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A Tour to the Night Sky

Harry Rabb - Kirkkonummi, Finland. 20th of May 2022.

This is an astronomy picture book. I have taken the images mainly with Celestron 8
telescope and Canon Eos 60Da camera in Kirkkonummi, Finland, years 2013-2021.The text
and images have been created originally to internet page:

This picture has places where stars are born, like Orion nebula M42 and the Horsehead
nebula. Deaths of stars are M1 Crab nebula, M27 Dumbbel nebula and Veil Nebula. Star
clusters are M45 Pleiades and M13 Globular cluster in Hercules. Galaxies, like M31, M33
and our Milky Way Galaxy, are systems of hundreds of billions stars. Galaxies belong to
galaxy clusters, like the Abell 264. Quasars, massive black holes eating stars, are the
brightest objects in the Universe.

1. Constellations 9. Northern Lights
2. The Solar system 10. Events in the Sky
3. Nebulae 11. Back to 80s
4. Milky Way, Our home Galaxy 12. Methods and Equipment
5. Life of a Star and the Elements
6. Galaxies
7. The Universe
8. Southern Sky

Copyright (c) for pictures, 2013-2022 Harry Rabb. All rights reserved. And copyright for images in chapter
The Solar System NASA/JPL-Caltech, European Space Agency(ESA), JAXA(Japan), ISRO(India) and
Russian Academy of Sciences and Hubble Space Telescope.

Objects in contellations of Cygnus, Lyra and Aquila. Milky Way imaged 2nd of October
2016. These constellations are in south when autumn sky gets dark. The stars Deneb, Vega
and Altair form a "summer triangle". Nebulas M57 and M27 can be seen visually with a
telescope. The North America nebula NGC7000 is wide and dim object and it becomes
visible with long exposure photographs. Millions of stars and dark clouds of Milky Way
galaxy are well visible. The M16 and M17 nebulas are difficult to observe from Finland.
They are low in horizon in September after sunset. Hubble space telescope took the famous
Pillars of Creation image of M16 Eagle nebula. Caldwell 33 and 34 is a supernova remnant
of a massive star which exploded 6000 years ago. Tabby’s star KIC 8462852 has had
interesting variations in brigthnes The Cygnus X-1 is a powerfull X-Ray source. It is a black
hole orbiting a blue giant star HDE 226868.

The objects in the sky have been registered with Messier numbers like M 57 and NGC
numbers like NGC 7000. At the end of 1700 century Charles Messier made his catalogue of
sky objects. The catalogue contained 110 objects. The New General Catalogue (NGC)
contains about 8000 objects. J.L.E. Dreyer did it at the end of 1880s. Other catalogues are
Index Catalogue (IC, NGC update), Abell (galaxy clusters), Caldwell, 3C (Third Cambridge
Catalog of Radio Sources, Quasars).
Objects in contellations of Andromeda, Perseus and Triangulum. The Andromeda galaxy
M31 is in 2.4 million light year distance, and it can be seen as a dim nebulous object in sky
with naked eye. The Double cluster in Perseus is well visible with binoculars. The galaxy
cluster Abell 426 is in distance of 273 million light years. The galaxy M33 is in 3 million
ligth year distance. Quasar 3C-48 is in 4 billion light years distance.
Objects in contellations of Orionin, Taurus, Gemini and Monoceros.In the Great Orion
nebula M42 about 2000 new stars with planets have born. Distance 1300 light years. The
Crab nebula M1 exploded as a supernova in year 1054. Now there is a fast rotating neutron
star in the center. In the center of Rosette nebula there is a new star cluster. Also the Pleiades
M45 is a young star cluster. Betelgeuze is a red giant star, which can explode as a supernova
whenever. Open star clusters M36, M37 and M38 can be seen with binoculars.
Objects in contellations of Ursa Major, Canes Venatici, Leo and Virgo. In this area there is a
lot of galaxies and galaxy clusters. The Virgo galaxy cluster is closest cluster to us, and
actually our Milky Way galaxy and M31 and M33 are at the edge of the Virgo cluster. The
Virgo cluster is dominated with giant elliptic galaxies M87, M86 and M84. The Coma
galaxy cluster Abell 1656 is in distance of 321 million ligth years. The galaxy M82 has often
supernova explosions. The distance to quasar 3C-273 is 2.4 billion light years.
Objects in contellations of Hercules, Bootes, Draco, Serpens and Ophiuchus. In this area
there is spectacular globular star clusters M13, M92, M5 and M3. There is typically several
hundred thousand stars in globular clusters. The clusters are very old. They were born at
same time as our Milky Way galaxy, about 10 billion years ago.
Objects in contellations of Sagittarius, Scorpion and Centaurus. Images were taken at Gran
Canaria 11th of June 2013. The center of Milky Way galaxy is visible here. The Trifid and
Lagoon nebulas are birth places of stars. In Centauri there is globular cluster Omega
Centauri, with one million stars. The closest star Alpha Centauri is marked to the picture. It
is a triple star system, and the star Proxima has an Earth like planet in zone of life.

The presented starmaps cover following areas of the northern sky:

The Solar system
The Sun

Below is Sun 9th of November 2011. Sun is a star. Its diameter is 1.39 million kilometers.
Distance from Earth is 150 million kilometers. Mass is 333000 times mass of the Earth. Sun
makes one rotation in 28 days. Composition: 73.4% hydrogen, 24.9% helium, 0.77%
oxygen, 0.29% carbon, 0.16% iron and other elements with smaller amounts. Sun has dark
sunspots. There the magnetic field is so strong that it slows down the movement of gas and
makes it cooler. The temperature in the surface of sun is 6000 degrees Celsius and in the
sunspot it is 5000 degrees. In the core of Sun the temperature is 14 million degrees and the
pressure is 225 billion atmospheres. Sun produces energy with the fusion reactions of atoms.
In October 2014 there was a large sunspot group. Note in the SOHO image how magnetic
field lines are associated with the large sunspot group.

Development of a sunspot group in April 2022.

Changes in Sunspots during three days. NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory image on same
region in X-ray range, shows the magnetic field lines.

Below is Sun with NASA and JAXA space probes.

Solar Eclipse 20.3.2015

Images were taken in Riihimäki, Finland. Telescope was SkyWatcher 80/600 ED. Camera
Canon EOS 550D.
Planets of the solar system from Mercury to Pluto. In this image on the left the planets are as
they can be seen through the telescope. On the right are planets imaged by NASA and ISRO
space probes. Mercury has been imaged during day time when Sun was shining on the sky.
To see Uranus and Neptune you need binoculars. Pluto has been classified as dwarf planet.

Planet Diameter km Distance from Sun, km Mass as Earth mass Moons

Mercury 4879 58 millions 0.055 0

Venus 12100 108 millions 0.82 0

Earth 12756 150 millions 1 1

Mars 6800 228 millions 0.11 2

Jupiter 143000 778 millions 318 67

Saturn 121000 1427 millions 95 62

Uranus 51100 2871 millions 14.5 27

Neptune 49570 4498 millions 17 14

Pluto 2320 5914 millions 0.0021 5

Scales in the solar system. Also the largest moons of the planets and asteroid Ceres is
included in this scale image.
Mercury has no atmosphere. It rotates around its axis very slowly, in 59 days. On dayside
temperature is +467 degrees Celsius and in night side -173 degrees. Below Mercury is
transiting the Sun. Telescope Celestron 8. Camera Canon EOS 60Da.

Mercury planet is always a difficult target to observe and photgraph from Finland. It is low
in horizond after sunset, so that the turbulence of the atmosphere makes the image blurry. In
april 2022 images below Mercury is imaged half hour after sunset in the evening sky. Images
are videostacks with Autostakkert 3. In 2012 and 2020 images Marcury has been spotted
from day sky.
Below is Mercury with NASA Messenger space probe.

Venus has a thick atmosphere consisting of mainly carbon dioxide. Surface temperature is
+460 degrees Celsius.The surface is covered with volcanos and lava flows. Part of the
volcanos may be active even today. Below is image series of Venus approaching the Earth
year 2020.
Below is Venus Transiting over sun 6.6.2012.

Below is Venus with NASA and Russian Venera space probes. Russias Venera 13 and 14
landed on Venus year 1982. They worked less than 2 hours on surface until the hot
conditions broke them.
The Earth

The Earth and Mars planets are in zone of life in solar system. Average temperature on Earth
is +15 degrees Celsius. Range -80..+50 degrees Celsius. When life evolved on Earth the
cyanobacteria, algae and plants converted the atmosphere of the Earth to contain Oxygen.
This made possible the development of Oxygen breathing animals. Earth has actively
moving continental shelves. They have strong influence to conditions on Earth in millions
years scale.

Pictures from planet Earth. Vesijärvi in Lahti, Finland. Raippaluoto in Vaasa, Finland, traces
of last ice age. Swiss Alps near Hochenhorn. Vuokatti. Thingvellir in Iceland, the border
between tectonic plates. London. Yokohama. Gran Canaria. Bergen, Norway.

The Earth from space.

The Moon

Moon 19th of October 2011. Diameter is 3474 kilometers. Distance 384000 kilometers. Mass
is 0.0123 times Earth mass. The surface of the Moon has stayed quite unchanged after birth
of the Solar system. The dark areas are ancient lava-fields. The light areas are highlands.
Asteroid impacts have created craters to the surface of the Moon. Also Earth has been
impacted by the Asteroids, but erosion process has worn off most of the impact craters.

In the image below the landing sites of the manned Apollo missions are marked. Apollo 11
was year 1969 and Apollo 17 year 1972.
On images below you can see the earthshine on the dark side of the Moon. It the ligth
reflected by the Earth illuminating the dark side of the Moon.

Phases of the Moon in 3 subsequent nights and development of scenery around Theophilus
crater when the Sun is rising higher on the sky of the Moon. The diameter of Theophilus crater
is 100 kilometers and the depth is 3,2 kilometers. Daytime temperature on Moon is +123 C and
on nigth -233 C. Moon goes around Earth in 27,3 days, so the day on Moon is 13,6 Earth days.
Details of the Moon. Telescope is Celestron 8, F10 focus. For the detailed images I used
20mm ocular magnification. Camera is astro modified Canon Eos 80D. For Mare Crisium
image there is one minute of HD (1280x720, 25fps) video stacked with Autostakkert, 10% of
best frames. In upper image there is Full HD (1920x1080, 25fps) video stacked with
Full moon 18th of November 2021 01:30 local time.
Aristarchus is the brigthest crater on the Moon. It is quite yong, age 450 million years. Its
diameter is 40km and depth 3.7 km. There has been temporary brigthenings in the area,
which be caused by gas eruptions. TSL=Transient Lunar Phenomenon.

Copernikus crater. The diameter of Copernicus crater is 96 kilometers and it is 3.8 kilometers
deep. It was born 800 million years ago. The crater is named according to astronomer
Nikolaus Kopernikus.
Details of the Moon. Crater Archimedes in Mare Imbrium, Rupes Recta and Maginus.
Composed of 1 minute videostacks, with 30% of frames in Autostakkert. Rupes Recta is 110
kilometers long straigth wall. Hight 240-300 meters and 2-3 kilometers wide. Telescope
Celestron 8 and camera Canon Eos60Da. I used 20mm ocular magnification.

The diameter of Posidonius crater is 95 kilometers and it is 2,3 kilometers deep.

Hyginus crater and Hyginus Rille is probably a volcanic formation.

The Apollo 11 landed on Moon 20th of July 1969. First man on the moon was Niel
Armstrong, with the famous first words on the moon: "One small step for man, one giant
leap for mankind". Apollo 17 in 1972 was the last manned mission to Moon. Apollo 13, year
1970, had an accident and it did not land on Moon: "Houston, We've Got a Problem".
Moon eclipse 21st of January 2019. The Moon is moving into Earth’s shadow.

Mars has a thin atmosphere consisting mainly carbon dioxide. Pressure is 0.6% of Earth
pressure. Mars was for 2 to3 billion years after birth of solar system a planet with oceans and
thicker atmosphere. Now the surface of Mars is mostly dry and the water is mixed to the soil,
both as water and as ice. The average temperature on Mars is -63 degrees Celsius. But in
equator the day temperatures are +10..20 degrees Celsius. The gravity on surface of Mars is
38% of the Earth gravity. The day at Mars takes 24 hours and 40 minutes. The year on Mars
is 686 days. The rotation axis of Mars has 25 degrees tilt, so there are yearly seasonal
changes on Mars.

Below is Mars with NASA and ISRO space probes. Mars, the god of war, has 2 small
moons: Phobos(=Fear), diameter 22 kilometers and Deimos(=Horror), diameter 12

Jupiter is the largest planet of the Solar system. It has a thick atmosphere consisting mainly
hydrogen and helium. The atmosphere gets thicker as you go deeper. Jupiter has 4 large
moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Io has active volcanos. Diameter is 3642
kilometers. Europa has under ice cover a deep ocean covering the whole moon. Diameter of
Europa is 3120 kilometers. Totally Jupiter has 67 moons.
Jupiter with NASA space probes.


Saturn is also a gas planet. The rings of Saturn are just 20 meters thick and are composed of
particles of water ice. Titan is the largest moon in the solar system. Diameter is 5152
Saturn with NASA Cassini space probe. Saturn's moon Titan has a thick atmosphere
consisting nitrogen and methane. On surface there is methane lakes in -180 degrees Celsius
temperature. Titan is the largest moon in the solar system. Diameter is 5152 kilometers.
Titan may have liquid water underground. Saturns moon Enceladus has geysers, which spill
out water into space. So there is liquid water under ice cover. Diameter is 500 kilometers.
Methone is surprisingly smooth to be a small moon (diameter 3km). Saturn has 62 moons.
The Cassini space probe by NASA and ESA has circulated Saturn for Years and its Huygens
lander landed on surface of Titan.

Saturns moon Iapetus has one side very dark and the other side bright. Diameter is 1492
kilometers. On equator Iapetus has 13 kilometers high mountains going round the moon.
Uranus, Neptune and Pluto

Uranus and Neptune are gas planets. Diameter of Uranus is 51 118 kilometers. Diameter of
Neptune is 49 572 kilometers. Dwarf planet Pluto is a system of 6 bodies. Below Uranus,
Neptunus and Pluto imaged with Celestron 8 telescope. The specific blue tone colors of
Uranus and Neptune are visible.

Uranus has 27 moons; in image below are Ariel, Titania ja Oberon. Neptune has 14 moons;
in image below Triton.
Pluto has 5 moons: Charon, Nix, Hydra, Styx and Kerberos. The size of Pluto is 2370
kilometers. Pluto has a large moon Charon, diameter 1200 kilometers. In addition Pluto has 4
smaller moons. Size of Hydra is 45 kilometers and Nix is 42 kilometers. Space probe New
Horizons by NASA made a Pluto flyby in July 2015. Surprise is that the surface features on
Pluto and Charon seem to be fresh, possibly only 100 million years old. Temperature at Pluto
surface is -229 degrees Celcius. The fresh surface may consist of nitrogen ice, carbon
dioxide ice and water ice. The sky of Pluto is blue.

Comet Garradd 1.10.2011, PanStarrs 17.3.2013 and Lovejoy (on the left in constellation of
Andromeda 8.2.2015 with 400mm tele objective. On the right 15.3.2015 in constellation of
Cassiopeia, with Celestron 8 F6 focus.). Comets are 'dirty snowballs'. When they come close
to sun they melt and vaporize. The water vapor makes a long tail behind the comet.
Comet PanStarrs 17.3.2013. PanStarrs was closest to Sun 10.3.2013 about distance of 45
million kilometers. It was closest to Earth 5.3.2013 about 165 million kilometers distance.
The length of the tail is about 35 archminutes, which is about 1.7 million kilometers at
comets distance. It takes over 100000 years for this comet to go round Sun. Picture on left:
20:16 with Sky-Watcher 80/600 ED telescope. Exposures 4 x 8 seconds, ISO1600. Middle:
20:10 with Celestron 8 telescope, F6.3. Exposures 4 x 8 seconds, ISO1600. Right: zoomed to
middle picture. Camera Canon Eos 60Da. Stacked with DSS. Low-left: EF100-400L
telezoom lens set to 400mm. Exposure 1 second, ISO1600.

Movement of PanStarrs between 19:43 and 20:16. It has moved about 3.1 archminutes which
is about 151000 kilometers at comets distance. So the speed is about 76 kilometers per
second.Name of this comet comes from the telescope system which found it: Panoramic
Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS). These telescopes monitor
the sky to find new asteroids and comets, which could come close to Earth.
Comet Atlas C/2019 Y4 imaged at Kirkkonummi Finland 26th of March 2020. Here we see
the movement of the comet in the sky during 1.5 hours. The comet is here crossing Mars
planet's orbit, 150 million kilometers from Earth, 225 million kilometers from the Sun. It is
moving towards the Sun 33 kilometers per second. As it gets brigther during the spring it
will be visible with naked eyes. It is closest to the Sun 31st of May 2020.One orbit around
the Sun takes 5520 years, so last time it visited the inner solar system year 3500 B.C. Images
are stacks of 3-6 image exposures of 60 seconds, ISO1600. Telescope Helios Skyliner
200/1000 and camera Canon Eos 60Da..

Below is comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko by ESA Rosetta space probe and comet Hartley.
Philae by ESA landed on Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta has observed also Oxygen and
Methane coming out from this comet.

Asteroids Ceres and Vesta. There is thousands of asteroids between orbits of Mars and
Jupiter. Ceres is largest one, 1000 kilometers in diameter. Vesta is second largest, 560 km in
diameter. You can see these with binoculars.

Ceres has interesting white areas in one crater, named Occator. One possibility is that Ceres
has liquid salty water under surface and here it leaks into surface. Images by NASA Dawn.

North-America nebula NGC7000 and Pelican nebula IC5070 in the constellation of Cygnus.
Distance 1600 light years. Photograph taken 1.9.2021 EF100-400 tele zoom objective set to
250 millimeters. Exposures 9 times 4 minutes, ISO1600. Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker
Milky Way in constellation of Aquila. There is a dark dust and molecular cloud Barnard 143,
with distance of 2000 light years. The picture area in the sky is 10x4 degrees. You can see
how Milky Way contains millions of stars. Actually in our Milky Way Galaxy there is about
400 billion stars. The bright star on the left is Altair, with distance of 17 light years. It is
twice the size of the Sun.

NGC2237 Rosette nebula in constellation of Monoceros. Distance 5200 light years. Angular
size in the sky is 1.3 degrees. Mass 10000 times mass of the Sun. The bright stars in the
middle have born from this nebula. Picture taken with Sky Watcher 80/600 ED telescope
with Baader UHC-S filter. Picture is stack of 5 x 8 minutes exposures, ISO800. Camera
Canon Eos 80D, astro modified.
Horsehead nebula Barnard 33 and Flame nebula NGC 2024 in constellation of Orion.
Distance to Horsehead nebula is 1500 light years. Distance to Flame nebula is 1200 light
years. Picture taken with SkyWatcher 80/600ED telescope 9th of December 2020. Picture is
stack of 9 x 7 minutes exposures and stacked with Deep Sky Stacker software. Filter used:
Baader UHC-S. Camera Canon Eos60Da.
NGC 1973 Running man nebula, M43 and M42 in constellation of Orion. Picture is taken
with Sky Watcher 80/600 ED telescope 7th of December 2020. Picture is stack of 7 x 3
minutes exposures. Distance to M42 is 1300 light years. There has born about 2000 new
stars in area of Orion Nebula. From sharp pictures of Hubble Space telescope it is possible to
see several protoplanetary discs around the new stars. So here new planets and solar systems
are born.

The center of the Orion nebula M42. Distance 1300 light years. The bright four stars are born
in this nebula. Photographs taken 25th of January 2022 with Celestron 8 F10 focus.
Below left: M57 in constellation of Lyra. Distance 2300 light years. In center of the nebula
there is a white dwarf star. It is what is left from a star, which blow out its outer parts to
space at end of its life. The red color comes from ionized hydrogen gas. The greenish colors
come from oxygen. Below right: NGC 7635 Bubble nebula in constellation of Cassiopeia.
Distance 11000 light years.

M27 Dumbbel nebula in constellation of Fox. Distance 1250 light years. In the center of this
nebula there is also a white dwarf star. Photograph was taken 27.9.2021 with Celestron 8
F10 focus. Camera Canon Eos 80Da and exposures 8 times 5 minutes, Iso1600.
Below are two southern sky objects, places where stars are born, M16 and M17. In Finland
these are difficult to photograph since they are close to horizon. Photographs are taken
30.8.2021 with Celestron 8 F6.3 focus. M16 Eagle nebula is in constellation of Snake.
Distance 7000 light years. Hubble space telescope took of M16 the famous picture Pillars of
Creation. M17 Omega nebula is in constellation of Sagittarius. Distance 5000 light years.

NGC 7032 Iris nebula in constellation of Kefeus. Distance 1300 light years. It is a reflection
nebula where star SAO 19158 ligths up the nebula on the background.
The Helix nebula NGC 7293, with declination -21 degrees, is always very low in horizon when
looking from Finland, latitude 61 degrees north. Here is Helix nebula imaged in Kirkkonummi,
southern Finland. Place was an field in Eestinkylä with good visibility to southern horizon.
Telescope Celestron 8, with F6.3 focal reducer. Camera Canon Eos 80D, astro modified.
Exposures 20 x 3 minutes, Iso1600. Temperature was -1 C.
Young star cluster Messier 45, Pleiades. Distance 440 light years. Picture taken 1st of
December 2021. Sky Watcher 80/600ED. Canon EOS 80Da. Stack 8 x 5 minutes, ISO 1600.
Messier 11, Wild duck cluster in contellation of Scutum. Distance 6200 ligth years. One
candidate for place where Solar system was born is open star cluster Messier 67 in
constellation of Crab. This cluster has same age as our Sun. And it contains several similar
chemical composition stars as our Sun. Distance is 2700 light years. In constellation of
Auriga there is 3 open starclusters which are visible with binoculars: M36, M37 and M38.
Distances 4100, 4500 and 4200 light years. Also red nebulae IC405 and IC410 are visible.
Distances 1500 and 1300 light years.
Double star cluster NGC 884 and NGC 869 in constellation of Perseus. Distance 6800 light
years, Image taken 8th of December 2020 with Sky Watcher 80/600ED telescope. Canon
EOS 60Da. Stack 10 x 2 minutes, ISO 1600

Butterfly nebula IC 1318 in Cygnus. Distance 3700 light years.

Milky Way, Our home Galaxy

In the night sky you can see our home galaxy, Milky Way spanning across the sky. Camera
reveals that it consists of millions of stars. In our galaxy there are 400 billion stars. The
diameter of our galaxy is 100000 light years. We are at the distance of 30000 light years
from the center of our galaxy. Closest star Alfa Centauri is at distance of 4.4 light years.

Almost every star has planets. Large amount of the planets are located in a zone, where is
suitable conditions for life. Latest estimate is that in our Milky Way galaxy there may be
about 100 billion planets in zone of life. From the picture you can see that stars are
concentrated on disk like shape. Big dark dust clouds cover the glow of stars in many places.
Hydrogen gas clouds like North America nebula glow in reddish color.

Picture is a combination of pictures taken in Finland in September 2012 and in Gran Canaria
12.6.2013. The Milky Way center is on right in constellation of Sagittarius. The center of our
galaxy contains a large black hole. The angular size of the picture is 135 x 45 degrees.

Below is center of Milky Way imaged in Gran Canaria, June 2013. Picture area is about
20x10 degrees. The M24 is the Great Sagittarius Star Cloud.
Composite picture of Milky Way. Pictures of 10x4 degree parts of sky are combined to one.
Pictures were taken in Autumn 2017 with EF100-400L tele zoom lens set to 100mm focus.

Northern part of constellation of Cygnus(Swan). North America nebula glows red. Dark dust
clouds cover the glow of stars. In these clouds there has been found very complex molecules,
even amino acids. The bright star Deneb is 200 times larger than Sun. Distance to Deneb is
1600 light years.
The southern part of constellation of Cygnus. The size of picture has been reduced to
700x1000 pixels for the internet. Original one is 5200x3500 pixels.

Below is globular star cluster Messier 13 in constellation of Hercules. Distance 25000 light
years. This cluster has one million stars. Our galaxy has about 100-200 these kind of
globular clusters. These clusters are very old. They were born at same time as our galaxy,
about 10 billion years ago.
Below are more globular clusters.
M3 distance is 34000 light years. Image was taken 18.3.2021 with C8 F6 focus.
Omega Centauri is in the southern sky, distance 15800 light years. Image was taken at Gran Canaria 11.6.2013.
Messier 15 in constellation of Pegasuksen 26.9.2021. Distance 32620 light years. Celestron 8 F10, Canon Eos80Da, exposures 3x5min, Iso1600.
NGC 2419 Intergalactic wanderer is far away from our galaxy, distance 300000 ligth years.
M92 at Hercules 5.8.2021, distance 26700 light years.
Messier 5 in constellation of Serpens 1.5.2022. Distance 24500 ligth years. Celestron 8 F6, Canon Eos80Da, 5x3min44sec, Iso800.
Messier 2 in constellation of Aquarius 26.9.2021. Distance 55000 light years. Celestron 8 F10, Canon Eos80Da, exposures 5x5min, Iso1600.

Scales in Milky Way galaxy. In image below are the objects presented in this book in
relation to center of our galaxy and to the Sun. There is two distance scales. The upper scale
is 10000 light years in the plane of our galaxy. The scale below is 30000 light years and it
contains the globular star clusters.
Life of a Star and the Elements

Stars are born when a gas and dust cloud subtracts in space by its own gravity. Stars produce
energy in fusion reaction of atomic nuclei. It is a nuclear reaction where light elements
combine to heavier elements and at same time energy is released. Inside a star there is high
enough temperature (about 14 million degrees) and pressure (about 200 billion atmospheres)
for fusion to happen.

At the end of its life a star like our Sun produces a planetary nebula. Star has shined 5-10
billion years and the fusion reactions are ending. Now the center of star starts to subtract and
the temperature of center rises to new level. At same time the center is unstable and it
subtracting and expanding in cycles. The outer parts of the stars are blown to space, as a
planetary nebula, in this process. The fusion reactions had produced layers of elements to the
star. On top there is still hydrogen and in the core there is oxygen and carbon. At the end a
white dwarf star, size of the Earth, is left in center of planetary nebula. The dwarf star fades
during billions of years. This kind of end is for a star which has mass under 3 times the mass
of the Sun.

Stars which have mass over 3 times of sun produce in fusion reactions elements all the way
to Iron. Iron does not combine in fusion reactions anymore, so the fusions stop, and the
pressure inside the core of the star suddenly drops. Now happens a violent end. Star starts to
collapse. Atomic nuclei are pushed together. Electrons combine with protons, producing
neutrons. The event happens in few tens of seconds and leads to a supernova explosion. The
whole outer core explodes to outer space. The supernova shines with the power of all stars in
the galaxy. The energy released in explosion forces in the expanding shell the Iron to fusion
to still heavier elements, producing all the elements up to Uranium. As examples of
supernova explosions are Messier 1, Crab nebula and Veil nebula in Cygnus.

When mass of the star is 3 to 6 solar masses in the center there is left a neutron star, size
about 30 kilometers, mass about 1 solar mass. One tee-spoon of this star weights as much as
an oil tanker.

If the mass of star is over 6 solar masses, then the pressure of neutrons is not enough to stop
the collapsing core in supernova explosion. The core collapses smaller than 6 kilometers
limit. A black hole is born. Gravity in this 6 kilometer limit is so high that even light cannot
Red dwarf stars have small mass compared to our Sun. Nuclear reactions happen slowly in
them and red dwarfs will have a long lifetime, even 100 billion years. About 75% of the stars
in our galaxy are red dwarfs. They are mostly so dim, that we do not see them with naked

Universe was born 13.7 billion years ago in Big Bang and after it there was only the simplest
elements hydrogen and helium. The heavier elements were produced by first generation of
stars. In the deaths of these stars the supernovas and planetary nebulas distributed the heavy
elements back to interstellar space.

Our Sun and Solar system was born 4.5 billion years ago from a gas and dust cloud, to which
heavy elements, needed by life, were distributed by ancient stars. Those atoms that are in you
were produced by ancient stars: We are stardust.

Above: Supernova remnant Messier 1, Crab nebula, in constellation of Taurus. Distance

6300 light years. Angular size in sky 6 arch minutes (one fifth of angular size of Moon). Real
size is 11 light years. This exploded as supernova year 1054. The extremely bright star was
written to history books by Arabs, Chinese and Japanese. Visually it was four times brighter
than Venus-planet and it could be easily seen even during the daytime. In the core of Crab
nebula there is now a neutron star, spinning around its axis 30 times per second. It is strong
X-ray and gamma ray source. Picture was taken 24th of December 2020 with Celestron 8
telescope, F6.3 focus. Exposures were 5 x 7 minutes, ISO 1600.
Above: Picture series of Supernova SN2011ef in galaxy Messier 101 in constellation of Big
Dipper and supernova SN2014J in galaxy M82. Distance to M101 is 27 million light years. It
was first found 24.8.2011. My first picture in left is 5 months after the explosion. In 3rd
picture the faded supernova can still be seen as a faint bluish object. In last picture in
November 2012 it cannot be seen anymore. The quality of pictures gets better from left to
right in same phase as I upgraded my equipment and leaned to use it and image processing
software better.

Supernova SN2022hrs galaxy NGC4647, 29th of April 2022.

Above: Veil nebula in constellation of Cygnus. It is a supernova remnant which exploded about 6000 years
ago. Distance 1470 light years. The distance between arches in sky is 3 degrees. They are named as
Caldwell 34 (NGC6960) and Caldwell 33(NGC6992) in catalogs. There may be a black hole here, since no
neutron star has been identified in this area. This nebula was found by William Herschel year 1784.

Planetary nebulas. M27 Dumbbel nebula in constellation of Fox. M57 in Lyra. M97 Owl
nebula in Big Dipper. NGC 7293 Helix nebula in Aquarius. M76 Little Dumbbel in Cygnus.
Caldwell 39 Eskimo nebula in Gemini. Caldwell 6 Cat eye nebula in Kefeus. NGC 7662
Blue Snowball in in Andromeda.
Black hole Cygnus X-1. In contellation of Cygnus, near star eta Cygni, there is a strong X-
ray source Cygnus X-1 . It is a black hole orbiting the blue giant star HDE 226868. Distance
6070 light years. Image taken 24th of September 2017.

Some stars are double stars which orbit each other. Below are two such cases. Albireo in
constellation of Cygnus and Cor Caroli in contellation of Canes Venatici. Distance to
Albireo is 430 light years and the visual separation between the componen stars is 35 arch
seconds. The stars orbit each other in 100000 years. The brighter star of Albireo has 5 times
the mass of the Sun and it is 1200 times brighter than the Sun. Distance to Cor Caroli is 110
light years and the visual separation between the componen stars is 20 arch seconds. The
stars orbit each other in 7900 years. The double star Alya is in 132 ligth years distance.
Barnard's star is a red dwarf in constellation of Ophiuchus. It is the second closest star to us
after Alpha Centauri triple star. The mass is 14% of the Sun mass and diameter 20% of Sun.
The surface temperature is 3100 degrees and its luminosity is 0.0004 times the brightness of
the Sun. Barnard’s star is moving in the sky fast, 10 arch seconds each year. It is moving
142 km/s relative to Sun and it will be closest to us year 11800. Then distance will be 3.75
light years. But even then it is so faint that it cannot be seen with naked eye. The age is 10
billion years, over twice the age of our Sun. Year 1998 there was a bright flare eruption in
Barnard’s star. Below we see movement of Barnard’s star during five years.
It is interesting to compare the colors of the stars when they are set side by side. The color
reflects the surface temperature. Cool stars are red.
KIC 8462852 - Tabbys star

There is interesting observations by Kepler planet hunting satellite that around star KIC
8462852, there is 20% dimmings which are currently difficult to explain. SETI institute has
started radio observations. Distance to this star is 1500 ligth years. Visual magnitude has
been last years m11.88. Below are images of the star on years 2012 and 2016. It can be
estimated that in these images the start is not in dimming state. See articles:
Universe Today 9.8.2016: Tabby’s Star Megastructure Mystery Continues To Intrigue
Universe Today 21.10.2015: SETI Institute Undertakes Search for Alien Signal from Kepler
Star KIC 8462852
Patrick Rowan's Skywatch: Is alien megastructure blocking this star's light?

Galaxy is a system of hundreds of billions of stars. Most galaxies have spiral arms. So does
our home galaxy Milky Way. Some galaxies have elliptic or irregular shape.
Andromeda galaxy Messier 31 and its neighbor galaxies M32 and M110. M31 is closest
large galaxy to Milky Way and its distance is 2.5 million light years.

Picture was taken 1st of November 2021 with SkyWatcher 80/600 ED, exposures 13 x 5
minutes, ISO1600.
Zoom into center of the M31galaxy.

Below are details from M31. On the left NGC 206, group of bright newborn stars. On the
rigth are globular star clusters in M31.
Galaxy M33 in constellation of Triangulum. M33 has very clear spiral arms. Distance 3
million light years.
Spiral Galaxy M81 in constellation of Big Dipper. Distance 12 million light years.
Galaxy M82 in constellation of Big Dipper. Distance 12 million light years. This galaxy has
something special. It is very bright and it contains a lot of young stars.

The distance of NGC 6946 Fireworks galaxy is 25 million light years. This galaxy has often
supernovas. Picture taken 14.9.2021, Celestron 8 F6.3, Canon Eos 80Da, exposures 10 x 3
minutes, Iso1600.
Below galaxy M51 in constellation of Big Dipper. Distance 37 million light years. Here the
smaller galaxy has done close passing of the larger galaxy. Picture 18.3.2021 has exposures
9 x 3 minutes, ISO800. Celestron 8F6, Canon Eso 80D, astro modified.

Galaxy Messier 101, distance 21 million ligth years. Picture 29.4.2022 has exposures 10 x 3
min 44sec, ISO800. Celestron 8F6, Canon Eso 80D, astro modified.

M106 in constellation of Canes Venatici. Distance 25 million light years. Picture was taken
6.4.2013 with Celestron 8 F6.3 optics. Exposures were 5 x 6 minutes, ISO1600. UHC-S

Galaxy NGC 4565 is called Needle-galaxy. It is in constellation of Coma Berenices.

Distance 43 million light years. Picture was taken 21.3.2021 with Celestron 8 F6.3 optics.
Exposures 6 x 3 minutes , ISO800.

Galaxy NGC 2403 in constellation of Camelopardalis. Distance 10 million light years.

Picture was taken 19.3.2021.

Galaxy NGC 4631 is called whale-galaxy. It is in constellation of Canes Venatici. Distance

30 million light years. Picture was taken 8.4.2021 with Celestron 8 F6.3 optics. Exposures 6
x 3 minutes, ISO800
Galaxy NGC891 in constellation of Andromeda is seen sideways. Dark dust clouds cover the
glow of the stars. Distance 27 million light years. Galaxy M66 in contellation of Leo.
Distance 35 million light years. Galaxy NGC 3628 is in constellation of Leo. Distance 35
million light years. Sombrero Galaxy M104 is in Virgo, distance 28 million light years.

The distance to galaxy NGC2903 is 30 million ligth years. Also galaxy group Arp 316 is in
constellation of Leo. Distance 80 million ligth years.
Galaxy Messier 87 is a gigantic elliptical galaxy in constellation of Virgo, in the center of
Virgo galaxy cluster. Distance 55 million light years. It has a supermassive black hole in its
center. In this picture you can see a jet in one a clock direction, coming from the black hole.
When stars and matter fall in to black hole they are first going to a rotating disk round the
black hole. On the poles of this system jets of matter are rushing into space.

In the embedded images you see the jet also by Hubble Space Telescope and the black hole
by Event Horizon Telescope. The mass of this gigantic black hole is 6.5 billion times the
mas of the Sun. This black hole eats matter the amount of 90 Earths per day. The size is 40
billion kilometers, which is 266 times the distance between the Sun and the Earth. The event
horizon, is the boundary where nothing can escape, not even the ligth. Picture taken 31st of
March 2021 with Celestron 8 F6.3 optics. Exposures 5 x 3 minutes and stacked with DSS.
Compact galaxy group Stephan's Quintet in constellation of Pegasus. Galaxy NGC 7320 in
front, distance 39 million ligth years. Other galaxies in group, NGC 7319, NGC 7318, NGC
7317 are at distance of 210-340 million ligth years. Galaxies NGC 7318 A and B are having a
The Universe

Galaxies belong to galaxy clusters. Below is galaxy cluster Abell-426 in constellation of

Perseus. Distance is 273 million light years, so the light started its journey to us when the
dinosaurs began their era in Earth. When looking with telescope to the sky we see back in
time. In picture below the distant galaxies look hazy compared to sharp edge star of our own
galaxy. Because of expansion of the universe, this galaxy cluster is moving away from us at
speed of 5300 kilometers per second. Picture taken with Celestron 8 telescope 2nd of October
2021. Exposures 7x5 minutes.

The farther away on object is the faster it recedes from us because of the expansion of the
Universe. The 'edge' of observable universe at distance of 13.7 billion light years recedes at
speed of light. Quasars are the brightest objects in the Universe. They are massive black
holes in the core of their galaxies. Matter and stars fall into black hole and while accelerating
the mater shines a lot of energy. Below are Quasars 3C-273, 3C-48, Q1634+706 9, CTA
When Albert Einstein made the theory of general relativity in 1920s, he found out that the
universe cannot be in rest. It should either expand or contract. In 1920s general assumption
was the universe is in rest, so Einstein added a correcting coefficient to his formula of space-
time. Later he thought it was the biggest mistake of his life. He could have predicted the
expansion of universe based on his theory before it was observed.

At same times Edwin Hubble started accurate observations of galaxies at Mount Wilson
observatory in USA. He used the biggest telescope at that time. Diameter of mirror was 2.5
meters. He measured the movement of galaxies in relation to us (the shift of spectral lines of
light from galaxies). To his surprise he found out that the further away a galaxy is from us,
the faster it moves away from us. Conclusion from this observation is that universe is
expanding. And that universe has had a beginning, which we call Big Bang. From the speed
of expansion it can be calculated that the Big Bang happened 13.7 billion years ago.

About 400 million year after Big Bang the stars and galaxies started to form from the
hydrogen and helium gas which filled the Universe. Galaxies are in galaxy clusters in
surfaces of bubbles, which resemble like soap bubbles. Inside bubbles there are no galaxies.

Current observations and theories state that largest part of matter in Universe is so called
Dark Matter, which interacts with ordinary matter only by gravitational force. First
indications of Dark Matter were observed back in 1930 when it was seen that galaxies are
rotating too fast in order that gravity of ordinary matter would keep the galaxy together in
one piece.
Virgo Galaxy cluster. Distance 54 million light years. There is about 1000-2000 galaxies in
this cluster. In sky they are in area of several angular degrees. This is the closest cluster to us
and actually our Milky Way galaxy and nearby galaxies belong to the Virgo super cluster.
Picture was taken 20.1.2017 with 400mm teleobjective. Exposures were 5 x 60 seconds, ISO
3200 and stacked with DSS.

Virgo Galaxy cluster in M86 and M84 area. Image taken 3.4.2021 with SkyWatcher
80/600ED telescope. Exposures 3 x 3 minutes, ISO 800, Canon Eos 80Da.
Coma galaxy cluster Abell 1656 in the constellation of Coma Berenices. The cluster is
dominated by two giant elliptical galaxies NGC 4889 and NGC 4874. Distance 321 million
light years. Picture was taken 8.4.2021 with Celestron 8 telescope, F10 focus. Exposures
were 7 x 6 minutes, ISO800, and stacked with DSS.
Four distant galaxy clusters in constellation of Pegasus.
Abell 2634. Distance 405 million light years. Receding 9360 km/s. 5x40s, ISO3200 C8 F6.3.
Abell 2666. Distance 344 million light years. Receding 7950 km/s. 5x3min ISO1600 C8 F6.3.
Pegasus I. Distance 180 million light years. 4x55s ISO3200 C8 F6.3.
Pegasus II. Distance 600 million light years.. 5x70s ISO3200 C8 F6.3
Below is remarkable picture by Hubble Space Telescope. New born galaxies from time 350-
600 million years after Big Bang. Distance about 13 billion light years. You can see that
galaxies are there much closer to each other than today. Also there is no dust in the galaxies,
since the first stars have just started to produce heavier elements. There is only hydrogen and
helium in early universe. Also it may be that in this picture You see the cosmic dark age
behind these galaxies. Time when there was no stars and galaxies. This Hubble Ultra Deep
Field picture is taken from constellation of Fornax. Exposure time is tens of hours. Copyright
for Hubble Ultra Deep Field picture: NASA, ESA, R.Ellis(Caltech) and UDF 2012 Team.

Presentation of birth of Universe, its evolution and about the time period which Hubble
reached in the Ultra Deep Field picture. Copyright for picture below: University of Arizona

Scales in the Universe. This image contains the galaxy space objects presented in this book
in 3 different scales. The 70 million light year scale shows nearby galaxies. The 500 million
light year scale contains Galaxy clusters. The 9 billion light year scale has few distant
quasars, which can be imaged with amateur equipment. The Quasar Q1634+706 is in
distance of 8.6 billion light years, which is not so far from the theoretical 13 billion light year
distance limit of the Big Bang. The Q1634+706 recedes from us with 91% of speed of light.
Southern Sky

This page contains pictures of Southern Sky objects, which are not visible from Finland. The
pictures were taken on a holiday trip to Gran Canaria, Arguineguin, on 11th of June 2013.
Observation place was 7th floor balcony of the Sunwing hotel. Tracking device was Sky
Watcher Merlin and camera Canon Eos 60Da. Objectives were Canon EF-S 18-135mm
f/3.5-5.6 IS and EF 100-400L f/4.5.

The airport security control did not say anything about my bag which was full of
photography equipment, including red dot scope and 16 AA batteries. Only too large Sun-
cream bottle was forbidden.

Before travelling I checked from Google Maps the position of the hotel and observed that on
certain parts of hotel the balconies are to the south. I requested from Hotel to get one of these
rooms in highest floors and they agreed. It was forbidden to go to the roof of the hotel.
Surprising problem stopping photography was that on the balcony there was a lamp, which
you could not turn off. Next day I figured out how to remove the lamp. However, I had to
stand on a small chair close to 7th floor balcony edge to remove the lamp. This was a small
risk compared to acquired images. All outside lamps of the hotel were turned off at 12 PM.
Center of the Milky Way Galaxy in constellation of Sagittarius. Exposures were 5 times 7
seconds. The center of Milky Way galaxy is in 30000 light years distance from us. Up from
the bright center is letter V-shaped dark cloud called Dark Horse. Lagoon nebula M8 is red
area to the left from the center.

Below is Milky Way pictures combined. Picture area is about 20x10 degrees. The M24 is the
Great Sagittarius Star Cloud.
Milky Way center.

Lagoon nebula M8 and Trifid nebula M20 in constellation of Sagittarius, with EF100-400
tele zoom set to 100mm. Exposures 6x14 seconds. Lagoon nebula: Distance 5220 light
years. Trifid nebula: Distance 5200 light years.
Trifid nebula M20 and Lagoon nebula M8 in constellation of Sagittarius, with EF100-400
tele zoom set to 400mm. Trifid: Single exposure 11 seconds. Lagoon: Single exposure 7
seconds. Because of tripod and tracking problem I could not make longer exposures in
400mm focus.

Below are M8 and M20 imaged in Finland when they were just about 1 degree above
horizon. Picture taken 25.8.2013. Celestron 8 F6.3 and Canon EOS 60Da. Exposures 2x30
seconds, ISO 3200.
Omega nebula M17 is in the middle and the Eagle-nebula M16 is on above. Taken with
EF100-400 tele zoom set to 100mm. Exposures were 6x14 seconds.

Globular cluster Omega Centauri with EF100-400 tele zoom set to 400mm. Exposures 4x7
seconds. Distance is 15800 light years.
Milky Way pictures combined. The 2 pictures on left are taken in Finland and the 2 on right
are taken in Gran Canaria.

A faint glimpse of the galaxy Centaurus A.

Northern Lights and atmospheric phenomena
Northern lights at Kirkkonummi, Finland 7-8.10.2015. Northern Lights are born when
charged particles from sun hit the Earth's magnetic field, which guides the particles to hit the
upper atmosphere molecules in north and south poles of Earth. Camera Canon Eos 60Da.
Exposures 8 seconds, ISO6400.

Images below were taken at Kirkkonummi 17.3.2015.

Halos form when light bended by small ice particles in the air. In the image Tahko 23.2.2022
there is 22 degree arch and zenit arch. In the image Kirkkonummi, 5.2.2016 there is
haloforms: 22 degrees side arches and sun pillar. Outside temperature was -19 degrees
Celsius. In the image Kirkkonummi 3.5.2021 are: 22 degree ring and side arches and a
horizon ring. In image Kirkkonummi 17.1.2021 there is a fog arch.

Halos at Kirkkonummi 17th of April 2017. Outside temperature was +1 degrees Celsius. In
the image below there is haloform: 22 degrees arch.
Halos at Sepänkylä close to Vaasa 16th of June 1982. Here we can see several haloforms.

Night clouds
Night clouds are tenuous cloud-like phenomena in the upper atmosphere. They are visible in
a deep twilight. They are made of ice crystals. They are most commonly observed in the
summer months at latitudes between 50° and 70° north and south of the equator. These
clouds can be observed only during local summer months and when the Sun is below the
horizon for the observer, but while the clouds are still in sunlight.
Back to the 80s

This chapter contains pictures taken with a film camera in 1980s in Sepänkylä, close to
Vaasa in Finland.

Left: A meteor in constellation of Cassiopeia 21.8.1982. Meteors are stones which burn in
atmosphere when they hit it with speed of 20-30 kilometers per second.

Right: Northern Lights are born when charged particles from sun hit the Earth's magnetic
field, which guides the particles to hit the upper atmosphere molecules in north and south
poles of Earth.

Left: 20 minutes exposure around Polaris 10.10.1982. Earth is rotating. Middle: Venus and
Jupiter 30.10.1980. Right: Halos around the Sun 16.6.1982. Halos are born when sun light is
redirected by small ice particles in atmosphere.
Series of drawings of the Sun 16-21.7.1980, during the sunspot maximum. The activity of
sun changes in 11 year periods.In second row is drawings of the Moon and the telescope Carl
Zeiss Telementor 63/840.

Working as a summer student in Geneva CERN year 1989. In this picture there is Delphi
detector of LEP-collider, 100 meters underground. The electrons and positrons (matter and
antimatter) were accelerated in 27 kilometers long tunnel close to speed of light. Collisions
were done in 4 places, one of them this Delphi detector. Conditions in the collision are same
as in first second after birth of the Universe in Big Bang. The LEP-collider produced Z and
W bosons so that their mass could be determined. The successor of LEP, the LHC is now
working and a particle resembling the Higgs particle was found on July 2012.
There are 4 known basic forces:

Electric force: Charged particle like electrons and protons interact with each other.
Interaction is transmitted with Photons( Light)

Gravity: Objects with mass pull each other. Higgs boson is assumed to give mass to

Strong nuclear force: Keeps atomic nucleus stable. Nucleus contains protons and neutrons,
which are combinations of 3 Quarks. Quarks are kept together with color-force, which is
transmitted by exchanging Gluons.

Weak nuclear force: Weak force can change a particle to another. Interaction is done by Z
and W bosons.

Below is a printout of the first Z-boson decay, observed by Delphi detector. The Z-boson
decay produces a bunch of particles which are curved in strong magnetic field of Delphi
detector. To this printout the physics Nobelist Carlo Rubbia(on up right corner) has signed
his congratulations.
Methods and Equipment

I have taken the pictures mainly in my backyard in two kilometers distance from center of
small city Kirkkonummi. There is quite much light pollution around. When taking deep sky
images, the sky has to be cloudless and there should be no moon. This limits the good deep
sky imaging session to about 30 nights per year in Kirkkonummi.

In image below is the equipment. Telescope Celestron 8, Sky Watcher 80/600 ED and the
tele zoom lens EF100-400L. Camera Canon Eos 60Da is specially designed for
astrophotography. It passes the infra-red light trough to CMOS Sensor. Normal cameras
filter away the infra-red light.

Essential thing when photographing stars is that the telescope must follow the rotation of sky
with high accuracy. It is essential to make good polar alignment of the tripod before the
photographing sessions. Aligning the tripod to North Star is not enough, since it is half a
degree from the celestial pole. In Celestron CG-5 mount there is a built in alignment process
and it takes about 15 minutes to execute it before starting imaging session. In 2019 I bougth
new HEQ5 mount which has the capacity to carry the Helios Skyliner 200/1000 telescope
which I bougth in 2004.

When taking exposure series for stacking the TC-80N3, timer remote controller, is a good
The optical combinations which I use are in table below.

In Finland in winter there may be minus 10 to 20 degrees cold. This may cause problems to
the tracking electronics of telescope. As a solution I have covered the electronics with thin
polyester-metal sheets, which reflect 90 percent of heat back. With this system it is possible
to have an astrophotography session of 2 hours in minus 20 degrees temperature.

Auto Guider

With autoguider solution it is possible to accurately keep the telescope pointing to same
position in the sky for very long time. This makes long exposure times possible, so that stars
stay sharp round in the image. If the system observes that tracking star moves, it gives
commands to mount to make correcting move.

Year 2020 I upgraded to auto guiding solution with Zwo ASI120 mini guiding camera and
TS Optics TSL60D guider telescope and PHD2 Guide software on laptop. I ordered them
from Telescope Service . ASI120 is a small camera connected to computer and to HEQ5
mount. I started autoguiding experiments year 2013 with the Orion StarShoot auto guider. At
that time the guiding telescope was quite heavy, and the total weigth was a little too much
for CG-5 mount, which I used that time. With 10 meter USB cable, I can on winter time keep
the laptop warm inside.

Year 2020 equipment with autoguider below.

I tested the new ASI120 autoguider while full Moon was shining. First practising target was
M13 in Hercules. In the image there is one 2 minute exposure, ISO1600. Celestron 8, F10
focus. Then came the clouds on the sky.

Autoguided image of Horsehead nebula Barnard 33 and Flame nebula NGC 2024 in the
constellation of Orion. Distance to Horsehead nebula is 1500 light years. Picture was taken
with Sky Watcher 80/600 ED telescope with Baader UHC-S filter. Picture is stack of 9 x 7
minutes exposures, ISO1600 and stacked with Deep Sky Stacker software.
First auto guiding test object year 2013 was Galaxy Messier 66 in constellation of Leo.
Exposures were 5 x 6 minutes. ISO1600. Baader UHC-S filter. Other targets were galaxies
M51, M106 and M101.

Deep Sky Stacker(DSS)

I use Deep Sky Stacker(DSS) software to reduce noise from pictures. Noise is caused by heat
from camera sensor and from light pollution. This random noise can be reduced when
several images are taken of the target and they are compared to each other.

Below is example of effect of using DSS. Target is Andromeda galaxy M31. On left is one
original 2 minute exposure with Canon Eos 60Da, with ISO 1600 sensitivity. Telescope was
SkyWatcher 80/600 ED. Image on right has 6 original exposures stacked with DSS. After
DSS the picture must still be edited e.g. with Photoshop or with Gimp.
The stacking improves the signal-noise relation of the image. And then it is easier to make
afterwards image improvements. Stacking method is useful especially for galaxies and nebulae.
For planets, sun and moon there is another method implemented for example in Registax

Signal-noise relation is improved in relation to square root of the amount of the stacked images.
So a stack of 4 images has 2 times better signal-noise relation than a single image. The images
have to be taken with same exposure times and ISO sensitivity. The DSS does not support the
RAW format(CR2 files) of Canon Eos 60Da, so I will convert the RAW images to TIFF format
with Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software, and then I stack the TIFF images.

Concepts in stacking:

When using DSS first time, you first wonder why the result image looks like highly
overexposed. This is normal. Same the image and make further adjustments of the brightness
and contrast for example in GIMP or photoshop. The image gets then much better.
Autostakkert for Moon, Sun and Planets

On March 2020 I learned to use Autostakkert software for stacking images on Moon and
planets. Autostakkert is used to stack images of planets, Moon and the Sun. It calculates a
average image from large set of frames, so that the distortion caused by earth atmosphere is
reduced. Autostackerts gives easily much better results than Registax, which is described
later. Below are few examples of stacking one minute videos of Moon.

Autostakkert can handle Full HD size AVI format video, but not MP4 format. With Video editor Pinnacle Studio I
convert original MP4 HD video to AVI format. The procedure in Autostakkert is:

1.Open videofile "1)Open".

2.Select "Surface" for Moon and Sun or "Planet" for planets. In the window with opened video, set the alignment
3.Click "2)Analyze". This takes a little time.
4.In "Frame percentage to stack" set how many percent of frames to stack. If the atmosphere is restless and a lot of
blurry images in the video, set 7-10%. But if quality of video is good, set 20-30%.
5.In the window with opened video, set alignment points. For Moon and Sun the "Place AP grid" sets them well. For
planet videos, I set them manually one by one by clicking on the image.
6.Click "3)Stack". This takes a little time. The final image is a TIFF format file, which can be converted to jpeg format
for example with GIMP software.

When 1.5 minute Full HD MP4 video is converted into AVI it is about 15 gigabytes in size. The computer has to have
enogh memory and capacity to handle the file.
Moon images with Autostakkert.
Registax for Moon, Sun and Planets

Registax is used to stack images of planets, Moon and the Sun. It calculates a average image
from large set of frames, so that the distortion caused by earth atmosphere is reduced.

Registax is from year 2011 and it does not support Canon Eos 60Da camera
5184x3456 pixel images and HD video(H.264 MOV). For images the max limit is 4096
pixels, so images has to be adjusted to that size. In Canon Eos 60Da camera the video-mode
with 640x480 pixels crop video mode can be selected. A 30-60 seconds video is taken. The
resulting mpeg4 video is converted to 640x480 AVI for example with Pinnacle studio
software. The AVI vide file is processed with Registax to produce final image.

Closeups of features on the Moon, with video stacking method, using Registax software. The
size of each image is 103 arch seconds, which is 183 kilometers on surface of the Moon. I
use F10 focus in Celestron 8 telescope, with 20mm ocular. In Canon Eos 60Da camera the
video-mode with 640x480 pixels crop video mode was used. A 30-60 seconds video is taken.
The resulting mpeg4 video is converted to AVI with Pinnacle studio software. The AVI vide
file is processed with Registax to produce final image. With default settings Registax selects
about 10 percent best video frames for stacking.
ISO sensitivity of the camera

In image below i tested the ISO sensitivity of the camera and how it affects the noise patterns in the image.
Target was globular cluster M13 in Hercules. From the original 5200 x 3500 pixel image a small area of
350x260 pixels has been chosen to see the noise patterns. Images below in first row are raw images without
any modifications. In second row are stacked images. It can be concluded that the noise is smaller with low
ISO sensitivity.

Light pollution

Below is a test of light pollution. Same target in urban area and on country side with same camera settings.
Difference is huge. In practise the level of ligth pollution puts a limit how long exposure times it is possible
to use. Sometimes I use Baader UHC-S filter to cut down the ligth pollution.
Merlin tripod

Below is a picture of a compact tripod with sky tracking capability. It is easy to take this
system with e.g. when traveling abroad with plane.

I started astrophotography with Canon film camera in 1980s. The telescope was Carl Zeiss
Telementor 63/840. Camera with normal objective was mounted on telescope and I used the
telescope to make manual tracking of stars, by keeping a bright star in the middle of the view
during the exposure. I started the astrophotography again in year 2010 with better equipment.

Oskillation in HEQ5 tracking, February 2020

It is typical to have all kinds of problems when doing astrophotography. Here is solution to a oskillation
problem in R.A axis of HEQ5 mount which was just 6 months old. Apparently in the factory the bolts
holding the motor and the gears were not set tigth enough in the factory. They were loose and the gaps
between gears had grown too large, causing a large oscillation movement in R.A axis. In image below rigth,
there is 3 gears A, B and C for R.A axis. They are tightened like this:

(1) Loosen the 3 bolts marked with letter T. Push down the metallic plate so that gears B and C are tigthly
together. Then tighten the T bolts.

(2) Loosen the 3 bolts marked with letter M. Press at same time the 3 M bolts downwards so that gears A
and B are tigthly together. Then tighten the M bolts.
See also
Harry Rabb 2013-2021: Life on Mars - Visual Investigation
Harry Rabb, 2015 book on Scribd: Life on Mars - Visual Investigation.
Harry Rabb, Web site: Astrophotography - A Tour to the Night Sky
Harry Rabb, YouTube channel

International Space Station ISS, 3rd of February 2020 16:00 UTC. Imaged in Kirkkonummi, Finland, 18:00 local
time. The brigth star is planet Venus and ISS is the line crossing the sky in this 6 second exposure. Camera Canon
Eos550D, ISO1600. ISS orbits the Eart in 408km altitude and one orbit takes 92 minutes. Speed is 7,7 kilometers per
second. The crew in current Expedition 61 Mission is Andrew Morgan (NASA), Alexander Skvortsov (Roscosmos),
Luca Parmitano (ESA), Oleg Skripochka (Roscosmos), Jessica Meir (NASA) andChristina Koch (NASA).

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