Welcome to my Astrophotography Blog!

This is a journal of my adventures in astrophotography -- taking images of distant celestial objects. Please look around and feel free to add your comments, questions, and critique to any of the entries by clicking the "comments" button on the bottom of each entry -- or just say "howdy!

And don't forget to click on the images for a larger view!

So choose either the Red pill or the Blue pill and follow me down the wormhole....


Comanche Springs Star Party

Comanche Springs Star Party
Doin' my thang at the Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (where I often become a "red ghost")

Dallas Sky

Rancho Venado Sky

Atoka Sky

Camanche Springs Sky

Thursday, December 11, 2008

M78 (with a dash of Loop)

Well, I have been out of the country for a couple of weeks (Kim and I took a cruise through the panama canal -- neato). But before I left town, I managed to get up to Atoka for a couple of nights. At last I can process my images!

The first night in Atoka was perfect, and very cold. The next night started well, but clouded up as I tried to image the California Nebula. So I packed up early and headed back to town around midnight. It is a bummer to bail on a session, but the upside is a nice warm bed!

Anyway, the image before you is M78, a reflection nebula in Orion. I shot this with the FSQ 106 taking 11 x 20min exposures for a total exposure of about 3.6 hours.

As I was processing the image I noticed I had captured an arc of red nebulosity in the upper right corner. I was not sure what it could be. But as I worked on pulling out the details, I was struck by hunch. After researching a bit I discovered my hunch was correct -- the red arc is part of the famous Barnard's Loop!

Most images I see of M78 are close-ups. But since my field was wide, I picked up the Loop in my shot as well. I knew the Loop was in Orion, but I had no idea it was so close to M78. It was really fun to "stumble upon it", then figure out what it was -- like making a discovery (even though all seasoned astronomers would certainly know exactly what it was immediately).

This quote really captures the idea...

"When you make the finding yourself - even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light - you'll never forget it."-Carl Sagan.

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