M15 The Great Pegasus Globular Star Cluster

By |December 1st, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Great Pegasus Globular Star Cluster
I often wonder what it would be like on a planet inside this cluster? Would there be thousands of bright stars in the sky?

Would the sky be dark? This is what makes astronomy makes you think and imagine beyond our everyday lives.

Messier 15 or M15 is a globular cluster in the constellation Pegasus, 33,000 light years(10kPC) from Earth.
It was discovered by Jean-Dominique Maraldi in 1746 and included in Charles Messier’s catalogue of comet-like objects in 1764. At an estimated 13.2 billion years old, it is one of the oldest and densest known globular clusters.

It is so massive and is about 176 Light years in diameter, and contains over 100,000 stars, the central core region contains over 30,000 star and not even the Hubble could resolve the central region to see what is at the center, but something at the center is gravitationally keeping them so tightly packed in.

Another cool fact is that there is a planetary nebula in there as well known as Pease 1, and M15 was the first Globular to be discovered with a Planetary Nebulae hiding within it. M15 spans about 18 arc minutes in diameter in my photo.

I captured this image using my Old Orange Tube C8 SCT Telescope, QHY183C Cooled Cmos Camera, Bisque MyT Mount, 60 minute exposure, captured on 11-19-2020 from my backyard
Observatory in Dayton, Ohio.


Best Regards,

John Chumack


The Sun in Hydrogen Alpha Light – High Activity

By |November 30th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

It is so awesome to see the Sun so active again!

The Sun In Hydrogen Alpha Light with massive Sunspot group AR2786 & AR2785 on 11/28/2020.
There are some nice Solar Prominence’s on the South Eastern and South western Limbs.
A Major Solar flare erupted earlier today 11/29/2020 and its coming around the South Eastern limb.
More Sunspots are popping up and as of earlier today there are at least 5 active sunspot regions on the Sun.
The Largest Sunspot AR2786 has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares.
I included a close-up of Sunspot AR2786. If you have a safe solar filter for your telescope,
be sure to take a look at the Sunspots on the Sun all this week(never look at the sun unless you have the proper safe filter,
as it will blind you)

I capture these shots of the activity with my Lunt 60mm/50F Hydrogen Alpha Scope & QHY5IIL Cmos Camera(0.5x reducer)
for full disk 400 frames Stacked and QHY5III290M cameras with 2x barlow for the sunspot close-up. 800 frames stacked.

Best Regards,

john Chumack


Sunspots – Active Regions AR2786, AR2785, AR2783

By |November 27th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Sun has more Sunspots, this time Active Regions AR2786, AR2785, AR2783 captured on 11/27/2020 1901 U.T. , an it looks like another active region will be coming around the limb.
Its been cloudy and raining all week, so glad i caught this 2 minute break, ..I literally got a 2 minute opening in the clouds this afternoon, just long enough for me to nab a couple of shots with my Solar scope. The Sunspots are Larger than the Earth..and it now seems like we are coming out of the extended solar Minimum, Good News for Solar observers and for my Aurora hunters.
Captured with Lunt 60mm/50F Hydrogen Alpha Scope, & QHY5II L Cmos camera. 200 frames stacked.


Best Regards,

John Chumack


NGC-1985 & Van den Berg 45 Reflection Nebulae

By |November 27th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

They may be tiny…but still interesting when I find these new objects to image and do some historical research on them!
NGC-1985 is a small, bright reflection nebula located in the Auriga. It was discovered by William Herschel on December 13, 1790.
It has an apparent Magnitude of 12.8 and its size is 0.68 arc minutes, rather small in size, but you can barely tell its there
visually as the faint star looks a bit funky/fuzzy!
NGC 1985 has been called a planetary nebula in the past, yes this object was misidentified as PLN 176+ 0.1, and appears in many
Planetary Nebulae Catalogs as well as planetarium programs, but is now generally accepted as a reflection nebula.
NGC-1985 is at the center of this image,
but there is also another Reflection Nebula nearby, that bright blue fuzzy star in the bottom right is actually a reflection
nebula,(Van den Berg catalog) vdB 45 and is seen around the star HD 245259 in the lower right.
Even Zwicky had accidentally cataloged this as a Galaxy, but we now know it is a small bright reflection nebula.
These two Nebulae are located just West of M36 & M37 in the constellation Auriga.
C8 SCT Telescope + QHY183c Cooled Cmos camera,
58 minute exposure.

NGC-2163 The Blue Bow-Tie Reflection Nebula

By |November 24th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Blue Bow-Tie Nebula (my nickname for this one)
NGC-2163 is described as being a bipolar reflection nebula in Orion. It is associated with the pre-main sequence emission line star at the center and is the 13th magnitude variable star LkHa208, a young star still enveloped by its prenatal cloud.
Apparently, the star has an equatorial disk that creates the bipolar flows 2 arc min. x 3 arc min. The area around the star, especially to the west is filled with faint nebulosity though to the east is a north-south dark nebula. It seems to carry the designation of LDN 1574 and 1575 even though both have exactly the same coordinates.

Captured with C8 SCT Telescope & QHY183C Cooled Cmos Camera for a 50 minute exposure.

Best Regards,

John Chumack


NGC-6905 The Blue Flash Planetary Nebula

By |November 19th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Say what? A Christmas ornament in space?
NGC-6905, also known as the Blue Flash Nebula, is a planetary nebula in the constellation Delphinus(The Dolphin). It was discovered by William Herschel in 1784.
The central star is 14.0 mag. The distance of the nebula, as with most planetary nebulae, is not well determined and current estimates place it at 7,500 light years away.
The shape of NGC-6905 is characterized by an internal shell with angular dimensions 47″ × 34″ and roughly conical extensions, with ansae-type formations along the major axis,
It looks tiny in the telescope, tip to tip NGC-6905 is about 1.2 arc minutes across, so crank up the magnification a bit to see more detail.
The central star, a white dwarf is estimated to have surface temperature 150,000 K. This wonderful looking dying star is blowing off its outer atmosphere, which will be the fate of our Sun as well.
NGC-6905 can be detected under dark skies with a 4-inch telescope as it shines at magnitude 10.9, but the Blue Flash is better observed with larger telescopes(like my homemade 16 inch diameter scope) you can make out some of the structure in the outer shell. It’s Conical Shape definitely reminds me of the old Christmas ornaments, and this Planetary Nebula is absolutely beautiful in this rich Milky Way star field.
I included a cropped close-up view as well to help you see some structure in this Cool “Blue Flash” planetary nebula.
C8 SCT telescope @ F6.3, QHY183C Cooled Cmos RGB Camera, Bisque MYT Mount, and 54 minute exposure total on 11-17-2020 from my backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio.
Piggy backed a C90 (1300mmFL)Guide scope with QHY5IIL Cmos camera for guiding via PHD2.
Best Regards,
John Chumack

NGC891 Test with a C8 SCT telescope

By |November 15th, 2020|

NGC 891 aka Caldwell 23 or Silver Sliver Galaxy is an edge-on unbarred spiral galaxy about 27 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda. It was discovered by William Herschel on October 6, 1784. The galaxy is a member of the NGC 1023 group of galaxies in the Local Super-cluster. Visually it a treat through most amateur telescopes under dark skies, you can easily see the dark central dust band cutting through the length of the galaxy. NGC891 is 110 light years across, and looks very similar to our Milky Way Galaxy seen Edge on.

As you may know, I am always trying out new hardware configurations and new software as well.
NGC891 Edge On Spiral Galaxy In the Constellation Andromeda, was captured under less than ideal conditions, especially with these tiny pixels on a long FL scope.
Atmospheric Seeing was Terrible, FWHM running 5.6 to 6.8 and a Cold foggy haze was lingering,…but I managed to salvage something of this test shot with a different camera/Scope configuration., I will have to try again on a more stable night. Old Orange tube C8 @F6.3 and 90mm Maksuktov Guide Scope(1300MM/QHY5IIL), Bisque MYT Mount, and QHY183C(gain11 offset 30), 45 x 2 minute subs, Darks, Flats, Calibrated & Stacked in the Deep Sky Stacker, 90 minutes total.

The Old Orange tube C8 telescope Setup, there is a black dew cap just not shown, Although my Dome prevents a lot of dew from forming anyway, but SCT are notorious for dew forming on the corrector plates and for changing focus as temperature drops through out the night…Although I usually only use SCT for planet work or small planetary Nebula, I decided to try this out. any way. Plus gets me some close-ups on those galaxies too.

Best Regards,

John Chumack


NGC2022 Planetary Nebula in Orion

By |November 12th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

NGC2022 is a really nice 11.6 visual magnitude planetary nebula in the Constellation Orion, visually and photographically appears tiny,
with an apparent size of 28 arc-seconds, and a halo extending out to 40 arc-seconds. This Dying Star is in the process of blowing off its outer
atmosphere, and small stars like our Sun await a similar fate.

This is a double-shell planetary nebula with a wind-compressed inner shell and a more nebulous second shell.

The linear radius of the inner shell is estimated at 0.326 ± 0.039 light years
NGC2022 is located 8,200 light years from Earth, the central star is 15.92 magnitude which can been seen clearly in my photo.

NGC 2022 nebula lies 11° away from the Galactic Plane, which position suggests it was formed from a low mass star.
The elemental abundances are similar to those in the Sun, although carbon is about 50% higher and sulfur is a factor of two lower.

Captured 11-09-2020 from my Backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio with an 8inch SCT telescope, QHY183MC Cooled Color Cmos Camera, and Bisque MYT mount, 5 minute exposure.

Best Regards,

John Chumack



Sunspot Group AR2781 in Hydrogen Alpha Light!

By |November 11th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Here is my Hydrogen Alpha close-up shot of the Sunspot Group or active Region known as AR2781, it is still facing the Earth and should be visible  for a few more days, using a safely filtered solar telescopes or other safe white light projecting methods!  Even though we are still at solar minimum, it is so nice to see the Sun Producing Sunspots in the New Solar Cycle #25, Solar maximum will occur in July of 2025, so it should just get better from here on out. Also our Chances for great aurora displays will increase as we head toward Solar Max in 2025. The Pandemic killed our 2020 trip, So looking forward to resuming our Alaska Aurora photo workshops in 2021 to 2025 too! I captured this image from my backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio on 11-07-2020 with my Lunt Hydrogen 60mm/50F Alpha Solar telescope & a QHY290M Cmos camera, 391 frames stacked in Registax6.


Best Regards,

John Chumack

Comet Atlas C/2020 M3 swings past M42 The Orion Nebula Region.

By |November 9th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Comet Atlas C/ 2020 M3 swings past M42 and M43 Orion Nebula (bottom) and The Horsehead Nebula Region,
Zeta Orionis, Alnitak (upper left corner).

The Green Comet shining at magnitude 7.9 was approaching the 3rd magnitude star 28-Eta Orionis on 11-08-2020.

Despite the Strong Moonlight, I managed to captured this view of the Trio with a Canon 6D and a Sigma 150-600mm lens, set to 250mm,

at F6.3, ISO 800, 20 minutes exp., piggyback on a Bisque ME Mount at my observatories at JBSPO in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Best Regards,

John Chumack