Photo Galleries

Family Skywatch 2024

This gallery has photos from our public events, primarily at our observatory, through the year.

Photos by Jamey Jenkins

DSC_4309b 1 minute exposure, f 3.5, ISO 3200 small
Our dome scope Ruby and Orion
8 Meade SCT prime focus 2000 mm fl by Jim Wehmer
8 Meade SCT by Jeff Bryant
8 Meade SCT by Jeff Bryant

The following 11 images were taken by CUAS member Paul M. Ricker Professor of Astronomy University of Illinois. To see full resolution images, click on the image. To see the exposure details, processing done, and equipment used, select "Technical Card" in the upper right corner of the high resolution image. To remove the grid, turn off the plate solution overlay.

M20, the Trifid Nebula. I love the Trifid for the obvious colors, but also the nice dust lanes and globules and what looks like a V-shaped bow shock feature in the emission part of the nebula.
M33, the Triangulum Galaxy, third largest member of the Local Group after the Milky Way and Andromeda. Hosts the huge HII region NGC 604
The Rosette Nebula, NGC 2237 (and assorted other NGC numbers). An HII region in the Monoceros molecular cloud whose center has been evacuated by the open cluster NGC 2244.
M42 - Orion Nebula
M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. This is the nearest large (Milky Way-size) galaxy to our own. It's on a collision course for us and will get here in about a billion years. During the ensuing collision virtually no stars will actually hit each other, but some stars will be ejected and the rest will settle into a new, merged, galaxy. Clouds of gas in the two galaxies will collide and produce a burst of new star formation. Eventually the central supermassive black holes of the two galaxies will merge, possibly becoming briefly active due to accreting material and producing relativistic jets. The entire process will take several hundred million years. M31 is already warped, I think (?) due to interaction with its satellite galaxies M110 (below center) and M32 (above left).
The Cocoon Nebula, IC 5146 in Cygnus. A bit like the Trifid, this is a combination reflection/emission nebula with lots of dust but also hydrogen gas being ionized by young stars. It's embedded in a long dark nebula called Barnard 168 that extends well past this frame.
IC 5067, the Pelican Nebula, near Deneb and the North America Nebula in Cygnus. I
The most famous piece of the Elephant's Trunk Nebula.
The center of the Virgo Cluster. In the lower left is M87, the massive brightest cluster galaxy (BCG) of the cluster. This galaxy is 2-10 times more massive than the Milky Way depending on where you put the cutoff between it and the surrounding cluster. At its center is the 6.5 billion solar mass black hole imaged last year by the Event Horizon Telescope. (Much better resolution than a 60mm telescope!) There are galaxies all over the image. In the upper right is most of Markarian's chain, including the two large ellipticals M84 and M86 and the two interacting galaxies known as Markarian's Eyes. Nearby there are a couple of edge-on spiral galaxies, NGC 4388 and NGC 4402, as well as numerous smaller galaxies.
The Deer Lick Group contains galaxies NGC 7331 (the large foreground galaxy) and NGC 7335, 7336, 7337, and 7340 (the "fleas"). Despite their positions on the sky, these galaxies do not appear to be members of a gravitationally bound structure, since they lie at distances between ~ 12 and ~ 112 Mpc.
NGC 7635, the Bubble Nebula. A bubble 10-15 pc across blown by the wind of the star SAO 20575. The surrounding nebulosity is a molecular cloud (presumably the one SAO 20575 formed from) that is being dissociated and ionized by the star's UV light.
- The little blue guide camera in the first two photos is a generic ToupCam. I've since replaced it with a QHY 5-III 178, which is much more sensitive. I now use the ToupCam to help me with collimation using the target shown in this photo.

This is some of the equipment Paul used to take these pictures.

Astro-Tech AT8RC reflector on an iOptron iEQ45Pro mount. This is the mount I use most often. The blue scope on top is a Meade Adventure Scope I now mostly use as a finder (I discovered that off-axis guiding worked much better with this telescope). I've since replaced the focuser on this telescope with a Moonlite focuser.
Apertura 60ED refractor on an Explore Scientific iEXOS-100 mount
Astro-Tech AT6IN reflector on a Celestron Advanced Series GT mount. This is the telescope and mount I bought around 2010 when I decided I wanted to really get into astrophotography (up until that point I had done a few planet/Moon afocal snaps through my 10" Dob). This photo also shows the Nikon D5500 I used before getting the ZWO ASI183 camera and filter wheel shown in the other photos. I haven't used this scope and mount as much since I bought the AT8RC and the iOptron.
The new mini-PC and cable routing system I showed you last night. This shows the Moonlite focuser and the new guide camera along with the battery I am using these days (a Bluetti AC50S).
M31 using 400mm fl 60mm objective lens 60 and 30 sec stacked and Photoshopped 11/06/2020 by Jim Wehmer

This is the Equipment that Scott Glick used to take the following images. It is a remote control telescope and camera.

Above is his The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way, being south of Orion's Belt in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. Using a Canon EOS Rebel T2I using a Orion 10 inch Astrograph reflector with a Atlas Pro mount. all single exposures 30 to 61 sec ISO 800 to 1600. Some Photoshope

The Great Andromeda Galaxy Messier 31 is the furthest object visible to the naked eye at 2.5 million light years = 14,696,563,000,000,000,000 miles 18 Sep 2020. Using a Canon EOS Rebel T2I mounted on top of an Orion 10 inch Astrograph reflector with a Atlas Pro mount Canon 250mm lens f/5.6 ISO 1600 Focal Length 250mm This was Twenty 40 Sec Exposures Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker Some photo shop adjustments

The Flame Nebula is an emission nebula in the constellation Orion. It is about 900 to 1,500 light-years away. The bright star is Alnitak the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion, 3 Mar 2018. Using a Canon EOS Rebel T2I using a Orion 10 inch Astrograph reflector with a Atlas Pro mount One single 61 Sec exposure at ISO 1600 Some photo shop adjustments

Dumbel Nebula taken from our back yard, 24 Jul 2020. Using a Canon EOS Rebel T2I using a Orion 10 inch Astrograph reflector with a Atlas Pro mount One single 60 Sec exposure at ISO 3200 Some photo shop adjustments

High Resolution Solar Spectrum using a 2 Meter focal length research grade spectrometer with fiber optic feed into Jim's basement.

Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017 southern Illinois by Jim Wehmer
Milkyway in and above Sagittarius with 13 Messier objects by Jim Wehmer
Halley's Comet 1986 photo by Jim Wehmer 3" f11 Edmunds reflector
Messier 13 using 8" SCT 30 seconds prime focus by Jim Wehmer

The Moon on GLASS Plates taken by Jim Wehmer in 1975 for a U of I Astronomy class. Built in 1896, the 12 inch Brashear refractor telescope was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989

Messier 15 is 4.5 hour exposure taken with the U of I 40" at Prairie Observatory 10/16/1974 on 5" X 8" 103a glass plate.
Scope photo of same scope after moved to Mt. Laguna CA. by Jim Wehmer.

Our Prairie Skies Observatory south of Champaign has dark skies to view the Milkyway.
After using a telescope, Dave likes to just use his eyes to take in the majesty of the sky.

The Straight Wall in the southeastern part of the Mare Nubium is a linear, surface fault having a length of 68 miles, a typical width of 1.5 miles, and a height of 787 ft to 984 ft.
Both these Moon images were taken at prime focus of the CUAS 16 inch schmidt telescope "Ruby"
The Apennine Mountain Range with Hadley Rille and the Apollo 15 landing site
Venus Solar Transit 2004 using prime focus of 8" Meade SCT by Jim Wehmer



Comet C2020 F3 (NEOWISE) Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society Prairie Winds Observatory, July 11, 2020 by Jeff Bryant

Aldebaran Occultation Sequence March 4, 2017 by Jeff Bryant
Milky Way, Sagittarius, Mars, and Saturn September 14, 2018 by Jeff Bryant