„Lift up your eyes to heaven and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who brings out their army by number; He calls them all by name. Because of his vast dynamic energy and his awe-inspiring power, Not one of them is missing (…)”
Middle Eastern poem about the stars, 8th century BCE
NGC 6888 / Caldwell 27 / Sharpless 105
The star you see in the middle of the nebula is called WR136. Somewhere around 300,000 years ago it ran out of fuel and became a red giant. It threw off some material, gas and dust, into space. Since then its solar wind sends shockwaves through that cloud, forming it, heating it up, causing it to glow and emit all sorts of radiation.
M31 / NGC 224
The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest neighboring galaxy, a mere 2.5 million light-years away. It is the only galaxy visible to the naked eye - but just barely. The galaxy is made up of around 1 trillion stars.
Bode's Galaxy & Cigar Galaxy
M81 & M82 / NGC 3031
Bode’s Galaxy is a grand design spiral galaxy which means it has prominent and well-defined spiral arms. It is about 12 million light-years away, and is 90,000 light-years across. Its nucleus is a supermassive black hole, with a mass 70 million times that of our Sun.
2022 Planetary Alignment
Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon
In June 2022 all of the planets came into alignment. It is exceedingly rare that all planets would be visible at the same time. They formed a large arc of over 100° on the morning sky.
NGC 6960 / Caldwell 34
The Veil Nebula is the remnant of an exploded star. It is massive; when viewed from Earth it is over 30 times the area of the full Moon. The actual diamater is about 65 light-years and our distance from it is around 2,500 light-years. Even the finest filaments are huge; their thickness is about the distance from the Sun to Pluto! The supernova explosion (that this nebula is the remnant of) happened less than 20,000 years ago.
M57 / NGC 6720
Dora’s favorite planetary nebula imaged on the night of the summer solstice. In the middle is a (now) white dwarf. It is actually 200x as bright as the Sun, but is 2,400 light-years away. This nebula is tiny (when viewed from Earth), just 1.5 by 1 arcminutes. It only started the expansion 200-600 years ago!
Assorted throwaway pancakes
More often than not astrophotos don’t come out the way you planned them to. There are about a 200 steps involved in taking a picture, and they all have to be right. Also, often we need to experiment, finetune equipment or the sky is not good enough for long enough to finish a project. These are some examples of failures and experiments.
Around the Polaris region
66 minutes of the Earth rotating around its axis.