A Gallery of Astronomical Images by RAS Members and Friends
Image of Messier 101, the Pinwheel Galaxy, in Ursa Major by Mearl Balmer with assistance from his grandson, Grayson on July 8, 2018. The image shows M101 in the upper right and another spiral galaxy, NGC5474. The Pinwheel Galaxy is much larger than our Milky Way Galaxy and over 25 million light years away.
Mearl reports that Grayson was a big help aligning the computer-controlled scope to several stars, as he struggled to look through the finder Telrad on a night with much glare from the Hopewell factories. They also identified a star in that galaxy that was the remnant of a supernova explosion long ago.
The image is a composite of 22 five minute exposures. Mearl uses a remote WiFi system to control his system after initial manual setup.
After a number of scrubs due to weather and other issues, a sounding rocket was successfully launched at 4:25 AM on June 29 from NASA Wallops, near Chincoteague, Virginia. Stuart Squier captured this image of the rocket’s vapor cloud deployment from Oregon Inlet Campground in Nags Head, North Carolina.A video of the launch and deployment posted by NASA Wallops is here.
The Cigar Galaxy (Messier 82) by Madhup Rathi. Evidence indicates that this reddish hydrogen area of ionized hydrogen near the center is being driven out by the combined emerging particle winds of many stars, together creating a galactic superwind. The filaments extend for over 10,000 light years. The 12-million light-year distant Cigar Galaxy is the brightest galaxy in the sky in infrared light, and can be seen in visible light with a small telescope towards the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major). This image is a composite of 15 luminance images at 30 minutes each with color RGB data of 6 images at 20 minutes each and with 9 images using a hydrogen alpha filter at 30 minutes each.
An image of the Antennae Galaxies by Madhup Rathi. These galaxies are some 60 million light-years away in the southerly constellation Corvus. The two large galaxies are colliding, leaving a long tail of their remnant spiral arms. Spanning about 500 thousand light-years, the stars in the two galaxies, cataloged as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, very rarely collide directly in the course of this merger, but their large clouds of molecular gas and dust often do, triggering furious episodes of star formation near the center of the cosmic wreckage.
Madhup captured this image over 11.5 hours. (13 luminance images of 30 minutes each and 15 color images (5 each of RGB) of 20 minutes each.
Tyler Hutchison took this image of the ISS at 6:01 AM on January 19, 2017 with 48.4s of exposure at ISO 200 and f/3.5. Jupiter is visible just to the right of the Moon, and the bright star Spica just below that. The International Space Station appears to fly right through the Moon’s “halo”, an optical phenomena that occurs when hexagonal ice crystals refract moonlight in a certain way. If you look closely, you can see a smaller halo within the larger one, but unfortunately both are slightly challenging to see.