LATEST IMAGES
FROM
LAND OF OZ OBSERVATORY
SUPERNOVA 2012J in Galaxy M-82: This image, taken on April 4, 2014, shows that the supernova has faded considerably since
it peaked at about 10.5 mag. in February.  I now estimate that it is about 13.5 magnitude. Spectroscopy reveals it to be a Type 1a
supernova, caused by the explosion of a white dwarf star. This image is a 1-hour exposure (12X300sec. subs) through the C-11 at
f/2, using HyperStar and the Starlight Express SXVR-H694C imager.
THE HEART OF THE VIRGO GALAXY CLUSTER: This image is centered just east of the two giant elliptical galaxies that anchor this group, M-84 and M-86.
This group of galaxies extends from the M-84/86 pair NE towards NGCs 4458 and 4461, and is often called "Markarian's Chain." Over 25 galaxies appear in
this image, which was captured on the evening of May 3rd, 2014. The brightest galaxies have been noted. A number of smaller, fainter galaxies also appear
on this image, some as faint as 19th magnitude. This is an integration of ten 5-minute exposures taken through the Celestron 11-inch telescope at f/2 using
HyperStar and the Starlight Express SXVR-H694C color imager. Captured and combined using Maxim DL 5 Pro. Post-processed using Photoshop CS,
levels, curves, color saturation, Gradient X-Terminator and Carboni's Astro-Tools PS plugin. Noise filtered using NoiseWare.
M-31 and Companions: Messier 31, commonly called "The Andromeda Galaxy", is our nearest neighboring galaxy. It lies approximately 2.5 million light
years from our Milky Way Galaxy. These two giant spiral galaxies are moving towards each other at a rate of 300 kilometers per second, meaning that they
will be merging with each other about 5 billion years from now! M-31 is visible to the naked eye from a dark location, and was first mentioned by the Persian
astronomer al-Sufi in the year 964 in his BOOK OF FIXED STARS, in which he referred to it as "a little cloud" above the constellation of the chained lady.
French astronomer Charles Messier included it in his 1764 catalog as number 31, thus its common name among astronomers today. M-31 is a massive
galaxy, slightly larger than our milky way and contains 1 Trillion stars. It is also host to 500 globular clusters and numerous bright associations of blue giant
stars such as the star cloud NGC-206, which appears in the lower left hand corner of this image.  It also has two companion galaxies, M-32, a dwarf elliptical
(left of M-31's nucleus) and NGC-205, sometimes called M-110, a large elongated elliptical galaxy (lower right). This image also shows the spiral arms and
complex dust lanes in M-31's envelope.
NOTE: This image was captured on the morning of August 24th, 2014, and is an integration of five 6-minute sub
exposures through the Celestron C-11 at f/2 using the HyperStar imaging system and the Starlight Express SXVR-H694C 1-shot color imager.  Images were
captured and combined usIng Maxim DL Pro v 5.2.  Post processing done in Photoshop CS, using levels, curves, color balance & saturation, and Gradient
XTerminator.
IC-5146: Commonly called the "Cocoon Nebula", is a combination Emission & Reflection nebula located in the northern part of the
constellation of Cygnus the Swan, near the bright open cluster M-39. IC-5146 lies at a distance of 3300 light years from Earth, and
visually is about 12 arc minutes across, which at this distance corresponds to an actual diameter of 15 light years. It consists of a cluster
of stars involved in a bright and dark nebula. The bright star in the center of the nebula is 9.5 magnitude. A portion of the dark nebula,
Barnard 168, can be seen trailing off the lower left hand corner of this image.
NOTE: This image acquired on the evening of 8/31/2014,
and is a 1-1/2 hour exposure (fifteen 6-minute subs) through the C-11 at f/2 using HyperStar and the SXVR-H694C color imager.
Captured and combined using Maxim DL Pro v 5.2. Post processed using Photoshop CS, levels, curves, color balance & saturation,
and Gradient XTerminator.
DEEP SKY DUO IN CEPHEUS:  NGC-6939 an open cluster (top left) and NGC-6946 a face-on Type Sc Spiral Galaxy (bottom right). This is a pleasing group when
viewed in moderate sized telescopes, and the image represents an astounding depth of field: The open cluster is in our Milky Way galaxy at a distance of about
5800 light years from Earth, whereas the galaxy NGC-6946 lies at a distance of
18 million light years!! Also, please notice, between the two bright stars just below the
cluster the small faint 15th mag. edge-on galaxy UGC-11583.  
Note:  This image captured on the evening of August 12th, 2015. It is a 1 hour 40 minute exposure
(ten 10-minute sub-exposures) through the C-11 @ f/2 using HyperStar and the Starlight Express SXVR-H694C color imaging camera. Guided and captured using
Maxim DL 5 Pro. Stacked and color converted in Maxim.  Post-processed using PhotoShop CS2, levels, curves, Gradient X-terminator and NoiseWare.
M-74 (NGC-628): M-74 is a large face-on "Grand Design"(i.e; having two well-defined spiral arms) galaxy in the constellation of Pisces, about 1.5
degrees ENE of Eta Piscium. It was discovered in 1780 by Pierre Mechain and added to Messiers catalog the same year. Visually, it is about 9 arc
minutes in diameter, which corresponds to an actual diameter of 95,000 light years at its estimated distance of 32 million light years from Earth.
NOTE: This image captured on November 8, 2015. It is an integration of twelve 10 minute exposures for a total exposure time of 2 hours through
the C-11 at f/2 using HyperStar and the SXVR-H694C CCD imager. Guided, captured and combined using Maxim DL Pro v. 5.2. Post processed
using Photoshop CS2.  This image clearly shows the many H-II star forming regions within the two spiral arms of the galaxy.
NGC-1365: A large, face-on barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Fornax, the furnace, close to its border with the constellation of
Eridanus. NGC-1365 lies approximately 56 million light years from Earth. Visually it is approximately 11 arc minutes by 6 arc minutes in size,
which at this distance corresponds to an actual diameter of over 200,000 light years, making it almost twice the size of our own Milky Way galaxy. It is
the largest and brightest barred spiral galaxy in the northern sky. Also shown in this image are three other galaxies. Directly to the east, (right) is the oval
spiral galaxy NGC-1386, which lies just across the border in Eridanus. Just south of it is the smaller spiral galaxy, NGC-1369. Finally, just above
NGC-1365 (north) is the small 16th magnitude galaxy PGC-13131.
NOTE: This image was captured on the evening of January 13th, 2016, and is a 1-hour exposure through the Celestron 11" SCT at f/2, using the
HyperStar imaging system and the SXVR-H694C CCD imager. This image was guided, captured, and combined using Maxim DL Pro, v 5.2.
Post-processed using PhotoShop CS2, levels, curves, filters, and Gradient XTerminator.
M-42 (NGC-1976), The Great Nebula in Orion:  This is a wide field image, 1.2 X 1 degree, showing the Orion Nebula, M-42 and the smaller nebula M-43,
just to its left (east), as well as the "Running Man" reflection nebula (upper left center). This image captured at Land of Oz Observatory on November 8, 2015
using the C-11 at f/2. Total exposure time 76 minutes. This image is a composite of sub-exposures of varying length, with shorter exposures to capture the
inner details of the area around the "Trapezium" of stars at the heart of the nebula, and progressively longer exposures to capture the faint outer extensions
of M-42/43, as well as the fainter reflection nebula.  A total of 160 sub-exposures were integrated to create the above image.
Guided, captured, combined and processed using Maxim DL 5 Pro. Post processed in PhotoShop CS2, levels, curves, color balance & saturation and
differential stretching, Gradient X-Terminator and Croman's StarShrink.
SUPERNOVA 2016-cok IN GALAXY M-66: Discovered May 28, 2016 by the All-Sky Automated Search for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) of Ohio
State University, located on Mt. Haleakela in Hawai'ii. This exploding star erupted in the spiral galaxy M-66 in Leo, which lies over 35 million light years
from earth.  The explosion was caused by the collapse of a massive star some 8 to 50 times larger than our sun. The collapse and subsequent shock
wave caused a titanic outburst known as a type II supernova. When first discovered, it shone at approximately 16.7 magnitude, but had brightened
somewhat by the time this image was captured on the evening of June 4, using my Celestron 11 at f/2 using the HyperStar imaging system with a
StarlightExpress SXVR-H694C one-shot color CCD imager. This is an integration of 7 300 sec. exposures. Guided, captured combined and processed
using Maxim DL 5 Pro. Post-processed using PhotoShop CS2, levels, curves, color balance & saturation, Gradient X-Terminator and StarShrink.
Spiral Galaxy M-101 and Companions:  This is a wide field (approximately 1 degree square) image showing the large, face-on spiral galaxy M-101
(NGC-5457) as well as two of its companion galaxies. To the south and east of M-101 (near the right center edge of the image) is the small 14th mag.
galaxy NGC-5477.  To the south and west of M-101 (at the lower left hand corner of the image) is the larger, distorted spiral galaxy NGC-5474. This
galaxy's nucleus is off-center, due to the gravitational attraction of the larger M-101.
NOTE: This image was captured on the evening of July 8th, 2016, and is an integration of forty-five 90-second exposures through the C-11 at f/2 using
HyperStar and the SXVR-H694C CCD imager. Guided, captured, combined and processed using Maxim DL 5 Pro. Post-processed in PhotoShop CS2
using levels, curves, color balance & saturation, Gradiant X-terminator and StarShrink. Noise filtered using NoiseWare. This image was captured with a
nearly 1st Quarter moon setting in the western sky.
The Fornax Galaxy Cluster: This is a group of over 15 galaxies located in the constellation of Fornax (The Furnace) near its
border with Eridanus. The cluster is anchored by a pair of massive elliptical galaxies, NGC-1399 and NGC-1404, and contains
both other ellipticals and spiral galaxies, such as NGC-1380, at the northern edge of the cluster. This group of galaxies lies at a
distance of about 62 million light years from Earth.
NOTE: This image is a 1 hour exposure through the Celestron 11" SCT at f/2, using HyperStar and the Starlight Xpress SXVR-
H694C color imager. Guided, captured and calibrated using Maxim DL5 Pro. Post-processed in PhotoShop CS2, using levels,
curves, color balance, Gradient X-Terminator and StarShrink.