Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cadwell 10 (NGC 663) and Open Cluster and Be stars

The Open Cluster known as C10 or NGC 663 is about 2100 parsecs from us towards the constellation Cassiopeia.  Its estimated age is around 20 million years.  Therefore its main sequence B2 stars are coming to the end of their life cycle.  It is of great interests to astronomers due to its large number of Be stars.  These stars are interesting due to the strength of their emission lines and their typical infrared excess.  Here I present an RGB image composite of this cluster as taken from my telescope at the Vazquez Astronomical Observatory.  Just another wonder in the Universe at the reach of us here in Webster, NY.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

M 81 Bode's Galaxy

M 81 Bode's Galaxy as seen by VAO
Messier 81 also known as Bode's Galaxy is 11.8 million light years away from Earth. On the night of December 29th, 2013 I took 5x3min exposures on RGB channels and combine them with 4x5min clear filter for the luminance channel for a total exposure time of 1 hour and 5 minutes. The galaxy hosts a bright AGN with a 70 million solar masses super massive black hole. It was discovered by Johann Elert Bode on 1774 and included in Messier's catalog in 1779. It is a favorite target for amateur astronomers for its brightness as well as its accessibility to be seen from dark skies with binoculars.  It is an interesting target for astrophotographers as it shows interesting dust bands easily with small aperture telescopes and relatively short exposures. Professionally it has been observed by many space telescopes in different wavelengths and due to its proximity it is an interesting target for study of AGN and its only known Supernova SN 1993J.