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Monday, December 09 2019 @ 10:16 MST

More astrophotos

AstronomyNot much political commentary this past few weeks, but I've been taking some astrophotos. This time the summer Milky Way, a close neighbour, and a stellar nursery.

A few weeks ago I went out on an observing trip to the RASC Calgary Centre's Ecles Ranch Observatory. Though a reasonably dark site, it is also very damp and the dew prevented me from using the telescope for astrophotography so I attached my DSLR to the top of the telescope and took a series of piggy-back shots. The camera lenses didn't dew up as quickly so I was able to take a few shots that way.

The first image is of the summer Milky Way. The Milky Way is our galaxy and since we live in the plane of the galaxy, out towards one edge, we see our galaxy edge on. The glow we see as the Milky Way is the light from billions of stars. In this image, which is a mosaic of 11 one minute exposures through a 35mm lens, the Milky Way as seen in northern summer goes across the image. Click on the image for a larger version or click here for the 10 Mb full size version.

The next image is also a piggy-back image, though a 500mm lens this time. It is of M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, which at roughly 2.6 million light years distance is the closest galaxy to our galaxy that looks like our galaxy. You can also see M32 and M110, two elliptical galaxies that are companion galaxies to M31. Again click on the image for a larger version.

The final image is of a nebula known as M20 or the Trifid Nebula. This nebula is interesting for a few reasons. First it contains both emission (red) and reflection (blue) regions. This means that part of the nebula is glowing by it's own light due to the gas in the nebula being excited by the ultraviolet light given off by the hot young stars inside it. The blue parts are reflecting this light towards us. The nebula is also a star formation region, where stars are being created out of the dust and gas of the nebula. Click on the image for a larger view

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