The Hockey Stick Galaxy – NGC4656 & The Whale Galaxy – NGC4631

By |May 27th, 2021|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Here is one for all you Hockey Fans, Whale Fans, or Just cool Galaxy Fans! Have a Great Memorial Day/Holiday weekend everyone!
NGC 4656/NGC4657 also known informally as the “Hockey Stick Galaxy” or the “Crowbar Galaxy” is a distorted edge-on spiral galaxy.
Its distinctive hockey stick shape is due to a recent gravitational interaction with the Whale galaxy NGC 4631.
NGC 4656/NGC4657 is a highly warped barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation Canes Venatici at 15.8 million light years from Earth. I barely picked up the much fainter section of the Hockey stick just below the bottom of the stick.
This 11th magnitude galaxy is a member of the NGC 4631 Group.
Interesting note: A Luminous Blue Variable star in “super-outburst” was discovered in NGC 4656/57 on March 21, 2005.
NGC 4631 or Caldwell 32 (bottom left) is known as the Whale Galaxy with NGC 4627 its baby whale(pup) just below it.
The Whale Galaxy is a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici.
This galaxy’s slightly distorted wedge shape gives it the appearance of a herring or a whale, hence its nickname.
From Earth we see it edge-on to our line of sight, and shines at 9.8 magnitude, it is located 25 million light years away.
I captured this image from my observatories in Ohio on 05-15-2021 and both galaxies barely fit in my FOV.
I used my Explore Scientific 102mm Triplet APO (FCD 100) refractor telescope & QHY183C Cooled Cmos Camera, Bisque ME robotic Mount, 85 minutes total integration,
I had to throw away 7 x(300sec) subs due to high clouds rolling in and out, but managed to keep 85 minutes of the original 120 min. data run. Stacking & Processing in DSS, Pixinsight & Adobe CC 2021.
Best Regards,
John Chumack

M87 Elliptical Galaxy, and its Plasma Jet!

By |May 25th, 2021|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

M87, and its Plasma Jet!  Messier 87 (also known as Virgo A or NGC 4486) is a super-giant elliptical galaxy with several trillion stars in the constellation Virgo. One of the most massive galaxies in the local universe, it has a large population of globular clusters roughly 15,000 compared with the 200 or so orbiting the Milky Way.
M87 has a jet of energetic plasma(2 o’clock position) that originates at the core(black hole) and extends at least 1,500 parsecs (4,900 light-years), traveling at a relativistic speed. It has a massive black hole at its center, and It is one of the brightest radio sources in the sky and a popular target for both amateur and professional astronomers. It is located 53 million light years from Earth and is the second-brightest galaxy within the northern Virgo Cluster, having many fainter satellite galaxies.(faint fuzzies in the background). I was pleasantly surprised to have captured the jet with a small 4 inch diameter telescope & my QHY183C cooled Cmos Camera for 110 minute total exposure integration. 05-14-2021 I included a cropped B&W and Inverted image to help you see the plasma jet easier.
Best Regards,
John Chumack

M13 The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules

By |May 21st, 2021|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

M13 The Great Hercules Swarm! No Murder Hornets….I promise!
But you really do want to put this up Full Screen to enjoy the many fainter stars and the tiny background galaxies hiding in the image too!
Messier 13 or M13, aka NGC 6205 and is sometimes called the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules or the Hercules Globular Cluster.

M13 is a globular cluster with over 500,000 stars in a tight ball and is located 22,180 light years from Earth in the constellation Hercules.
The Ball of Stars is about 145 light years in diameter, it is estimated to be 11.66 billion years old.
It shines at magnitude 5.8…barely visible to the unaided eye as a fuzzy patch under dark skies.
An easy target in Binoculars or small telescopes. Absolutely fabulous in a larger diameter telescope.

I often wonder if you were on a planet around a star inside that cluster, how many bright stars you would see in your night sky?
Would they fill the sky? or Would your sky even get dark?

I captured this from my Observatories on 05-13-2021 with my Explore Scientific 102mm Triplet APO Refractor & Bisque ME Robotic Mount,
and QHY183C Cooled Color Cmos Camera, for a 105 minute total integration(21 x 300sec subs). My usual processing in DSS, Pixinsight, and Adobe CS 2021.

Best Regards,

John Chumack


M100 Spiral Galaxy 05-13-2021

By |May 19th, 2021|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

M100 Spiral Galaxy
M100, Messier 100 (aka NGC 4321) is a grand design intermediate spiral galaxy located within the southern part of constellation Coma Berenices.
It is over 107,000 light years in diameter, and is located at 55 million light years from Earth.
As you can see M100 spiral has lots of (Faint Fuzzies) galaxy friends nearby, and if you scan the background carefully you will see many more tiny galaxies as faint as 18th magnitude in this FOV.
This is a 115 minute exposure with my Explore Scientific 102MM Triplet APO refractor Telescope & QHY183C Cooled Color(RGB) Cmos Cameras, tracking on a Bisque ME robotic Mount, captured on 05-13-2021.
Best Regards,
John Chumack

Do you want to see Aurora Borealis “The Northern Lights” ?

By |May 16th, 2021|Tags: , , , |

Do you want to see Aurora Borealis “The Northern Lights” ?  you can join me on one of these trips..

Watch my Interview on Fletch Entertainment Network as they ask me about my Aurora/Expeditions Northern Lights Photo Tours that I lead each year in Iceland and Alaska.   We play some time lapse videos and I talk about what its like on the trip,  and what to expect during Aurora activity, we also talk astronomy and the recent Nova in Cassiopeia.

If you like the video please click like in Youtube!!

Best Regards,

John Chumack


A bright Nova in Cassiopeia. V1405 Nova Cas 2021 : update

By |May 16th, 2021|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Happy International Astronomy Day,
The New Nova Cas 2021 (V1405 Cas)
I give you a bright Nova in Cassiopeia. V1405 Nova Cas 2021
Nova in Cassiopeia has really brightened and is Now at 5.4 magnitude, here is my latest image with M52 & NGC7635 The Bubble Nebula Complex. The Nova is the brightest yellow star in the image.
A new nova in Cassiopeia was discovered on March 18th, is bright enough to see in a small telescope or binoculars.
Nova Cassiopeia 2021, designated V1405 Cas, shone around magnitude 8 on March 21, 2021. It’s located in a star rich region of western Cassiopeia.
Yuji Nakamura of Japan discovered the object at magnitude 9.6 in four images he took with a 135-mm lens on March 18th.
Four days prior, nothing was visible at the location down to magnitude 13.
Now nearly two months later the Nova has gotten much brighter and is currently at 5.5 Magnitude and easily visible in Binoculars.
Within a day, Nova Cassiopeia 2021 received its permanent designation, V1405 Cas.
The new object (V1405) Cas is located at right ascension 23h 24m 48s, declination +61° 11′ 15″.
The New Nova is 0.5 degrees south of the bright open cluster M52(at top) , and 0.5 degrees east of the Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635)(seen on the lower right edge).
I finally was able to see and capture it for myself and by the time I got my first photo 04-02-2021, the New Nova had risen to magnitude 7.9, and again I had taken my latest image on 05-13-2021 when it got even brighter at 5.4 magnitude, it was easily bright enough to see in my 10 x 70mm binoculars.
The nova is circumpolar for mid-northern latitudes and observable all night, but it’s best seen during the early evening and just before dawn, I had only about a little over an hour to shoot it once it cleared the trees, just before dawn came up and washed out the night sky.
Classical novae like V1405 Cas are close binary stars comprised of a compact white dwarf and either a main-sequence star like our Sun or a red giant. The dwarf’s powerful gravity siphons hydrogen from its partner into an accretion disk. Material then funnels from the disk to the dwarf’s surface, where it’s compacted and heated to around 10 million Kelvin, hot enough to trigger explosive nuclear fusion.
102mm Explore Scientific Triplet APO refractor, Bisque ME mount & QHY183C Cooled Cmos color camera. 80 minute exposure.
Best Regards,
John Chumack

Comet Atlas c/2020 R4 on 05-06-2021

By |May 11th, 2021|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Comet Atlas c/2020 R4 on 05-06-2021 @ 03:25 U.T.

Comets are one of many things that orbit our Sun…
I captured this image of Comet Atlas c/2020 R4 last week.
I had to battled patchy clouds until midnight or so, but was able to take this single 5 minute shot of the Comet with my 102mm & QHY183C  Cooled color Cmos Camera when it was in the constellation Canes Venatici on 05-06-2021 @ 03:25 U.T., I wish I had a little bit wider field and clearer skies that night, as it would have been cool to capture the Comet passing the Hockey Stick & Whale galaxies, that were just out of the field of view.
The comet was shining at magnitude 10.5 and had bright nucleus and about a 4 arc min Green Coma, and was 0.5 AU from the Earth at the time.
I was happy to capture this Comet in between holes in the clouds. The Comet should be fading rapidly & moving into the Constellation Leo as well as twilight and Strong Moonlight, making it difficult to see after the 22nd of May of 2021.


Best Regards,

John Chumack


The Pink Super Full Moon 04-26-2021

By |April 28th, 2021|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Pink Super Full Moon! 04-26-2021
Called the Pink Moon for all the pink flowers during spring time…as the Moon really isn’t pink, but since everyone wanted a pink one…I tinted my original image so you could all have your pink Moon, personally I like the natural Monochrome/Grey view. It turned out okay considering I was shooting through high Haze/cirrus clouds.
C6 Newtonian Scope & QHY183M Cooled Cmos Camera & a single 25ms Exposure captured from my backyard observatory in Dayton, Ohio.
Best Regards,
John Chumack

NGC-4565 Edge on Spiral Galaxy “The Needle Galaxy”

By |April 26th, 2021|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

NGC-4565 Edge on Spiral Galaxy,
Caldwell 38, or also known as the Needle Galaxy for its narrow profile. NGC 4565 was discovered by William Herschel in 1785.
NGC-4565 is an edge-on spiral galaxy about 42 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices.
It lies close to the North Galactic Pole and has a visual magnitude of approximately 10.4 this is a wonderful galaxy to look at,
especially with a large diameter scope that often shows the dust lane really well.
Smaller telescopes will show it as a narrow streak of light in the eyepiece, it can be difficult to see visually if in or near city light pollution.
Captured on 04-03-2021 with my Explore Scientific 102mm Triplet APO Refractor telescope, Bisque ME Mount, QHY 183C Cooled Cmos Camera, 130 min. exposure, (26 x 300sec subs), SkyX Camera capture software, PHD2, DSS, Pixinsight, & Adobe CS 2021.
best Regards,
John Chumack

M104 The Sombrero Galaxy in Virgo

By |April 23rd, 2021|Tags: , , , , , |

Messier 104, M104, NGC4594, also known as The Sombrero Galaxy
M104 is located 28 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo, and with a mass equal to 800 billion suns, it is one of the most massive objects in the Virgo galaxy cluster. It spans 50,000 light years across.
M104 was discovered in 1781 by the French astronomer and comet hunter Pierre Méchain, and Messier added it to his list, and it was independently discover by William Herschel in 1784.
M104 appears bright in most telescopes and the central dark dust lane is easily visible in the eyepiece of most 6 inch or larger telescopes under urban skies.
The dark dust lane and the bright bulge give this galaxy the appearance of a sombrero hat, hence the name.
The Sombrero Galaxy contains one the most massive black holes measured in any nearby galaxies.
Visually the galaxy appears to be 9 arc min by 4 arc minutes in size, and shines at magnitude 8.98. Look for all those little background galaxies too!
Captured on 04-02-2021 with my Explore Scientific 102mm Triplet APO Refractor Telescope, Bisque ME Mount, QHY 183C Cooled Cmos Camera, 95min exposure, (19 x 300sec subs), Bisque ME Mount, SkyX Camera capture software, PHD2, DSS, Pixinsight, & Adobe CS 2021.
Best Regards,
John Chumack