2024

These photos were taken about 24 hours apart. From the movement of the Sunspots we can appreciate the Sun’s rotation. This is the first time for me to observe this and the Sun rotates much slower than I expected.



My favorite constellation in the sky. Playing here with a diffuser filter to get that soft dreamy look.

Same object from Feb 2021 and Feb 2024. Finally, learning how to use all the equipment properly.


2024 version of the Running Man (NGC1977) and Orion Nebula (M42). This star forming region in the sword of Orion is about 1350 light years away. The core was intentionally overexposed to bring out the dark nebulosity.

This image is a stack of sixty 1-minute exposures taken with WO Zenithstar61 telescope attached to ASI533-MC-Pro camera. Processed using SIRIL and Photoshop.

The Horsehead and Flame nebulae from Orion. The bright star (Alnitak) between them is the leftmost star in the belt of Orion. Can’t take enough photos of this view.

2023

Elephant’s Trunk nebula in constellation Cepheus is an emission nebula that is about 2400 light years away from us. It is an area of intense star formation and contains many young stars (~100,000 years old). Total exposure for this image is 2.5 hours (30x5 min).

Startrails from my front yard. No Geminids. Hope to catch some tonight.



California nebula (NGC1499) from the constellation Perseus. It is about 1000 light years away from us in the Orion arm of the Milky Way. This nebula glows because of intense radiation from a super hot class O star called Menkib.

Total exposure for this photo is about 4.75 hours.

ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE 2023 - FIRST EMPTY NESTER TRIP

When we watched the total solar eclipse in 2017, I knew the next one was going to be in April 2024 and was excited about it as it will be visible from close to home. Sometime in 2021, when I read about the Annular eclipse in October 2023, I wanted to go watch it but, thought that it was going to be impossible. October is when schools are back in session and kids activities are going at full throttle. Then it dawned on me that in October 2023, I don’t have to think about all these things as my son will be at college and we will be empty nesters.

A few months ago, we started planning our first empty nester trip. Driving to this event was too far and as we started looking at possible airfares and travel time, San Antonio won over Albuquerque. After taking a 6:10am flight (which meant leaving home at 3:30am), we reached San Antonio by lunch time. After some sumptuous Tex-Mex food at Market Square, we searched for a possible eclipse viewing site for the following day. The long barracks at the Alamo seemed to fit the bill. Nice open area with the proper clearing to view the entire eclipse. Planned to get there early enough to beat the crowds and to allow enough time for setting up the equipment.

On the morning of the eclipse, we decided to have breakfast at the oldest restaurant in San Antonio called Schilo’s. Because of a little snafu with my omelet order, it took a long time for getting our food. I was getting concerned about finding a good spot for viewing but, we reached the Alamo well ahead of time. Just as I got everything setup, the clouds thickened. It looked like all the efforts of making the trip were going to be wasted and we won’t be able to see the eclipse. Thankfully, within 30-40 minutes, the clouds started to break up and although we missed the start of the eclipse, we were able to see it till the end. Some of the early shots with clouds were quite dramatic.

Of course the total annularity was spectacular. It lasted for more than 4 minutes. This is the first time I experienced it and probably will be the only time in my life.

I have posted some composite images of the eclipse earlier and also made a 12 second time-lapse video from images taken over 9 minutes or so around total annularity.

One more nice thing happened during this trip. I got to meet with @pratik in person. He drove down to San Antonio from Austin with his family to meet us for lunch. I have known him for almost 20 years through various interactions/platforms on the internet but had never met him in person.

Overall, the trip worked out nicely. Now I am looking forward to viewing the next Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024.

Trifid nebula (M20) and Lagoon nebula (M8). Really like how the blue color of the reflection nebulosity in Trifid showed up. This is a stack of only 13 two minute exposures. The exposure time is limited because of the trees in the southern sky. Hope to get a couple more clear nights to add to this.

The famous “Pillars of creation” captured from my front yard.

It is an area of intense star forming activity at a distance of 7000 light years. Images from Hubble telescope in the 1990s greatly improved our understanding of star formation process.



This nebula is catalogued as M16 and also known as Eagle nebula or Star Queen nebula.

Last night, it was one of the best Lyme Land Trust public Astronomy nights at Alan’s observatory. Clear skies, cool temps and very little glow. The Milky Way looked spectacular! There were lot more people (25+) and we split the telescopes out in 2 groups. I was with Scott and Jon in the field away from the big telescope. Jon’s mount kept misbehaving so we only used manual telescopes in our area. We could show a good bunch of targets:

  • M4 globular cluster in Scorpius
  • M8 Lagoon nebula in Sagittarius
  • M13 globular cluster in Hercules
  • Double star in Ursa Major
  • Alberio in Cygnus
  • Saturn

Along with the usual crowd of older folks, there were a few younger people who were interested and asking questions. It was a fun night overall. Hope we get more good nights like this.

M51 aka the Whirlpool galaxy along with its companion dwarf galaxy NGC5195. They are at about 24 million light years away and the spiral structure of M51 seems to be affected by its interaction with its smaller partner. This is a stack of 60 one minute long exposures.

a face-on view of a spiral galaxy with its smaller companion on a dark star filled background

Another satellite trail going right through the target I was shooting. I see at least 1 satellite in the frames every night I am out doing astrophotography.

With all the rainy weather, Canadian smoke and short Summer nights, there was no chance to do any astrophotography in last couple of months. Here is an image from April taken as a screenshot while setting up a Venus in Pleiades shot. The spikes are generated by a Bathinov mask and help in focusing.

Mars and the Beehive star cluster (M44) in Cancer, which is one of the closest star clusters to us (at about 600 light years) and it can be seen with naked eyes. All the stars in this cluster are quite young - only ~600 million years of age.

#astro

NEEDLE GALAXY AND OTHER DISTANT GALAXIES

The needle galaxy (NGC4565) - perfect edge-on view of a spiral galaxy that is at about 30 light years away.


Captured a couple more galaxies in the same photo. The ones marked with yellow circle (PGC41976, NGC4565C) are at 310 million light years away. The one in red circle (IC3533) is 429 million light years away. This is probably the farthest object I have captured so far.

This image is a stack of sixty 2 minute exposures taken with ZWO ASI533MC-Pro camera attached to William Optics ZS61 telescope.

Supernova SN2023ixf was spotted on May 19th and it continues to brighten. The top image is from May 23rd and an image from April 30th on the bottom. This supernova is in galaxy M101 which is 21 million ly away -> this “live in real-time” event actually happened 21 million years ago.

Sunspots seen just now. The big sunspot at center left can hold 4 earths. 😳

A face-on spiral galaxy, M101 aka the Pinwheel galaxy is at 21 million light years away in Ursa major and contains about 1 trillion stars. This image is a stack of sixty 2-min exposures.

The Rosette nebula from Monoceros constellation at 5K light years is one of the brightest nebula in the sky. The cluster of young stars (~4mil yrs) in the center provides the energy that makes this cloud glow. As always the streaks of dark dust are the striking features. #astro

Mars visiting Gemini. Open star cluster M35 at the bottom is at 2600 light years away and made up of young stars that are only 100 million years old. At the bottom right, the cluster of yellow stars (NGC2158) is made up of stars that are 10 times older and 6 times farther. #astro

There is this whole galaxy out there for us to explore.

#mbmar

Airplanes kept photobombing while I was shooting Venus and Jupiter.

After missing the closest approach yesterday, I was relieved that I caught some break in the clouds to view the Venus and Jupiter conjunction.

The cloud bands added a nice glow to the planets. The Gallelian moons Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa are seen above Jupiter and Io is on the other side.

Caught Jupiter and Venus conjunction tonight through a break in cloudy weather.

#mbmar
March Photo Challenge

Moon, Jupiter and Venus in the western sky. Couldn’t catch them when they were closer to each other a couple of days ago. In the third photo, the moons of Jupiter can be seen if you zoom in.

Flame and Horsehead nebulae shining brightly along with blinding Alnitak. So satisfying to see this with only forty minutes (20x2min) exposures.

#astro

Jupiter and Venus are lighting up the western sky. They will come very close to each other in 2 weeks.

#astro

Orion is looking pretty in the sky tonight.

#astro

Got this photo of Elephant trunk nebula printed on canvas. It looks quite good considering its big size - 20x30 inches. Wasn’t sure how it will turn out. Last week, it was also featured on this website. They wrote such a nice description.

#astro

Orion Nebula

2013: How it started….

2023: How it’s going….

This must be my best effort at capturing the running man and Orion nebulae so far. This nebula is a region of massive star formation and is closest of such kind to Earth at ~1300 light years.

Only 40 one minute subs taken without any narrowband filter.

The green comet is so close to a bright star, Capella right now. I’d be out taking pictures if there were no clouds covering it all up. ☹️☹️

Comet C2022/E3 (ZTF) or the green comet as mentioned in the news was captured on the night of Friday (1/27) from my front yard. The relative movement of the comet over that time can be seen as the background stars made startrails. In the second image, the processing was done a little differently to suppress the stars and that makes the comet’s dust tail more prominent.


Different processing to dim the startrails and bring out the dust tail of comet ZTF more clearly. Here is the photo with first round of processing.

Comet C/2022 E3(ZTF) This is a stack of 30 sec exposures over 24 minutes. It moves quite a bit with respect to the stars around it. The green colored halo is quite nice but you can’t make out the color with naked eyes. I didn’t think I’d be able capture the long wispy ion tail I had seen in other photos but it showed up.

#astro

Capturing the green comet tonight.

Got my Veil nebula photo printed. This is the first time for me to get an acrylic print. It was expensive but I see why that was so. It seems like the print is mounted under a clear ~4mm thick piece of plastic (acrylic?!). It looks great. Can’t wait to put it on a wall.

2022

Posting some of my favorite astrophotos of 2022 in this thread over next 2 days. #Paragastro2022
Link to previous post in this thread.
Happy New Year to you all. Wishing you a great 2023.
Here are last two pictures in this series from Cygnus:
19. Western Veil nebula
20. Butterfly nebula around Sadr

Posting some of my favorite astrophotos of 2022 in this thread over next 2 days. #Paragastro2022


Link to previous post in this thread.

One of our closest and farther away neighbors.
17. Lunar eclipse
18. Andromeda galaxy

Posting some of my favorite astrophotos of 2022 in this thread over next 2 days.


Link to previous post in this thread.

Two views of Elephant trunk nebula
15. Wide angle with a DSLR (Nikon Z6)
16. Cropped view with an astro camera ASI533MC-Pro

Posting some of my favorite astrophotos of 2022 in this thread over next 2 days. #Paragastro2022


Link to previous post in this thread.

Two views of a large nebula complex in Cygnus -
13. Cygnus wall from North American nebula
14. Pelican nebula

Posting some of my favorite astrophotos of 2022 in this thread over next 2 days. #Paragastro2022
Link to previous post in this thread.
A pair or large emission nebulae from Cassiopeia.
11. Heart nebula
12. Soul nebula

Posting some of my favorite astrophotos of 2022 in this thread over next 2 days. #Paragastro2022


Link to previous post in this thread.

Two wide angle images from August 2022.
9. Milky Way galaxy shot in Maine
10. Startrails from my front yard

Posting some of my favorite astrophotos of 2022 in this thread over next 2 days. #Paragastro2022

Link to previous post in this thread.
5. Rosette nebula from Monoceros captured in March 2022

Posting some of my favorite astrophotos of 2022 in this thread over next 2 days. #Paragastro2022
Link to previous post in this thread.
3. Bode’s galaxy (M81) and Cigar galaxy (M82) from Ursa Major
4. Pinwheel galaxy (M33) from Triangulum

Posting some of my favorite astrophotos of 2022 in this thread over next 2 days. #Paragastro2022


  1. The Great Orion Nebula (M42)
    
2. Flame and Horsehead nebulae
    
These two are from Jan 2022.

Great Conjunction of 2020. Jupiter and Saturn close together in the sky on December 21, 2020.


A part of the Veil nebula complex from Cygnus. This is Pickering’s triangle and Witch’s broom (NGC6960). #astro

Nebulosity (IC 1318) seen around the star gamma Cygni (Sadr) at bottom right. This area is aka Butterfly nebula. They appear together but the nebula and the star cluster at right edge are 3 times farther than Sadr.

WO ZS61 - ZWO ASI533MC-PRO - LeXtreme - 50 x 3 min - SIRIL - PS #astro

Pacman nebula (NGC 281) in the constellation of Cassiopeia. This bright emission nebula is at 9200 light years away in the Perseus arm of the Milky Way galaxy.

WO ZS61 - ZWO ASI533MC-PRO - LeXtreme - 50 x 3 min - SIRIL - PS #astro

It was cloudy last night when the Moon-Mars conjunction happened but then cleared out early in the morning. When I woke up Moon and Mars were shining brightly in the sky. #astro


Sharing my favorite photo from last month again. Elephant trunk nebula is one of my favorite objects to shoot. I like all the details in the dark nebulosity that can be seen here. #astro

Another long exposure (3 min) photo showing Pleiades (bottom right), and ghostly reddish glow of California nebula (right of center). The bright star at top left is Capella and just above the roof, open clusters M36 and M38 are seen along with Flaming star nebula in Auriga. #astro

Playing with long exposure (3 mins) photos with a 40 mm lens. Here is one that shows Andromeda galaxy (M31), top right and Triangulum Galaxy (M33), bottom center. Also two open star clusters: M34 in Perseus (left edge) and NGC 752 in Andromeda (left center) #astro

The Bubble nebula (NGC 7635) and open cluster M52 in Cassiopeia. They appear next to each other but the nebula is ~11000 LY away while M52 is closer at a distance of only ~5000 LY. About 3 hours of total exposure (35x5m). Optolong LeXtreme filter with ASI533MC-pro on WO ZS61. #astro

2008

STARGAZINGS 10-18-08

It was a quick half hour session with Adit calling me to come in every 5 minutes. A clear and cold night made everything look very beautiful. These sky conditions along with the good quality optics of William Optics Megrez 90 were responsible for excellent viewing with good contrast. Here is what I was able to catch:

Jupiter: All four moon visible; all were on the same side.

M22 and M28 from Saggitarius: It was my first time to see these two clusters. They can be found around lambda Saggitarius. M22 is a big and very dense, nice looking, globular star cluster. Very easy to spot. M28 is much smaller and fainter.

M57: “Ring nebula” a planetary nebula from Lyra.

M56: a globular star cluster from Lyra. It lies on the straight line between M57 and Albeiro (beta-Cygnus), almost at the midpoint.

Albeiro: Famous double star in Cygnus. Two bright colorful stars: Orange and blue.

M31 and M32: Andromeda and its companion galaxy.

NGC869 and NGC884: Double cluster in Perseus.