This is my first attempt at imaging a gravitationally lensed object. The two faint stars in the center of the image are a double image of Quasar QSO 0957+561, lensed by an intermediate galaxy that does not appear in the image. I believe this is my most distant target yet, at 8.7 billion light years.
Observations with the C8
We had another incredibly clear night with good seeing, so I got the big scope out and did a mix of new targets and closer looks at targets I’ve observed with the little scope.
Waning Gibbous Venus
Venus is now high enough in the sky that I can get a decent look at it in the evening. I can’t resolve cloud details, but it’s fun to see the phase. The C8/178MC imaging combination gives a pixel scale of .262 arcsec, so Venus is approximately 19 arcseconds in diameter in this image.
First clear night in forever
It’s been a few weeks of clouds, so when I finally got a clear night I spent a long time out there finding new objects. It’s mostly galaxies this time of year, but I think the two planetary nebulas at the end are my favorites of the set.
I decided to focus on M51 this time. I also experimented with my camera in monochrome mode to reduce chroma noise. The wide shot is about 70 minutes of exposure and looks nice and smooth, but subtracting the background gradient reveals how little dynamic range there really is.
Orion and the Whirlpool
Managed to get a few images in a shorter night with my SCT. Was having mount trouble unfortunately. M87 was a new observation. I was hoping to resolve the jet at the core, but wasn’t getting enough stars to align repeated exposures. Looks like I accidentally saved out my only image with star markers enabled.
Venus and the Pleiades again
Another shot since they’re even closer than last time
This is a pair of colliding galaxies, named for the long thin wisps extending from them. Those didn’t resolve in my image. This target is low and in the middle of the Detroit light dome from my home, so it was very difficult to get anything out of it.
I caught a glimpse of the Owl Nebula through my small refractor and decided to get a closer look with my C8 SCT. It’s a challenging target – dim enough that it doesn’t stand out much from the light pollution even with a longer exposure.
Venus and the Pleiades
Captured with my old point-and-shoot on a tracking mount