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Current Moon Phase
Courtesy U.S.N.O.

Welcome to Matt's Astronomy Website. A site dedicated to astrophotogrpahy and astronomy. All images are taken from the Bridgwater area (Somerset, UK) using the equipment as specified in the equipment section.

Astronomy Images Gallery

Astro - Photography Equipment Guide

Pleiades (M45) AKA "The Seven Sisters"

Pleiades (M45) AKA The Seven Sisters

Without doubt one of the most famous open clusters in the night sky, The Seven Sisters or Pleiades (Messier 45) located in Taurus. Easily visible with the naked eye as a bright cluster of stars for which the keen eye can count seven stars in the cluster. Of course through a telescope or photography many more stars can be seen in the cluster. This is amongst the closest star clusters to Earth at a distance of only 444 light years. Although an easy photography target, it is more difficult to bring out the detail of the fainter nebulosity behind the stars. This image is comprsed of six hours of exposure time in total

72x5 minute exposures, ED80 Telescope, January 2017
Flaming Star Nebula

IC405 - Flaming Star Nebula

The Flaming Star Nebula (IC405) is an emission/reflection nebula found in the constellation of Auriga. The nebula lies about 1,500 light-years away from Earth. This was a very difficult target to capture with an SLR camera as the nebula is so faint.

47x5 minute exposures, ED80 Telescope, December 2016
NGC891 Galaxy

NGC891 Galaxy

A beautiful edge-on spiral galaxy found in the constellation of Andromeda thought to be around 30 million light years distant.

34x5 minute exposures, 250px Telescope, November 2016
M33 - The Triangulum Galaxy

M33 - The Triangulum Galaxy

A target needing plenty of exposure yet one of the closest galaxies to our own behind the Andromeda galaxy. This is the Triangulum galaxy located in the constellation of the same name. This beautiful galaxy is very difficult to observe both optically and with the naked eye. This is due to how diffuse the light is coming from it. It's best observed with bincolulars as most telescopes will end up looking 'through it' rather than at the whole galaxy. Being so close to our own galaxy, m33 fills up an area of the sky larger than the full moon and is one of the very few galaxies visible to the naked eye although not as easy to observe as the Andromeda galaxy, you would need very dark skies and a moonless night to see it.

58x5 minute exposures, ED80 Telescope, October 2016
NGC7731 & "Stephans's Quintet

NGC7731 &
Click the image above for a larger image

More new targets for me, this time a very difficult "Stephan's Quintet" (Upper right) with nearby larger galaxy ngc7331 (lower left) in the constellation of Pegasus

29x5 minute exposures over two consecutive nights, 250px Telescope, August 2016
NGC3718 & NGC3729 Barred Spiral Galaxies

NGC3718 & NGC3729 Barred Spiral Galaxies
Click the image above for a larger image

Brand new targets for me over a couple of clear May nights. This pair of barred spiral galaxies are not just optically close together, they are interacting with each other causing the disruption in their shape. The larger of the two (ngc 3718) is showing this more clearly

55x5 minute exposures over two consecutive nights, 250px Telescope, May 2016
NGC6946 - The Fireworks Galaxy

The Fireworks Galaxy
Click the image above for a larger image

My first image for a very long time. The fireworks galaxy is a new target for me. 18 million light years distant in the constellations of Cephius and Cygnus

25x5 minute exposures, 250px Telescope, April 2016

Mercury Transit 2016

Transit of Mercury 2016

On Monday May 09, 2016 a transit of Mercury will occur. The planet Mercury will be seen crossing infront of the Sun's disc and will be witnessed by much of the planet (The America's, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia) the only exceptions of Eastern Asiam Indonisia and Australia. More details here...

A beautiful cloudless night and a fantastic eclipse. Well worth setting the alarm for! The eclipse for me seemed quite dark once it reached totality (compared to other total lunar eclipses I've seen

Supermoon Eclipse 2015

Total Lunar Eclipse 2015
Click to enlarge

Supermoon Eclipse 2015

Total Lunar Eclipse 2015
Click to enlarge

Supermoon Eclipse 2015

Total Lunar Eclipse 2015
Click to enlarge

Supermoon Eclipse 2015

Total Lunar Eclipse 2015
Click to enlarge
Various exposures, Canon 1000D connected to ED80 telescope, 28 September 2015

'The Great Wall' in Cygnus

The Great Wall in Cygnus
Click the image above for a larger image

A couple of clear nights mid August have allowed me to photograph this beautiful area of Cygnus sometimes called 'The Great Wall'. It's part of the North America Nebula (a full image of this nebula is featured on the Widefield Page of the gallery). The great wall is the part of this nebula that resembles the Mexico region. However, the orientation of this image is as if America has been turned on it's side

26x5 minute exposures over two nights, 250px Telescope, August 2015
'The Pillars of Creation' in the Eagle Nebula (M16)

'The Pillars of Creation' in the Eagle Nebula (M16)

The first time I've imaged the Eagle Nebula in Serpens. Only since moving house have I been able to image this part of the sky low on the Southern horizon. In the center of the image you can see the 'Pillars of Creation' made famous by hubble's incredible close up imagery of this region.

8x 5 minute exposures, 08 August 2015

Jupiter and Venus Conjunction

Jupiter & Venus Conjunction

Towards the end of June, the two brightest planets in the night sky are converged to create a spectacular conjunction. Jupiter shining at a bright magnitude of -1.39 and Venus at a dazzling -4.11, the two planets appeared closest on the night of Tuesday 30th June at less than a 3rd of a degree apart.

More Galaxies, it must be spring!

The Sombrero Galaxy (M104)

The Sombrero Galaxy (M104)

The galaxy that resembles a Sombrero hat located in the constellation Virgo. My first ever attempt at this galaxy, due to its low position on the Southern horizon preventing me from even attempting. Since moving house this has all changed!.

15x 5 minute exposures, 21 April 2015

M100 Spiral Galaxy

M100 Spiral Galaxy

A nice spiral galaxy in Coma Berenices. Several visual companion galaxies can bee seen in the image

  22x6 minute exposures, 12 April 2015

Cocoon Galaxy (NGC4490)

NGC4490 & NGC4485

A pair of severely warped interacting galaxies, NGC4490 & NGC4485 in Coma Berenices thought to be between 40-50 million light years distant. Together they are known as the Cocoon Galaxy

17x5 minute exposures, 14 April 2015

M106 Spiral Galaxy

M106 Spiral Galaxy

Another nice spiral galaxy in Coma Berenices thought to be between 22 and 25 million light years distant

  14x 5 minute exposures, 18 April 2015

Needle Galaxy (NGC4565)

Needle Galaxy (NGC4565)

I couldn't resist re-trying this galaxy since my last try in 2009. A wonderful photogenic side on view of a well known ngc galaxy in Coma Berenices

  23x 5 minute exposures, 20 April 2015

Jupiter, Io Eclipse

Jupiter & Io eclipse

I took this shot of Jupiter last night (06th April) before I set up to take a galaxy image. I noticed that Io was currently in eclipse. The moon just to the right of the planet is Io and the dark spot on the planet is Io's shadow on the surface of the giant planet. Directly above the shadow, Jupiter's Great Red Spot can be seen. The moon in the far bottom right corner is Europa.

310 frames of 1030 stacked in registax, 06 April 2015
The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)

The whirlpool Galaxy, M51

I promised myself I would revisit the whirlpool galaxy this spring. Here is my first attempt. Not bad considering it's not the amount of exposure time I would have liked to get

23x 5 minute exposures, 06 April 2015

Solar Eclipse 2015

Solar Eclipse with Sunspot
Click to enlarge

Taken from my back garden in Bridgwater through my 120mm refractor, the eclipse was beautiful and the clouds actually improved things in a strange way!

Solar Eclipse at maximum

Solar Eclipse 2015 at Maximum Eclipse
Click to enlarge

The eclipse at maximum color corrected for aesthetics. Weather conditions improved form here on in.

Solar Eclipse through the Iphone

Solar Eclipse through the iPhone

Despite the warnings, I did try a quick iPhone shot due to the cloud cover. It turned out pretty well!

The Cone Nebula

The Cone Nebula

Also known as the 'Christmass Tree Nebula' this was a first try at this very dark object. Its a very nice region to image, I think I just need to get more exposure time on it to bring out more brightness and detail. The shape at the bottom of the image is what sometimes gives its name as the 'Christmas Tree Nebula'.

24x 6 minute exposures, February 2015
Finally got my image of Comet Lovejoy Q2

Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2)

Truthfully this is my third attempt at imaging this comet, however this is the first that was decent enough to post on my website! After much weather frustration, I finally got a good window of opportunity to image this first bright comet of 2015. The image is a composite of the two separate images stacked from the original set of 33 exposures. One stacked on the stars, the other stacked on the comet's nucleus to prevent trailing stars due to the comet's movement (this also explains the very faint horizontal streaks you may see in the image

33x 2.5 minute exposures, January 2015
The Great Hercules Globular Cluster

m13 Hercules Cluster

I've lost count how many times I've gone back to image this object, this is probably my best effort to date. Thought to contain around 300,000 stars, it's a showpiece summer deep sky object which is a delight to both observe and image in a telescope.

19x 5 minute exposures, August 2014
A Summer Night's Imaging...

'Milky Way Lake'

Milkyway in to a Lake
Click to enlarge

Taken from Wimbleball Lake in Somerset, the milky way can be seen stretching from high down to the lake. Featuring the densely populated constellations of Sagittarius, Scutum and Aquila

Sagittarius & Scutum

Saggitarius & Sucutm
Click to enlarge

A close up shot featuring countless Stars, Nebulae and clusters. The two reddish objects near the center are the Trifid Nebula (above) and Lagoon Nebula (below). The white cloud at the top of the image is the Scutum Star Cloud, the other just below center is the Sagittarius Star Cloud.

Click Here to see a large resolution version!

Comet Jaques near the Double Cluster

Comet Jacques near the Double Cluster
Click to enlarge

On the same night I managed to quickly get an image in of Comet Jacques (bottom left) close to the double cluster (top right). When this image was taken it was located between the Heart and Soul nebula's which look like very faint large reddish area's in this image. The Comet is currently just outside naked eye visibility in the constellation of Perseus although quite easy to spot in binoculars if you know where to point

Cygnus in the Summer Triangle

Cygnus in the Summer Triangle

This time of year the beautiful constellation of Cygnus is high overhead featuring some of the brighter sections of the Milky Way for Northern hemisphere observers. In this image, the red glow of the Sadr Nebula (center) and North America Nebula (left of center) can be clearly seen. Many other objects are features such as the "Coathanger" asterism, various clusters and nebula

Click HERE for an annotated version of the image.
Supernova in M82!

Supernova in M82
Click the image to enlarge

A white dwarf star has gone supernova in M82, also known as the 'Cigar galaxy' or one of the Bodes galaxies that can be found in Ursa Major. The galaxy is approximately 12 million miles from Earth, meaning that this event occurred 12 million years ago and the light from it has only just reached us in 2014!

9x 4 minute exposures, February 2014
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