My goal for this blog is to share and to show that great deep-space and planetary images can be photographed in one’s own backyard, even with bright city lights around. I live in a moderately high light polluted area. I have additional filters to delete some of the emitted artificial light and imaging hardware ordered and will be posting even better backyard pictures in the future. Until then, "Clear heavenly skies!"
You can contact me at patprokop49@gmail.com and also view updates on my Weather and Nature Facebook Page



Added Jan 22, 2018 ... M 82 & M 81
Messier 81 (M81), also known as Bode’s Galaxy, is a grand design spiral galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major. The galaxy lies at an approximate distance of 11.8 million light years from Earth.
Messier 82 (M82), also known as the Cigar Galaxy, is an edge-on starburst galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major. The galaxy lies at a distance of 11.4 to 12.4 million light years from Earth.
I took this photograph Sunday night, January 21, 2018 using my 11" f/10 Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope using an Orion CLS light pollution filter while using a 0.63 focal reducer (made for my smaller 6” scope) which has terrible distortion around the edges. This 1 hour 26 minute image is composed of 43 X 120-second exposures (sub-frames) stacked together in Deep Skystacker after enhancements in Adobe's Light Room then post processed in Photoshop CC. If you look closely at M81, you can barely see the spiral arms.
The best time of year to observe M81 and M82 is during the spring, so I need to wait a bit later to retry this dual, and after receiving a new f/7 reducer made for the Celestron 11" f/10 scope (which is still back-ordered).


Added Jan 21, 2018 ... M 82 (The Cigar Nebula)
Messier 82, also known as “The Cigar Nebula” is actually a galaxy about 5 times more luminous than our own Milky Way galaxy. This starburst galaxy is about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major which was high in the northern sky (at that time ... 11 pm) and is seen “edge-on” from our vantage point. I took this on the night of January 18, 2018 under a crystal clear cold sky (temp around 32°) using my 11" f/10 Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope using an Orion CLS light pollution filter. This 1 hour 4 minute image is composed of 32 X 120-second exposures stacked together in Deep Skystacker after enhancements in Adobe's Light Room then post processed in Photoshop CC.


Added Jan 18, 2018 ... The Running Man Nebula in Orion
The Running Man Nebula (Sh2-279) is a bright nebula located very near the famous "Orion Nebula" which lies in the sword of Orion the Hunter. The Nebula is the northern most portion of his sword. This reflection nebula gives the appearance of a 'Running Man' and is about 1,500 light-years from earth. I took this on the night of January 18, 2018 using my 11" f/10 Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope using an Orion CLS light pollution filter. This 1 hour 6 minute image is composed of 44 X 90second exposure stacked together in Deep Skystacker after enhancements in Adobe's Light Room then post processed in Photoshop CC.


Added Jan 15, 2018 ... The Bubble Nebula in Cassiopeia
The "bubble" is created by the stellar wind from a massive hot magnitude young central star. The nebula is near a giant molecular cloud which contains the expansion of the bubble nebula while itself being excited by the hot central star, causing it to glow. The nebula is about 8,000 light-years away located in the constellation of Cassiopeia ... The Lady in the Chair. This image was make by stacking 21 X 90-second exposures at an ISO setting of 3200 making it an equivalent of a 31.5 minute exposure. Telescope: Celestron 11" Edge HD f/10 using an Orion CLS light pollution filter (There was a LOT of errant light in the yards this night).


Added Jan 14, 2018 ... Heavenly Backyard Astronomy Video #1
This is my first edition of "Heavenly Backyard Astronomy". In this video, my target was the CRAB NEBULA in the constellation Taurus the Bull which is the remnant of an exploding star (supernova) that occurred in 1054. What we see today is the outgassing of that explosion. It is about 6,500 light years away at a visual magnitude of 8.4. This image was captured Jan 13, 2018, in my backyard using 86 X 60second exposures at an ISO of 3200 on a Canon T2i using an Orion CLS (City Light Suppression) filter attached to the prime focus of my Celestron 11” Edge HD f/10 telescope. Outside temperature was in the upper 30s.


Added Jan 14, 2018 ... The Crab Nebula
The Crab Nebula is in the constellation of Taurus the Bull and is the remnant of an exploding star (super nova) that occurred in 1054. What we see today is the out gassing of that explosion. It is about 6,500 light years away at a visual magnitude of 8.4. This image was captured Jan 13, 2018 in my backyard using 86 X 60second exposures at an ISO of 3200 on a Canon T2i using an Orion CLS (City Light Suppression) filter attached to the prime focus of my Celestron 11” Edge HD f/10 telescope. Outside temperatures was in the upper 30s.


Added Jan 7, 2018 ... Jupiter & Mars Side-By-Side
Jupiter and Mars next to each other (visually) in the Sky Sunday morning, Jan 7, 2018. I took this with the 11" telescope. To the eye, the two looked as to be touching each other but through the telescope, the two show some separation, but not much. This view is less than the width of a full moon as viewed through the scope. Jupiter will pull away from Mars over the next several weeks while at the same time, Mars will be growing brighter and brighter over the next several months displaying as a bright ruddy red object in the morning sky until June when it enters the nighttime sky. ... Click on image for full size


Added Jan 6, 2018 ... The Whirlpool Galaxy
My first attempt at capturing the Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as M 51. This spiral galaxy is about 31 million light-years away. In the sky, it is located near the end of the handle of the Big Dipper. This is by far not the best image so, expect better productions coming soon. This image was taken from 6:04 am to 6:26 am, Saturday, Jan 6, 2018. I had to stop then because twilight was beginning. It was composed of 22 60-second exposures at ISO 1600 and stacked in Deep Sky Tracker. I did not use my "City Light-Pollution Reducing" filter, and it shows. ... Click on image for full size ...


Added Dec 22, 2017 ... The Andromeda Galaxy
My best image yet of Andromeda (M 31) ... I recorded this on the night of Dec 22 ... and getting better using Photoshop CC and LightRoom in the 'Stacking' process. This image was made from stacking 35 X 30second photos at ISO of 1600 from my 11" f/10 telescope. This galaxy is about 2 million light-years away. In other words, this is what it looked like 2 million years ago. This is our closest galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy. The Andromeda galaxy is the furthest object you can see with the naked eye. In the winter, it is located high overhead at 7 pm.


Added Dec 22, 2017 ... The Orion Nebula
This is one of my favorite targets ... The Orion Nebula. Telescope used was the 11" Celestron Edge HD f/10 with a 0.63 reducer making the field of view equivalent to f/6.3. This is a 6 minute exposure made from 12 30 second exposure images. Click on the image to learn more as to how I captured and processed this beautiful image from my backyard in city lights.


My Set-Up
My 11 inch Celstron Schmidt-Cassegrain EdgeHD telescope and Computerized German Equitorial Mount (CGEM) Besides the telescope, numerous accessories are needed including a guide scope to help keep the scope directly on the object be photographed over time. Since the earth is rotating 15° per hour from west to east, the telescope must rotate along with it to track a celestial object. A camera attached to the prime focus is need to photograph the object. In this case, a Canon EOS T2i DSLR. Also included is a laptop computer to aid in tracking and photography.


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