This website is about my passion for astro imaging or otherwise referred to as astrophotography, the Night Sky, the late Sir Patrick Moore was a huge inspiration to me as a child of 13 years through his books on astronomy and his TV series The Sky at Night.
I'm an Astronomy Photographer, Director of Grand Mesa Observatory and Teacher of Astro-Imaging. Here I present and share with you the passion I have of the night skies with deep space images I have photographed of Nebulae, Galaxies, Star Clusters and Comets.
I hope you enjoy your tour and if you have any questions please send me an email from "Contact Me". For those of you who are visiting here for the very first time. All of my images are captured from the Grand Mesa Observatory in Purdy Mesa Colorado, not from somewhere in Australia as the "Down Under Observatory" name suggests, once you read the About Me page perhaps it will become clearer to you why I chose this name.
My winning image in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards in the Stars and Nebulae category for 2021. Thanks to the Royal Museum and the judges for selecting this image and congratulations to all of the other winners.
If you missed the awards you can watch it on YouTube
#APY13 astro imaging
Explanation: The Great Nebula in Orion, also known as M42, is one of the most famous nebulae in the sky. The star forming region's glowing gas clouds and hot young stars are on the right in this sharp and colorful image that includes the bluish reflection nebulae NGC 1977 and friends on the left. Located at the edge of an otherwise invisible giant molecular cloud complex, these eye-catching nebulas represent only a small fraction of this galactic neighborhood's wealth of interstellar material. Within the well-studied stellar nursery, astronomers have also identified what appear to be numerous infant planetary systems. The gorgeous skyscape spans nearly two degrees or about 45 light-years at the Orion Nebula's estimated distance of 1,500 light-years. astro imaging
Explanation: Bright stars, interstellar clouds of dust and glowing nebulae fill this cosmic scene, a skyscape just north of Orion's belt. Close to the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, the wide field view spans just under 5 degrees or about 10 full moons on the sky. Striking bluish M78, a reflection nebula, is at the lower right. M78's tint is due to dust preferentially reflecting the blue light of hot, young stars. In colorful contrast, the red swath of glowing hydrogen gas streaming through the center is part of the region's faint but extensive emission nebula known as Barnard's Loop. At upper left, a dark dust cloud forms a prominent silhouette cataloged as LDN 1622. While M78 and the complex Barnard's Loop are some 1,500 light-years away, LDN 1622 is likely to be much closer, only about 500 light-years distant from our fair planet Earth. astro imaging
Explanation: Closest to the Sun on March 1, and closest to planet Earth on April 23, this Comet ATLAS (C/2020 R4) shows a faint greenish coma and short tail in this pretty, telescopic field of view. Captured at its position on May 5, the comet was within the boundaries of northern constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs), and near the line-of-sight to intriguing background galaxies popularly known as the Whale and the Hockey Stick. Cetacean in appearance but Milky Way sized, NGC 4631 is a spiral galaxy seen edge-on at the top right, some 25 million light-years away. NGC 4656/7 sports the bent-stick shape of interacting galaxies below and left of NGC 4631. In fact, the distortions and mingling trails of gas detected at other wavelengths suggest the cosmic Whale and Hockey Stick have had close encounters with each other in their distant past. Outbound and only about 7 light-minutes from Earth this Comet ATLAS should revisit the inner solar system in just under 1,000 years.
Explanation: This rich starscape spans nearly 7 degrees on the sky, toward the Sagittarius spiral arm and the center of our Milky Way galaxy. A telescopic mosaic, it features well-known bright nebulae and star clusters cataloged by 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier. Still popular stops for skygazers M16, the Eagle (far right), and M17, the Swan (near center) nebulae are the brightest star-forming emission regions. With wingspans of 100 light-years or so, they shine with the telltale reddish glow of hydrogen atoms from over 5,000 light-years away. Colorful open star cluster M25 near the upper left edge of the scene is closer, a mere 2,000 light-years distant and about 20 light-years across. M24, also known as the Sagittarius Star Cloud, crowds in just left of center along the bottom of the frame, fainter and more distant Milky Way stars seen through a narrow window in obscuring fields of interstellar dust.
Explanation: Sprawling across almost 200 light-years, emission nebula IC 1805 is a mix of glowing interstellar gas and dark dust clouds. Derived from its Valentine's-Day-approved shape, its nickname is the Heart Nebula. About 7,500 light-years away in the Perseus spiral arm of our galaxy, stars were born in IC 1805. In fact, near the cosmic heart's center are the massive hot stars of a newborn star cluster also known as Melotte 15, about 1.5 million years young. A little ironically, the Heart Nebula is located in the constellation of the mythical Queen of Aethiopia (Cassiopeia). This deep view of the region around the Heart Nebula spans about two degrees on the sky or about four times the diameter of the Full Moon.
The Elephant's Trunk nebula is a region of ionized gasses located in the constellation Cepheus at a distance of 2,400 light-years from Earth. Of interest in this area is the population of very young newborn stars, whose intense stellar winds are excavating the interior of the nebula. Dark wisps of dust hide the cocoon of forming stars, called "globules", which will be blown away when the star ignites.
Captured recently in Narrowband and Broadband using a QHY600 60 Megapixel Full Frame Monochrome CMOS camera mounted on a Takahashi 130 FSQ, courtesy of QHYCCD.
The Rosette Nebula captured recently in Narrowband using a QHY600 60 Megapixel Full Frame Monochrome CMOS camera mounted on the Takahashi 130 FSQ that we have the honor of testing for QHYCCD.
This setup is available immediately for people wanting to subscribe to Grand Mesa Observatory's system 1.
In this Hubble Palette version (SHO) the H-Alpha is mapped to green channel, SII is mapped to red channel and OIII is mapped to the blue channel.
I chose this name as the definition relates to regions beyond our earth/celestial and heavenly and it also happens to be the soundtrack that was used in the video I created (music by Stelladrone) see here on YouTube: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MKCZJYChmE" rel="noreferrer nofollow">www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MKCZJYChmE</a>
Resembling the shape of a medieval Sorcerer in the constellation Cepheus the open cluster NGC 7380 and the surrounding Nebula known as “The Wizard Nebula” otherwise known as Sh2-142 lies at a distance of approximately 8500 light years and spans 20 light years.
Captured recently using the new QHY600 60 Megapixel Full Frame Monochrome CMOS camera mounted on the Takahashi 130 FSQ
The Lion Nebula Captured December and January in Narrowband using the new QHY600 60 Megapixel Full Frame Monochrome CMOS camera mounted on the Takahashi 130 FSQ that we have the honor of testing for QHYCCD.