2015-06-18 Astrophotography: The North American and Pelican Nebula (NGC 7000, IC 5070)

20150617_NGC7000(4)_DBE_CC_HT_HDR_ACDNR_HT_SAT-4I often seem to start these posts off by remarking about how we finally had clear night skies and that it has been cloudy for weeks, but this last stretch of poor visibility has really seemed to drag on and on.  In the last four weeks we have had one very clear night, and it happened to coincide with the full moon.  This makes it very challenging to image faint deep space objects.  Last night, the streak continued and while the stars were actually visible there was a constant layer of high altitude clouds passing through diffusing the light from the sky and preventing it from being truly dark.  I have felt so pent up lately that I decided that I would go out and setup, if only for the sake of exercising my skills with the gear.  As I started to image, I cursed the clouds and yearned for truly clear, dark skies.  I located my practice target, and began to review images to check for exposure settings and composition, and I noticed something about the images that was quite intriguing.  As I studied the image on the back of the camera LCD, I (more…)

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2015-06-06 Astrophotography: The Great Hercules Cluster Messier 13

20150607_M13_CROP_DBE_BN_SCNR_HT_HDR_ACDNR2_HT_SAT-2There are over 150 Globular Star Clusters found inside the Milky Way Galaxy.  Larger galaxies can have even more, with Andromeda Galaxy containing more than 500, and Galaxy Messier 87 a staggering 13,000.  These star clusters contain hundreds of thousands of densely packed stars and form a spherical cluster due to the gravitational relationship with one another.  Little is known about Globular Clusters with relation to how they were formed.  There is debate over whether the stars were all formed at the same time, or whether stars were acquired somehow over many generations of stars and hundreds of millions of years.  The theories on formation even change from one star cluster to another, but similarities can be drawn between them.  Most contain older yellow stars and very few young hot stars, which suggest that (more…)

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