Tag Archives: Astronomy

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


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.

The Draco Galaxy Triplet,

Draco Galaxy Triplet!

The Draco Galaxy Triplet, 100 Million Light Years Away in the Constellation of Draco!
If you explore the wide field image you will see several other distant NGC & PGC galaxies.
The Draco Triplet from Top to bottom are NGC-5985 Seyfert type Face on Spiral Galaxy, NGC-5982 Elliptical Galaxy, & NGC-5981 Edge on Spiral Galaxy.
5.5 inch Newt. Scope & Modified Canon Rebel Xsi, ISO 1600, 24 x 5 minute subs stacked = 2 hour exposure total.

Captured at the Okie-Tex Star Party near Kenton, Oklahoma on 09-27-2016.

Best Regards,
John Chumack

M57 The Ring Nebula in Lyra


M57 The Ring Nebula in Lyra.

The nebula disk has an angular size of 1.5 × 1 arc-minutes, making it too small to be resolved with 10×50 binoculars, so it is best
viewed with a telescope and under some magnification. I find that 100x works well..

M57 is an example of the class of planetary nebulae known as bipolar nebulae.  The star at the Center is Blowing off its Outer atmosphere!

This will be the fate of our Sun in a few billion more years.

I processed this image to show structure in the nebula…
Taken from my backyard in Dayton, Ohio with my old C8 telescope & ZWO 174mm Monochrome Camera shot through RGB filters + Luminance channel,
16 minutes exposure total.

Best Regards,
John Chumack


The Planet Saturn

Saturn on 07-10-2015

Saturn on 07-10-2015 from my backyard in Dayton, Ohio. Right now Saturn is about 857 Million miles from Earth, or 9.22 Au, or 1.28 light hours away.
After rain & clouds for months…Actually the worst Spring/Summer I can remember as far as lack of clear skies…plus with Wildfires in Canada making the sky really not clear, even when there are no obvious clouds, I did finally get a couple of hours of clear skies after the front moved through! I noticed the seeing was decent, so I decided to cranked up the power with a Televue 5x Barlow, with my old orange tube C8 Scope & Qhy5IIL CCD camera, LRGB, 3200 frames stacked in Registax 6.

It is not as clean as I would like, but considering our usual poor seeing in the Midwest, it has nice color, & now that we are past opposition you can see the Saturn’s shadow starting to fall on the rings at top left, so I will take it while hoping for another good stable clear night soon!
Best Regards,
John Chumack

NGC-2261 Hubble’s Variable Nebula

Although it may look like one, NGC-2261  is NOT a comet!!!!…. it is a very interesting and quite a different object! Here is my close-up photo of this cool object!

NGC 2261 (also known as Hubble’s Variable Nebula or Caldwell 46) is a variable nebula located in the constellation Monoceros. It is illuminated by the star R Monocerotis (R Mon), which is not directly visible itself.

NGC 2261 was originally imaged as Palomar Observatory’s Hale Telescope’s first light by Edwin Hubble on January 26, 1949.  Edwin Hubble studied this nebula at several other Observatories(Yerkes & Mount Wilson) as well….it is variable, changing in brightness and the dust clouds are occasionally blocking the light from R Monocerotis changing the appearance of the triangular shaped light you see in as little time as hours to as much as several weeks or even months.

It shines at about 9th magnitude in the constellation of Monoceros (The Unicorn) just East of Orion.  NGC2261 Hubble’s Variable Nebula is about 2,500 Light Years Away. You can just make out some the Variable dust clouds in this image.

This is a single 5 minute exposure at ISO 3200 with my Canon 6D DSLR, and my Homebuilt 16” diameter telescope from my observatories at JBSPO in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Best Regards,

John Chumack


NGC-1973-75-77 Reflection Nebula Complex

NGC-1973, NGC-1975, NGC-1977 Reflection Nebula Complex,
Nicknamed the Running Man Nebula,
It is located ~ 1460 light years away in the Constellation of Orion.

The Cloud is complex as there is a Red Emission region directly behind the dominant Blue Reflection Nebula,
the Nebula is reflecting Light from these young hot blue stars.
The region is abound with gas & dust clouds…NGC1973-75-77 is located 30 arc-minutes north of M42/M43 The Great Orion Nebula
NGC-1973, NGC-1975, NGC-1977 are the designations given for the 3 main parts of the Reflection nebula.

I captured this image on 10-26-2014 from my observatories at JBSPO in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Canon 6 D DSLR & Home-built 16″ F4.5 Newt scope,
ISO 3200, for a 32 minute exposure, 8 x 240 second subs)

Best Regards,
John Chumack

A Gigantic Sunspot Group

Here is a Gigantic sized Sunspot,  as large as Jupiter.

I captured this image yesterday before the Partial Eclipse and clouds rolled in.

The Massive Sunspot AR2192  is now facing the Earth, here it is on 10-23-2014

According to NASA’s Space Weather…
Solar activity is very high. Since the beginning of the week, giant sunspot AR2192 has produced no less than 27 C-class solar flares, 9 M-class flares, and 2 X-flares.

Canon 6D DSLR & 6inch diameter Cave Astrola Newtonian telescope, Baader Solar Filter, ISO 400, 1/2000 sec from my backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio.

Best Regards,

John Chumack