The Vela Supernova Remnant

A couple of months ago I posted just the H-alpha channel of this image from the remote observatory in Australia.  The addition of O-III and S-II data makes a dramatic difference – well worth the wait! This is actually just a small portion of the Vela SNR, one of the largest and brightest SNRs in our night sky, just 1.5 degrees wide out of the full width of 8 degrees.  The supernova that produced this magnificent nebula happened about 11,000 to 12,000 years ago and was just 800 light-years from Earth in the constellation Vela. The total exposure time for […]


M78 From the Other Side

As mentioned earlier, I have been waiting (not so patiently) for better weather in Australia to finish collecting image data from M78, a bright reflection nebula in Orion.  It has finally happened, although there were issues with the quality of some frames.  I haven’t yet been able to figure out what caused the problem, but did find a reasonable work-around for it. This was captured from the other side of Earth, but also makes me curious about what M78 would look like from its other side.  In the upper right it appears that there is more bright blue light behind […]


Canyon & Dipper, Part 2

In an earlier post I shared a picture taken at the top of a canyon wall, showing the canyon below and the the Big Dipper above (through some interesting clouds).  When I went down into the canyon (not actually the same one) I thought I’d try the same thing from this different perspective.  It would have been great to shoot this looking up the canyon wall, just as the previous shot was looking down such a wall, but since the Big Dipper was pretty low in the northern sky, that was not going to work.  Indeed, I had to walk […]


New Focus

I have some big news for you – and a big opportunity!  From the beginning, the business side of Wa-chur-ed Observatory has been split into 2 distinct parts; selling my astrophotos, and selling tools for astronomy (especially the PerfectStar family of focus controllers and motors).  As the business grew it became increasingly clear that the “tools” side was more profitable and less of a headache.  And now that I have a significant commitment in business-to-business sales, I find that continuing the “art” side is a distraction that detracts from the more important part of the business.  And so, although it […]


Cometary Globule (or Tanuki)

CG 4 is one of a small number of objects classified as “Cometary Globules” because they have a round(ish) head and a tail – like a comet.  We don’t have a good understanding of how these objects formed, but it cannot be a coincidence that most (or possibly all) of them are in the vicinity of the Vela supernova remnant, and their tails point back toward it.  CG 4 is in the constellation Puppis, and is about 1,300 light-years from Earth.  It is sometimes called “The Hand of God”. My daughter says it looks like a tanuki – Japanese for […]


M78 and a piece of Barnard

Messier 78 is another target that I’ve wanted to shoot for years, but is only visible in the Winter.  I’m currently collecting data on this target (very slowly) from the remote observatory in Australia, and I hadn’t planned to shoot it during this trip to California because it’s a rather small object for the wide-field telescope I brought here.  But I decided to try it anyway, hoping there would be some interesting stuff in the background.  Well, there sure is!  The red band on the left and upper left corner is a small portion of Barnard’s Loop, a huge semi-circle […]


The Canyon & The Dipper

I mentioned in an earlier post that there were some interesting scenes captured with a DSLR while waiting for much longer exposures on the telescope.  Here is an example; a shot of a deep canyon with the Big Dipper overhead.  At first glance, this looks like a fairly ordinary daytime photograph – that somehow has stars showing!  In fact, this was shot late at night, after the Moon had set.  Except for a small area on the right edge of the rim, there is nothing but starlight (and a bit of light from distant cities) illuminating the scene.  That bright […]


Witch Head, Take 3

Having given up on trying to process out the mis-matches between the upper and lower panels of the Witch Head Nebula (as captured in Australia), I tried 2 different ways to capture it here in southern California.  The first of these attempts was using the William Optics Star71 telescope, which produced a reasonably good image, except that this ‘scope has a defect that causes severe aberrations when there is a bright star just outside the field of view (this is the 1st version of the Star71 – I believe they corrected this problem in the current version).  Rigel, a very […]


Vela Supernova Remnant

When a star ends its life in a supernova, huge amounts of material are ejected in all directions.  This material continues to travel outward for thousands of years, gradually producing a structure that expands and becomes more diffuse.  The Vela Nebula is one example of such a supernova remnant (SNR).  This image is just a small portion of the Vela Nebula.  If the star on the left side of this image were moved close to the center, the image would closely resemble another SNR portion, the Western Veil Nebula, also know as the Witch’s Broom: But Vela is in a […]


More Paint Daubs in the LMC

The weather in Australia has been awful lately, so there are no new images from there that I can share with you, but this is one that was captured some time ago and I didn’t get around to processing it until now. NGC1955 is an open star cluster and emission nebula in the constellation Dorado.  I have posted several images from this region, which is part of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), and I have commented on how they look a bit like daubs of paint on a black background.  But this one has a bit more detail and structure […]