There are a lot of stars in this picture; the gases of the Wizard Nebula (formally SH2-142) are the birthplace of those stars, and more are being created even now. It’s located about 7,200 light-years away, and is extremely dim – it took over 9 hours of exposure time to capture this image. Your ability to see the shape of a medieval sorcerer is a test of your imagination!
Jupiter and Saturn both reached “opposition” over the summer, meaning they had their closest approach to Earth for the year. Florida’s summer weather conspired against photographing the planets at that time, but the skies finally cleared last night. They’re not at their closest, but… they’re close enough. I think this is my best Jupiter image…
This young star cluster inside the Heart Nebula is lighting up the clouds of gas from which it formed. 3 hours of narrowband exposure from my suburban driveway.
It’s not the title of a children’s story – it’s a pair of galaxies 30 million light-years away that look like, well, a whale and a hockey stick. Officially their names are NGC 4631 and NGC 4656.