Messier 51- The Whirlpool Galaxy
One of the most popular objects of both amateur and professional astronomers, Messier 51 (M51), the Whirlpool Galaxy, was first discovered in 1773 by Charles Messier. Its companion galaxy (NGC 5195) was discovered in 1781 by Pierre Mechain. These two galaxies are interacting (merging) and have already collided at least twice. Estimated distance is about 37 million light years.
Messier 87 - Virgo A
Discovered by Charles Messier in 1781, this is a super-massive lenticular galaxy that lies about 60 million light years from Earth. Virgo A is larger than our own Milky Way. At its center is a super massive black hole that weighs in at about 6.4 billion solar masses. Our Milky Way is estimated to contain up to around 190 globular clusters - M87 on the other hand contains, by some estimates, over 15,000 globs.
NGC 891
If we could take a look at the Milky Way from a distance and from the side, this is what we would look like. NGC 891 is an edge-on spiral galaxy sometimes known as the Outer Limits Galaxy. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1784. It lies approximately 27 million light years away.
Location: Ft. Davis, TX
Date: May 6, 2013
Mount: AP 900GTO
Telescope: Celestron 9.25" f/10 Cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm @ -22c
Exposure: 11x10min. subs = 1hr 50min.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: April 13, 2103
Mount: AP 900GTO
Telescope: Celestron 9.25" f/10 Cassegrain.
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm @ -28c
Exposure: 19x3min. subs = 57min.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: September 4, 2011
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescope: Orion 190mm f/5.3 Mak/Newt
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm @ -14c
Exposure: 12x10min. subs = 2hrs.
m51 m87 ngc891




IC 4895 - Barnard's Galaxy
Barnard's Galaxy was discovered by E. E. Barnard in 1884. A barred irregular galaxy, it lies 1.63 million light years away.
Messier 33 - The Triangulum Galaxy
The Triangulum Galaxy is one of our Local Group of galaxies and is gravitationally bound to the Andromeda Galaxy. It is the third largest galaxy of our Local Group after the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way. It is an average sized spiral galaxy located 3 million light years away. Also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy and contains 40 billion stars.
NGC 147
NGC 147 is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy that is part of our Local Group of galaxies. It is a satellite galaxy of the Andromeda Galaxy and is 2.6 million light years distant. It was discovered by John Herschel in 1829. This was the first image I took with my new SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC camera while on a field trip to Big Sur with Dr. Rick Nolthenius' astro photography class from Cabrillo College.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: September 16, 2012
Mount: AP 900GTO
Telescope: Orion 190mm f/5.3 Mak/Newt
Camera: ST-4000xcm OSC @ -14c
Exposure: 9x10min. subs = 90min.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: September 27, 2011
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescope: Orion 190mm f/5.3 Mak/Newt
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -20c
Exposure: 15x10min. subs = 2hrs. 30min.
Location: Big Sur, CA
Date: October 8, 2010
Mount: Losmandy G11 GO-TO
Telescope: Orion 190mm f/5.3 Mak/Newt
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -18c
Exposure: 3x10min. subs = 30min.
ic4895 m33 ngc147




Messier 74
Messier 74 is a face-on spiral galaxy. Its two well defined spiral arms make it what is known as a "Grand Design Spiral Galaxy." Discovered in 1780 by Pierre Mechain, it is around 35 million light years away with about 100 billion stars. It also has a medium sized black hole at its center that weighs in at around 10,000 solar masses.
Messier 74
Here is a nice example of the difference between different sized telescopes. The image to the left was taken with an 8" f/5.3 (a much wider field of view) and this one was taken with a 9.25" f/10 (more magnification and a little tighter field of view). What a difference!
Messier81 - Bode's Galaxy
Messier 81 is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major and lies about 12 million light years from Earth. At its center is a black hole that weighs in at about 70 million solar masses. This galaxy was originally discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1774, and was later re-identified and included in the Messier list by Charles Messier. On the left side is Holmberg IX, an irregular dwarf galaxy and a satellite galaxy of M81. It is named after Erik Holmberg, and is the youngest galaxy near the Milky Way. This object was pretty difficult to process. The outside temperatures down in Borrego Springs started to warm up and I could only get the camera cooled to -8c whch means lots of extra noise.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: October 23, 2011
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescope: Orion 190mm f/5.3 Mak/Newt
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -14c
Exposure: 24x5min. subs = 2hr
Location: Borrego Springs, CA
Date: November 5, 2015
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescoce: Celestron 9.25" f/10 Cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -20/22c
Exposure: 14x15min. subs = 3hrs 30min.
Location: Borrego Springs, CA
Date: November 9, 2015
Mount: AP 900GTO
Telescope: Celestron 9.25" f/10 Cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -08c
Exposure: 15x10min. subs = 2hr. 30min.
m74 Messier 74 Messier 81 - Bode's Galaxy




Messier 81 - Bode's Galaxy
Discovered by Johann Elert Bode, Messier 81 is also known as Bode's Galaxy. It's 12 million light years away and has at its center a supermassive black hole of 70 million solar masses. This is only 1 hr of exposure time. I just wanted to get something for the evening. I was able to re-do this object in 2015 with much better results (later on this page).
NGC 253 - The Sculptor Galaxy
The Sculptor Galaxy is a spiral galaxy that is also a starburst galaxy. A starburst galaxy is a galaxy that is undergoing a period of intense star formation. This one is a favorite of astro photographers. It was discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783. This image was taken while attending an astro photography class at Cabrillo College.
NGC 3628
NGC 3628 was discovered by William Herschel in 1874. It is an edge-on unbarred spiral galaxy that is about 35 million light years away. It has a very long tidal tail. The dust and outer edge of the spiral arms are very well defined. This image was taken in May 2013 at the Texas Star Party. I was only able to get 30mins. exposure time before the weather rolled in for the rest of the week.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: February 3, 2011
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescope: Orion 190mm f/5.3 Mak/Newt
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -24c
Exposure: 12x5min. subs = 1hr.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: November 22, 2008
Mount: Losmandy GM-8
Telescope: Meade LDX-75 8" f/4
Camera: SBIG ST-2000xcm OSC @ -25c
Exposure: 4x10min. subs = 40min.
Location: Texas Star Pary, Ft. Davis, TX
Date: April 6, 2013
Mount: AP 900GTO
Telescope: Celestron 9.25" f/10 cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -22c
Exposure: 3x10min. subs = 30min.
m81 ngc253 ngc3628




NGC 4631 - The Whale Galaxy
The Whale Galaxy is an edge-on spiral galaxy. It is also a starburst galaxy - one that is undergoing an intense period of star formation. It has a slightly distorted appearance which gives it the look of a whale.

Messier 31 - The Great Andromeda Galaxy
The Andromeda Galaxy is one of our closest neighbors at only 2.5 million light years away. It is a spiral galaxy that is roughly the same size as our own Milky Way Galaxy. It will collide with the Milky Way in about 4 billion years. Eventually the two will merge to form a giant elliptical galaxy. Astronomers suspect that it contains around 26 black holes with 7 of them within 1000 light years of the galactic center.
NGC 7331 - The Deerlick Group
NGC 7331 is the large galaxy in the foreground. Off to the left is the Deer Lick Group of galaxies. They seem to be all together, but NGC 7331 is in fact much closer and actually not part of the group.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: April 14, 2012
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescope: Orion 190mm f/5.3 Mak/Newt
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm @ -26c
Exposure: 13x10min. subs = 2hrs. 10min.
Location: Cabrillo College Observatory, CA
Date: September 24, 2008
Mount: Losmandy GM-8
Telescope: Megrez 80mm APO
Camera: SBIG ST-2000xcm @ -25c
Exposure: 5x5min. subs = 25min.
Location: Cabrillo College Observatory, CA
Date: September 16, 2009
Mount: Losmandy GM-8
Telescope: Meade LDX-75 8" f/4
Camera: SBIG ST-2000xcm @ -25c
Exposure: 5x5min. subs=25min.
ngc4631 m31 ngc7331




Messier 101 Supernova - Before Picture (4/1/11)
This one and the other two pictures to the right were really fun to do. An opportunity to do a sequence of images on a rare event like this was a blast, so I wasn't so concerned about getting nice pictures as getting anything at all. To start off, my friend Fred and I were down at Lake San Antonio for a couple of days doing some astro photography. At least we were trying... I was just trying to learn how to do self-guiding with the SBIG ST-4000xcm and the G-11.
Messier 101 Supernova - 8/29/11 (Two weeks in)
Almost five months later, all of a sudden the astronomy forums and news were all aflutter about a supernova in M101. This picture was taken two weeks after the supernova began. It still hasn't reached its peak brightness yet. It is the brighter spot located at the 5:30 position from the center of the galaxy and at the end of the spiral arm just below the first large vertical dark region. For this shot I was at home out on the deck with the G-11 and the Meade 10" f/10 SCT with a 6.3 focal reducer.
Messier 101 Supernova 9/3/11 (Five Days Later)
Here is the last image I got of the Supernova. It has been getting brighter for about four weeks now and is just hitting its maximum brightness. If you click on the picture itself and then click on it again to zoom in, you can see that the supernova is outshining the center of the galaxy itself. For a short peroid a supernova will typically be brighter than the entire galaxy.
Location: Lake San Antonio, CA
Date: April 1, 2011
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescope: Meade 10" f/10 SCT
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -20c
Exposure: 20x1min. subs = 20min.
Location: Watsonville, CA
Date: August 29, 2011
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescope: Meade 10" f/10 SCT w/6.3 Focal Reducer
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -20c
Exposure: 20x1min. subs = 20min.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: September 3, 2011
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescope: Orion 190mm f/5.3 Mak/Newt
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -14c
Exposure: 13x5min. subs = 1hr. 5min.
m101-1 m101-2 m101-3




NGC 6946 - The Fireworks Galaxy
Discovered by William Herschel in 1798, NGC 6946 is a spiral galaxy that lies about 22.5 million light years away.
NGC 6946 - The Fireworks Galaxy
This is my first attempt at combining images that were taken at different times (two years apart) and different locations (about 400 miles apart). The image on the left started with 7x10min subs. Two years later I added 20x10min subs fo a total of 27 subs. Total exposure time = 4hrs 30mins.
NGC 253 - The Sculptor Galaxy
Here is another version of the NGC 253. Unlike the previous image above, this one was taken with a completely different imaging setup. It is a fairly difficult object to image in that it lies very low in the southern sky. It was taken at the Nightfall Star Party in Borrego Springs, CA.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: August 7, 2013
Mount: AP 900GTO
Telescope: Celestron 9.25" f/10 Cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -18c
Exposure: 7x10min. subs = 1hr. 10min.
Location: Golden State Star Party - Adin, CA
Date: July 15. 2015
Mount: AP 900GTO
Telescope: Celestron 9.25" f/10 Cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -14c
Exposure: 27x10min. subs = 4hr. 30min.
Location: Borrego Springs, CA
Date: November 1, 2014
Mount: AP 900GTO
Telescope: Celestron 9.25" f/10 Cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -08c
Exposure: 15x10min. subs = 2hr. 30min.
ngc6946 ngc6946-1 ngc253-1




Messier 77
Messier 77 is a barred spiral galaxy with an active galactic nucleus. It is around 47 million light years away and is 100,000 light years across. At the bottom left is NGC 1055, an edge-on spiral galaxy that along with Messier 77 make a binary system.
Messier 77
Here is a newer version of the image to the left using a slightly larger telescope. It's considerably larger with more detail.
Messier 77 lies about 47 million light years away from us and has a diameter of about 170,000 light years across. It also has an Active Galactic Nucleus. It was discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1780. He originally described it as a nebula. Messier and William Herschel both thought it was a star cluster at first.
NGC 4435/4438 - The Eyes - Messiers 84 and 86
Commonly known as The Eyes, the two galaxies on the left are a pair of interacting galaxies. The upper galaxy (NGC 4435) is a barred lenticular galaxy. The lower galaxy (NGC 4438) may have been a spiral or lenticular galaxy. It's hard to tell because of the distortion of the disc and the tidal trails. The two bright galaxies to the right are Messiers 84 and 86.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: December 17, 2011
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescope: Orion 190mm f/5.3 Mak/Newt
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm @ -24c
Exposure: 12x5min. subs = 1hr.
Location: Borrego Springs, CA
Date: November 5, 2015
Mount: AP 900GTO
Telescope: Celestron 9.25" f/10 Cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -24c
Exposure: 14x15min. subs = 3hr. 30min.
Location: Bonny Doon Airport, CA
Date: June 16, 2012
Mount: Losmandy G11 Go-To
Telescope: Orion 190mm f/5.3 Mak/Newt
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm OSC @ -14c
Exposure: 12x10min. subs = 2hrs.
m77ngc1055 Messier 77 theeyesm84m86




Messier 104 - The Somrero Galaxy
Messier 104, The Sombrero Galaxy, was first discovered in 1781 by Pierre Mechain. It lies about 29.5 million light years from Earth and holds at its center a black hole estimated to be one billion times the mass of the Earth. It's one of the brightest galaxies in our area, yet is only 50,000 light years wide which is just about one third the size of our own Milky Way. It has an unusually large poulation of globular clusters, estimated to be between 1200-2000. Due to its brightness it's a favorite of observers and imagers alike. It can be a challenge to image because it is very low in the southern sky.
NGC 4038/39 - The Antenna Galaxies
The Antenna Galaxies were discovered by William Herschel in 1785. These galaxies are are going through a massive collision and the two galactic cores should finally merge in about 400 million light years to become a large elliptical galaxy. These galaxies lie about 45 million light years from Earth. The long tails are a result the collision which disrupted the shapes of the two galaxies. Originally one was a barred spiral and the other was a normal spiral. Also, the collision has triggered a huge amount of star formation in the pink, ring-like areas.

Location: Prude Ranch, TX.
Date: May 5, 2016
Mount: AP900 GOTO
Telescope: Celestron 9.25" f/10 Cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm @ -18c
Exposure: 10x10min subs = 1 hr 40 min
Location: Prude Ranch, TX.
Date: May 5, 2016
Mount: AP900 GOTO
Telescope: Celestron 9.25" f/10 Cassegrain
Camera: SBIG ST-4000xcm @ -18c
Exposure: 5x10min subs = 50 min

Messier 104 NGC 4038-39 The Antenna Galaxies