta Andromeda,
just above that is Mu Andromeda, and just below the Galaxy is Nu Andromeda. Surprisingly with the 105mm lens I was able to pick up the Ghost of Mirach, the bright little Elliptical Galaxy NGC-404.

Canon 6D DSLR & 105mm Lens, F5.6, ISO 1600, 247 second exposure.

Best Regards,
John Chumack

The Milky Way Galaxy & Summer Triangle

The Milky Way Galaxy through The Summer Triangle.
The incredible Number of Stars is Amazing!
Just a test shot using the Canon 24mm to 105mm set to 24mm F4.5 on my Canon 6D DSLR, for this 90 second exposure, at ISO 3200 taken at My Observatories at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, Ohio on Saturday Night 09-13-2014.

I used my CG-4 Camera Tracking Mount. The 24mm Canon lens is very sharp, and Wide. I can’t believe I got this with all the Local Light Pollution, although it was very transparent last night, So much less ambient back-scatter than Normal!!!…Also caught a Meteor at top left of the Frame too!

Best Regards,
John Chumack

M27 The Dumbell Nebula

M27 – A dying star
The Dumbbell Nebula (also known as Apple Core Nebula, Messier 27, M 27, or NGC-6853) is a planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula, at a distance of about 1,360 light years.

This object was the first planetary nebula to be discovered; by Charles Messier in 1764. At its brightness of visual magnitude 7.5 and its diameter of about 8 arc-minutes, it is easily visible in binoculars, and a popular observing target in amateur telescopes.

The nebula was formed when an evolved, red giant star ejected its outer envelope near the end of its lifetime. The expanding cloud of gas becomes visible once the hot core of the star, visible near the center, is exposed and the high-energy, ultraviolet light from the core ionizes the cloud.

Unmodified Canon 6D DSLR at the Prime Focus of my Home-Built 16 inch Diameter Newtonian Telescope.
ISO 3200, a single 90 second exposure, at my observatories in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Best Regards,
John Chumack

NGC-253 Spiral Galxy in Sculptor

NGC-253, A Bright Galaxy In The Constellation of Sculptor! This is the first light Test of a Deep Sky Space object using my unmodified Canon 6D. I’m very please with its performance…very Sensitive, clean at the Higher ISO it is great for Comets & Galaxies! This Galaxy sits very low in the south…so I was shooting through some hazy clouds for this shot.
I need to do more testing on Nebula, to see how well it records the Red end of the Spectrum! This was a single 4 minute exposure at ISO 2500, at the prime focus of my home-built 16″ Newt. Scope, taken at my Observatories  in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

NGC-253 is a relatively Nearby Galaxy, located at 11.4 Million Light Years away, it shines at ~ Magnitude 8, so is visible in Binocular from a dark location.

Best Regards,
John Chumack

NGC-246 Planetary Nebula – A Dying Star

NGC-246 A dying star!

This is a Sun like star that has blown off its Outer Atmosphere….
that was discovered by William Herschel in 1785,
NGC-246 is a planetary nebula in the constellation Cetus, also nicknamed the Skull nebula, . It lies approximately 6° north-northeast of the 2nd-magnitude star Beta Ceti and about 1.5° south-southeast of 4.8-magnitude Phi1 Ceti.

The nebula is relatively small and dim (~11th-magnitude). In a small telescope the nebula’s feeble light is almost overpowered by the foreground stars superimposed on it. Larger telescopes show the nebula more clearly, especially with an oxygen III filter.

NGC 246 and it’s central star (a white dwarf) is worth monitoring. In 1930, its photographic magnitude was as bright as 9th magnitude. In 1969 it dipped to 11.2 and today it shines at about 12th magnitude. This star is also is part of a binary pair.

The complex braided structure of NGC 246’s blue outer ring, visible in my 90 second image are caused by high-velocity gases pushing outward from the hot (~200,000 K) central star which contributes to the visible chaos.

Distance is 1600 light years,
4.6 x 4.1 arc-minutes  in size,
Visual Magnitude is  10.9

Details: Unmodified Canon 6D DSLR & at the Prime Focus of my Home-Built 16″ Diameter Newtonian Scope,
a single 90 second test exposure, at ISO 3200.  No filters

Best Regards,
John Chumack