The Planet Mercury Transits the Sun on November 11, 2019

By |November 13th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Here is one of my sharpest full Solar Disk Close-up shots of the 2019 Mercury Transit that I captured with my Lunt 60mm/50F Hydrogen Alpha Solar telescope & QHY5III290M Camera with 0.5x reducer, It barely fit the Full disk of the sun in the FOV.
Tracking the Sun was done with my Celestron portable Advanced VX mount, Images captured via Fire-Capture software running the QHY Cameras in full res mode. Stacked in Registax6.
After my Show in the Philly Expo center this past weekend,
We drove down to the Wading Pines Campground(39.68778 N, 74.54192 W) in South Eastern New Jersey,
as it was supposed to be the clearest area for most of the Eastern half of the USA.
My friend Raymond Drove all the way down from Ottawa, Canada & setup up the campsite the night before,
and another  buddy Greg then drove out from Dayton, Ohio and then he and I drove down to the campsite after we tore down my Art exhibit in Philly.
We got there at 4:00am just in time to polar align our scopes and setup laptops & camera & software started then just waited for sun to clear the horizon. this shot was taken 11-11-2019 at 14:59 U.T., you can see some really nice Prominence activity around the solar limbs, as well as how tiny Mercury is.

it wasn’t bad weather there, temps were 44F in the morning rising to 68F by the end of the transit, the sky was 90% clear…seeing was a bit rough when the sun was low, but that was to be expected..but thin high cirrus clouds started floating through about mid transit…these transits are so nice, if you have clear skies (5.5 hours for this one) since we have lots of time we try different techniques and different scopes/camera combos…

Unfortunately most solar eclipses are less than 7 minutes before its no time to screw around.

I also captured some white light shots with my 90mm Maksuktov scope. More images coming later..

a little bit of background of myself running on empty…
I ‘m Still trying to recover from the long weekend that started last Thursday at 3am, a 10 hours drive pulling my trailer, setup my booth for 10 hours at the Philly expo center, sell my work all day for 3 days, break down my Booth Sunday night & pack for 4 hours, with Greg’s help, then 3 hour of sleep, then drive 2 hours to NJ to shoot the transit and driving 10 hours home only to run into a Snow squall for 2 hours, finally went to bed by midnight, only to get up again at 5am to go to work this morning. Finally processed one image after dinner and telling my wife about the nasty drive home in the snow squalls.

Crazy busy weekend!!! Sometimes it takes all your time and energy & then some! But it was so worth my 3rd Mercury transit shot!

M42 & M43 The Great Orion Nebula Complex

By |October 30th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Always fun to image…and always full of detail…”Put it full screen”…take a ride inside the Great Orion Nebula.
M42 & M43 The Great Orion Nebula Complex with Theta Orionis the Trapezium. Always Jaw dropping & looks great in most telescopes, yes it is also visible to the unaided eye & in binoculars. but just not as detailed as in a photographic or telescopic view.

Messier 42 (M42), the famous Orion Nebula, is an emission-reflection nebula located in the constellation Orion, the Hunter. With an apparent magnitude of 4.0, the Orion Nebula is one of the brightest nebulae in the sky and is visible to the naked eye. It is located about 1,433 light Years from Earth. Its diameter is about 24 light years across, the bright & tight cluster at the center is known as the Trapezium or Theta Orionis. The Great Orion Nebula certainly is one beautiful & massive star formation region(Stellar Nursery).

I captured this RGB+HA narrow band image using my QHY183C cooled color Cmos Camera for the RGB 36 min. exp., and My QHY183M cooled monochrome for the H-Alpha 60 min. exp. 30 second subs & 180sec subs, C6 F5 Newt. Scope, Capture via the Sky X software, Stack in Deep Sky Stacker, and Processed Adobe CS. Data from early morning captures in Sept. & Oct 2019 in my Backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio.

Best Regards,

John Chumack

M11 The Wild Duck Cluster

By |October 25th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

M11 The Wild Duck Open Star Cluster in Scutum

Its a favorite among amateur astronomers as it is a bright object (5.8 Mag.) in the Constellation of Scutum,
& the blue color of the young hot blue stars is very noticeable visually in most telescopes. yes it is visible in binoculars too.. just not as detailed as a telescope view.

M11 is in front of the Scutum Star Cloud and is located about 6,197 Light Years away from Earth.
Open clusters are groups of stars that are only loosely bound by gravity, in this case about 2900 stars are involved with the cluster & their age is about 220 million years old.
The popular name “The Wild Duck” was derives from the brighter stars forming a triangle which could resemble a flying flock of ducks.

Capture details:
QHY183C Cooled Color Cmos Camera & C6 Newt. Scope, Baader Coma Corrector, Bisque MYT Mount for a 24 minute exposure(8 x 3 minute subs) Bin 1×1, 0.66 Arc-sec/pixel resolution.
The original full frame is 60’x 40′ arc/min FOV,

I included a crop from the original to allow you to see a close-up inside the Wild Duck Cluster.

Captured via the SKY X Software, Stacked calibrated images in Deep Sky Stacker, Nebulosity color balance and Adobe CS for final output.

Captured from my backyard observatory in Dayton Ohio on 10-23-2019.

Best Regards,

John Chumack

SH2-199 The Head of the Soul Nebula Complex

By |September 30th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Finally finished this creepy(Just in time for Halloween, LOL!) but beautiful monster last night…

Sharpless 2-199 – The Head of the Soul Nebula Complex,
Westerhout 5 (Sharpless 2-199, LBN 667, Soul Nebula)
is an Emission Nebula in the Constellation Cassiopeia.

The Soul Nebula is sometimes also known as the Embryo Nebula or IC 1848, which is a designation used for the open star cluster embedded within the nebula. Several small open clusters are actually embedded in the nebula: CR 34, 632, and 634 (in the head)

The nebula is home to W5, (Westerhout 5) a radio source that spans an area roughly the size of four full Moons. The radio source has large cavities that are the result of the nearby massive stars’ winds and radiation carving the nebula, pushing the gas together and causing it to ignite to form new stars.

I captured this 4.5 hour exposure from my backyard in Dayton, Ohio on 09/23/2019 and 09/26/2019 using my QHY183M BI CMOS camera & C6 Newtonian Scope, Bisque MyT mount, Coma Corrector, & EFW, 4.5 hours of exposure time through Hydrogen Alpha (90min), Oxygen III(90min), & Oxygen III(90 min), narrowband wavelengths, mapped out to an RGB! Deepsky Stacker, Maxim DL, & Adobe CS.

Best Regards,

John Chumack

The Propeller Nebula

By |September 19th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The Propeller Nebula, AKA Simeis 57 = DWB 111 & DWB119 = MRSL 479

Not much is known about this object…but it is located in star rich region of Cygnus the Swan or the Northern Cross.

The brighter propellers are visible visually in an 18″ diameter scope from a dark location…but the rest is so faint you likely won’t be able to glimpse it visually, but long exposures will show the rest of it,

I will try this again for a much longer exposure, this was shot from my backyard in Dayton, through high thin clouds for a good part of the full moon night, So will give it another go sometime in the future..

Its not too bad, considering the poor conditions I had, and it shows the Propeller well, but more data is needed to pick up the rest of the fainter gas filled region & dark nebula.

C6 F5 Newt. Scope & QHY183M Bi Cooled Cmos camera bin 1×1, ZWO EFW, 2.5 hours in bi color, H-Alpha, OIII, OIII, mapped out to RGB.
No Auto-guiding was need, My mount tracks well enough for the 2 minute subs, I was limited to 2 minute subs, due to the sensitivity of the Camera, city lights, and Full moonlight, plus the high cirrus haze, all this can easily overwhelm the sensor and as well as saturate the brighter stars.

Best Regards,

John Chumack

Melotte 15 – The core of the Heart Nebula Complex

By |August 21st, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Some places in the Universe are simply magical, they often can take your breath away,…and this is one of those places!

It is the incredible vistas like these that continue to motivate me to capture the Universe! Its a lot of work but so worth the results!

Please like my “Galactic Images by John Chumack” Facebook can easily share from there..and Follow me by name on Twitter & Instagram as well.

This is my extreme close-up shot inside the core of the Heart Nebula Complex with Melotte 15, here is a 6 hour exposure (72 x 300 sec subs) in Narrow Band H-Alpha & Oxygen III light captured over 3 nights, along with about 50 calibration frames for each night, all taken through my 6″ diameter Newt. scope & ZWO 174MM Cooled Cmos camera, yes taken from my backyard observatory in Dayton, Ohio. I’m very happy with the results from this capture, calibration, & processing, but image processing is a never ending learning curve. I’m forever trying to figure out new ways to pull out as much detail as possible, despite my often poor seeing conditions in Dayton, Ohio.The entire Heart nebula complex is very large 150 arc minutes x 150 arc minutes in some of my wider field shots, but using this scope camera combo, I’m really Inside the center of the Heart Nebula in this image, the F.O.V. is only about 32 x 50 Arc minutes across. My resolution is 1.53 arc seconds per pixel.The Heart nebula, also known as Index Catalog IC-1805, Sharpless 2-190, with Melotte 15 open star cluster lies some 7500 light years away from Earth and is located in the Perseus Arm of our Milky Way Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. It was discovered by William Herschel on 3 November 1787. This is an emission nebula showing glowing ionized hydrogen gas and darker dust lanes.The nebula’s intense red/golden output and its shape/configuration are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars near the nebula’s center(right). It reminds me of a twisted rope…This open cluster of stars known as Melotte 15 contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, and many more dim stars that are only a fraction of our Sun’s mass.

Best Regards,

John Chumack

The Road to Mars

By |July 9th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Thanks to NASA for featuring another one of my image as their (APOD) “Astronomy Picture of the Day”.
Sometimes you just need to follow “The Road to Mars”!

Capture last May in Moab, Utah. The Road to Mars was beautiful, The Bright Red Planet Mars, as seen at the end of a road in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.

Captured while looking south at 4:36am on 05-16-2018 and you can see the Milky Way in the upper right with Saturn just below the Milky Way as well. I used Low level lighting for the road & road side scenery. The Faint Green Glow on the Horizon just below Mars is called Natural Air Glow, The Amber glow on the Horizon in the lower right is the Light Pollution glow from the town of Moab, Utah.

Sony A7SII with a Sony E-mount to Canon lens adapter & Canon 16-35mm Lens set to F3.2, ISO 12,800, for a 13 second exposure, camera on a tripod.

Best Regards,

John Chumack

NGC1499 The California Nebula Complex Close-up

By |October 10th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Up Close & inside the California Nebula Complex.
The California Nebula (NGC 1499) is an emission nebula located in the constellation Perseus. It is so named because it appears to resemble the outline of the US State of California on long exposure photographs. It is almost 2.5° long on the sky and, because of its very low surface brightness, it is extremely difficult to observe visually.

The nearby energetic O7 star, xi Persei is responsible for the fluorescence of the nebula, due to excitation of the Hβ line. The California Nebula is also known as Sharpless 220 and is located about 1,000 light years from Earth. The California Nebula was discovered by E. E. Barnard in 1884.

This is my extreme close-up shot of it, literally looking inside near the center section the California Nebula Complex, you can also see the elusive black Jelly Fish, an opaque dark black molecular dust cloud near the bottom. A tremendous amount of details are visible within the California Nebula cloud..
I captured this image from my backyard observatory in Dayton, Ohio over 3 nights 09-17, 09-21, & 09-22 of 2017 of light gathering for a total of 7 hours & 15 minutes of exposure time, using my 6 inch diameter F5, Newtonian Scope & a ZWO 174MM cooled Cmos camera in HA, S2, O3 lines Mapped out to RGB.

Best Regards,
John Chumack


IC1396 The Elephant Trunk Nebula Complex

By |October 4th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

Here is my most detailed image of IC-1396 to date! The “Elephant’s Trunk” Nebula Complex.
The Elephant’s Trunk nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust within the much larger ionized gas region IC 1396. Located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth, this is a massive star formation region.

Taken from my backyard observatory in Dayton, in Narrow Band, 120 min in HA, 125 min in S2, 115min in O3, for a total of 6 hour exposure, over 3 nights from 09-17, 09-20, & 09-22 of 2017. Using a 6 Inch diameter Celestron Newt. Scope & ZWO 174MM Cooled Cmos Camera.

Best Regards,

John Chumack