Do Whales Play Hockey?

From the first dark site star party of 2018 this past weekend, this is the Whale and Hockey Stick galaxies (NGC4631 and 4656, respectively).  It’s also my first LRGB image with the new FLT132 telescope, and I’m happy to report that the L frames were just as sharp as the RGB (which was not the case with the previous ‘scope, due to residual chromatic aberration).  It might not have been a good test of chromatic aberration because less-than-ideal seeing made all frames less than perfectly sharp.

I shot more than 7 hours of this target, but discarded about 2 hours worth.  The final image is 3 hours of L (luminence) and 2 of RGB (red/green/blue).

The “hockey stick” in the lower left is showing some fainter nebulosity below the bright part (the part that actually looks a bit like a hockey stick), and if you look carefully, there is some even fainter nebulosity above it.  The Whale Galaxy appears “edge on” from Earth, and has very active star-forming regions at its center, indicated by the faint red glow.  The Hockey Stick is described as “a highly warped, barred spiral galaxy”.

The image was captured at SkyView Acres, a private observing site in Goldendale, WA.  On arriving there Saturday afternoon, I found a child’s chair in the field, so set it up next to my telescope in case I had a small visitor:


Sadly, there were no young children at the star party.

On another topic, in earlier posts I told you about getting image data from a remote observatory in Australia.  That observatory is operated by well-known astrophotographer, Martin Pugh, who selected my “Statue of Liberty Nebula” image to add to his online gallery of customer images.  You can see it on his website:  (scroll down to the slide show of customer images and wait for it to appear)

About Greg Marshall

I am a retired electronics engineer and after a few months of enjoying my leisure I began to miss doing product development. My astronomy hobby always needed new solutions to unique problems, so I decided that whenever I came up with a good solution I would try to make it available to others.

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