Last night I set out to image Jupiter and Saturn, but both are pretty far away at this point, and the atmospheric conditions weren’t great. So I tried for the Moon instead. We take our nearest celestial neighbor for granted – there’s a whole world right next to us, waiting for us to explore it! And with a telescope, you don’t even need a space suit.
You’re looking at about 500,000 stars, balled up just outside of our galaxy. They are ancient; about 8 billion years old.
A spiral galaxy almost 40 million light-years away, viewed edge-on. The dust lane in the center of its disk, and central bulge are clearly visible. A couple of its smaller, satellite galaxies can also be seen here.
Formally IC1396, this cloud of interstellar gas and dust is thought to be an active site of new star formation. And with a little imagination, it kind of looks like an elephant’s trunk. There’s more to it than you see here, but I tried to get an interesting framing. From this angle we see a…
Hope to revisit this under better conditions in the future; but this came out OK considering a bright moon was out the night it was taken. The Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) is near the end of the handle of the Big Dipper in the sky, although physically it is tens of millions of light-years more distant.
Hoag’s Object is the weirdest galaxy I know of; it is a “ring galaxy” – a very rare galaxy type that’s just a galactic core of stars, surrounded by a ring of stars that’s seemingly disconnected from its core. This galaxy has always captured my imagination. Just look at this image from the Hubble Space…