Astronomy.se

Astronomy.se

Astrophotography by Jan Sonnvik

Welcome to view some of my astro photography work! I'm based in southern Sweden and most of the images shown here are taken from my home observatory under moderately light polluted skies. My equipment includes a Celestron 11 scope mounted on a Mesu German Equatorial mount and I mostly use a QSI 583 wsg CCD camera mounted in C11 Cassegrain focus as well as an ASI 294 MC Pro CMOS camera mounted piggyback with a Canon 200mm telephoto lens. 
ASI 294 MC Pro wide angle

Rosette Nebula

NGC 2237 (Caldwell 49) and Sh2-280 

The Rosette Nebula is embedded in the open star cluster NGC 2244 (Caldwell 50) and was discovered in 1690 by John Flamsteed. Sh2-280 is the smaller nebula to the right of Rosette. It is probably part of the same nebula complex. This is an average of 160 one-minute exposures with the ASI 294 color camera and a 200mm Canon telephoto lens. 

ASI 294 MC Pro wide angle

Orion Nebula area

Messier 42 and Barnard 33

The great Orion Nebula (M 42) is to the right and the dark Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) is visible in the lower left part of the image. The Horsehead is a dark nebula silhouetted against the red emission nebula IC 434 discovered by William Herschel in 1786. Many more nebulae part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex is visible in this field. I have another wide angle view showing this taken with a Canon 20Da DSLR and a deep red filter. This is an average of 197 one-minute exposures over two nights with the ASI 294 color camera and a 200mm Canon telephoto lens. 

ASI 294 MC Pro wide angle

Great Andromeda Galaxy

Messier 31 with satellite galaxies

The Andromeda Galaxy and it's neighbor Triangulum Galaxy (Messier 33) are the most distant objects visible to the naked eye at 2.5 and 2.73 million light years from Earth respectively. Both are part of the local galaxy group. The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest major galaxy to the Milky Way and contains about one trillion stars, or roughly twice the number estimated for the Milky Way. You can also see two of the major satellite galaxies M32 and M110. On close inspection you will be able to identify many of the about 460 globular clusters assiciated with the Andromeda Galaxy. But the most massive cluster, Mayall II, is unfortunately outside of this field towards the lower left. This is an average of 159 one-minute exposures with the ASI 294 color camera and a 200mm Canon telephoto lens. 

ASI 294 MC Pro wide angle

North America Nebula

NGC 7000 and IC 5070/5067

 NGC 7000 lie 2590 light years away according to the latest data from the Gaia astrometry satellite. The nebula stretches about 90 light years from north to south. The North America Nebula was first seen by William Herschel in 1786. The smaller and fainter nebula to the right is the Pelican Nebula (IC 5070 and IC 5067). The North America Nebula and the Pelican nebula are both parts of the same nebular complex close to the star Deneb in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan). This is an average of 159 30-second exposures with the ASI 294 color camera and a 200mm Canon telephoto lens. Sky quality was very poor with a full moon high in the sky.  But the good dynamic range and sensitivity of the ASI 294 camera at unity gain makes it possible to capture faint extended sources even under less than ideal circumstances.

Canon 20Da DSLR

Moon colors

The real colors of the Moon

This is a composite of about 200 images taken with a Canon 20Da DSLR and a Celestron 11 with a f6.3 focal reducer. The color channels were averaged and color saturation heavily increased. But color balance was preserved so this is how we would perceive the Moon's colors if our eyes had enough color fidelity to make out the subtle colors of the Moon! Color differences in Mare areas are due to varying composition of the basalt flows, e.g Titanium content. Very low-Ti basalts (<2% wt) tend to be red while high-Ti basalts (>7% wt) tend to be blue. 

ASI 294 MC Pro wide angle

Virgo Galaxy Cluster

A view to over 1300 galaxies

The Virgo Cluster is a large cluster of galaxies whose center is 53.8 ± 0.3 million lightyears away in the constellation Virgo.  Comprising approximately 1300 (and possibly up to 2000) member galaxies, the cluster forms the heart of the larger Virgo Supercluster, of which the Local Group (containing our Milky Way galaxy) is a member.  It is estimated that the Virgo Cluster's mass is 1.2×1015 solar masses out to 8 degrees of the cluster's center or a radius of about 2.2 Mpc. Many of the brighter galaxies in this cluster, including the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87, were discovered in the late 1770s and early 1780s and subsequently included in Charles Messier's catalogue of non-cometary fuzzy objects.  Described by Messier as nebulae without stars, their true nature was not recognized until the 1920s. See below for an annotated version of the image.

ASI 294 MC Pro wide angle

Virgo Galaxy Cluster

Annotated version

This is an annotated version of the image above where some of the larger galaxies are marked. In addition, there are a lot of smaller ones not marked here but you may spot some in the full size image. 

QSI 583 CCD mosaic

IC410 - The Tadpoles Nebula

A stellar nursery

IC410 is a dusty emission nebula located in the constellation of Auriga at about 12.000 ly from Earth.  It is part of a larger star forming region that also contains the Flaming Star Nebula. The gas structures in this picture are lit by the radiation from the open star cluster NGC1893 that lies in the center of the nebula. This star cluster is about 4 million years old, but in astronomical terms it is still very young, with hot, massive stars. At the top-right of the star cluster, near the center of the image,  two more dense structures are visible. These are similar to the famous Pillar of Creation and they are composed of dust and gas leftover from the formation of the star cluster and are very likely to give birth to more stars in the future. As can be seen in the picture, these structures point away from the center of the nebula. This is because of the stellar winds and radiation pressure from the stars in NGC 1893. Due to these structure's shape, the nebula is also called the Tadpoles Nebula. This image is a composite of 12 frames taken with a QSI 583 CCD camera and a Celestron 11 telescope operating at a focal length of 2109 mm. Each frame include a number of separate images with luminance, red, green and blue filters. In total 385 images with a combined exposure time of 30 h 36 m were required for the 12 frames which were stitched together for this image. Image processing with PixInsight. 

IC410 nebula in Auriga