Charles Carrano - Astrophotography Page


This is a gallery of photographs taken from my driveway under the heavily light-polluted skies of  Newton, MA. They are the first images taken with my small refractor telescope (details below).  All images were collected with sidereal tracking but without the use of a guide scope. The thermoelectric cooling feature of the CCD was not used unless stated otherwise.

Telescope: Orion 80ED Refractor (f/7.5, focal length 600mm)
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
CCD Imager: Orion StarShoot II DeepSpace CCD Camera



M42 - Orion's Nebula in the constellation of Orion [info].
This image was produced by stacking 71 exposures lasting 10 seconds each using the drizzle image reconstruction technique. Thermoelectric cooling was employed. The smaller region of nebulosity to the top is M43.




NGC891 - Edge on spiral galaxy in the constellation of Andromeda [info].

This image was produced by stacking 24 exposures lasting 120 seconds each. Thermoelectric cooling and an Orion SkyGlow Imaging Filter were employed.



Horsehead, IC 434, NGC 2023, and Flame Nebulas in the constellation of Orion.
This image was produced by stacking 52 exposures lasting 60 seconds each. Thermoelectric cooling was employed. The horsehead nebula is the dark dust cloud obscuring the emission nebula IC434 in the background. NGC2023 is the white hazy patch just below the center of the image, and the flame nebula is to the right.



M45 - Pleiades open cluster spiral galaxy in the constellation of Taurus [info].
This image was produced by stacking 95 exposures lasting 60 seconds each. Thermoelectric cooling was employed. Normally a refractor telescope does not produce diffraction spikes around the brighter stars. To produce the diffraction spikes in this image (for aesthetic appeal), I constructed a set of spider vanes made from wooden coffee stirrers and a nickel.



M31 - spiral galaxy in the constellation of Andromeda [info].
This image was produced by stacking 103 exposures lasting 20 seconds each and 35 exposures of 40 seconds each. The smaller galaxy to the upper left is M32. Thermoelectric cooling was employed.



M27 (Dumbbell Nebula) - planetary nebula in the constellation of Valpecula [info].
This image was produced by stacking 46 exposures lasting 40 seconds each. Thermoelectric cooling was employed. The image on the right is an enlargement produced using the drizzle image reconstruction technique. The central white dwarf star is clearly visible in both photographs.



M13 - globular cluster in the constellation of Hercules [info].
This image was produced by stacking 22 exposures lasting 40 seconds each. Thermoelectric cooling was employed.



M1 (Crab Nebula) - planetary nebula in the constellation of Taurus [info].
This image was produced by stacking 44 exposures lasting 40 seconds each. This image would have benefited from more exposure time, but unfotunately the subject descended behind some neighborhood trees.



M57
(Ring Nebula) - planetary nebula in the constellation of Lyra [info].
This image was produced by stacking 50 exposures lasting 40 seconds each. Thermoelectric cooling was employed. The image on the right is an enlargement produced using the drizzle image reconstruction technique. The central white dwarf star is more easily visible in this enlargement.



M3 - globular cluster in the constellation of Canes Venatici [info].
This image was produced by stacking 3 exposures lasting 60 seconds each. Thermoelectric cooling was employed.



M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici [info].

This image was produced by stacking 68 exposures lasting 60 seconds each. The smaller galaxy to the lower right is NGC 5195. 



M109 - a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major [info].
This image was produced by stacking 50 exposures lasting 60 seconds each. Also faintly visible are a number of other galaxies including the irregular galaxy PGC 37700 (center left), the spiral galaxy PCG 37621 (lower center), and the irregular galaxy PGC 37553 (lower right). 


Below is a negative of the image above showing several galaxies identified using the interactive sky map at wikiski.org.




M63 - Sunflower Galaxy in the constellation of Canes Venatici [info].
This image was produced by stacking 44 exposures lasting 120 seconds each. Thermoelectric cooling was employed.



M101 - Pinwheel galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major [info].
This image was produced by stacking 24 exposures lasting 200 seconds each.



Comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin) on 24 February 2009 (closest approach to Earth) [info].
This image was produced by stacking
5 exposures lasting 40 seconds each. These exposures were stacked two different ways. The first stack (top left) was produced by aligning the individual exposures using the stars and then averaging them together. Since the comet was moving rapidly relative to the stars, it appears in this stack as a streak (and this streak was subsequently removed digitally). The second stack (top right) was produced by aligning the individual exposures using the core of the comet and then calculating the median. Since the stars were moving rapidly in the reference frame of the comet, taking the median causes the stars to vanish. These two stacks were then added together to produce the final image (bottom), in which both the stars and the comet appear stationary.





M81 - Bode's Galaxy in Ursa Major [info].
This image was produced by stacking 10 exposures lasting 120 seconds each.



M37 - open cluster in the constellation of Auriga [info].
This image was produced by stacking 31exposures lasting 60 seconds each.



Daytime Moon.
This image of the moon was taken at 2:00 in the afternoon. A neutral density filter was used to reduce the light from the blue sky.


Link back to my curriculum vitae page at Boston College