Deep Sky Objects

The Great Nebula in Orion, photographed on 3 April 2013.

Messier 42, the Great Nebula in Orion (centre) and the Running Man Nebula (upper right), photographed on 3 April 2013. This was taken with a SkyWatcher 8″ Imaging Newtonian telescope on an EQ6 Pro mount and a Nikon D800 full-frame body. I am just starting to experiment with this sort of imaging. This was actually three individual images, exposures of 60, 30, and 15 seconds, combined as an HDR file. Taken from a little south of Binbrook, Ontario, south of Hamilton, during an outing with members of the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers.


The Whirlpool Galaxy, Messier 51, rendered in colour. An “LRGB” image, prepared from monochrome layers representing individual red, green, and blue images, and an overall black & white, or “Luminance,” layer. The monochrome layer is presented below, with more details on M51.

The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)

The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). Imaged with the Sierra Stars Observatory 61 cm f/10 Optical Mechanics Nighthawk CC06 Cassegrain telescope in southern California on the night of 19-20 April 2013 (International Astronomy Day). I programmed the telescope using the Sierra Stars Observatory Network (, taking three 300 second images without filters. The resulting monochrome images were then combined using Fitswork software ( and adjusted with Adobe Photoshop Elements. M51 is actually a pair interacting galaxies 200 to 300 million light years away.

Bodes Galaxy

Messier 81, Bode’s Galaxy, imaged 15 April 2013 with the 37 cm Rigel Telescope owned by the University of Iowa. Part of the Sierra Stars Observatory Network (SSON;, the Rigel Telescope is located in southern Arizona and can be programmed with a simple web interface on SSON. This image consists of five 300 second exposures taken without filters. The resulting individual frames were combined with DeepSkyStacker and the stacked image adjusted with Photoshop Elements. M81 is about 2 million light years away and is part of a set of interacting galaxies. it is large and bright, and can be seen with amateur telescopes or binoculars too, in the constellation Ursa Major. (


One of the brightest stars in the night sky, Betelgeuse, photographed on 3 April 2013 with an 8″ Newtonian telescope. Even a single star can be a beautiful image. The cross-shaped spikes are diffraction artefacts caused by the “spider” that holds the secondary mirror inside the telescope. The fan-shaped fringes around the star are also diffraction artifacts. Betelgeuse is in the constellation Orion, forming the upper left “shoulder” of the asterism. It is a fascinating star that is surrounded by layers of gas and dust not visible at this kind of resolution.

Copyright © 2013 David Allan Galbraith