Astrophotography

The Needle Galaxy

The Needle Galaxy

Carl Crum '24 3/4/2021 - Needle Galaxy It’s that time of year again: Galaxy Season! From March to May, astrophotographers in northern latitudes set up their largest telescopes each night in search of the furthest and faintest deep-space wonders known to man. Captured last season, this photo is of the Needle Galaxy (NGC 4565), an edge-on galaxy located approximately 40 million light years away in the constellation of Coma Berenices. The central nucleus is somewhat bloated as a result of gravitational interactions with another galaxy. Although the Needle appears skinny and small, don’t let that deceive you: in reality, it…
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Messier 3 Globular Cluster

Messier 3 Globular Cluster

Carl Crum '24 The Messier 3 globular cluster was the first deep-sky object actually discovered by Charles Messier, the famous 18th century French astronomer. Visible through binoculars in a dark-sky location, M3 is located approximately 33,900 light years away from Earth, spans over 220 light years across, contains about 500,000 stars, and is roughly 8 billion years old. For perspective, our solar system is only 0.03 light years in diameter, contains one star, and is 4.6 billion years old. M3 is well known for its 274 variable stars (stars that sporadically dim and brighten over time), which is more than…
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Heart Nebula – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Heart Nebula – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Carl Crum '24 Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this is my take on the Heart Nebula! Also known as IC 1805, this massive emission nebula owes its ruby-red hue to ionized hydrogen gas which is being illuminated by the Melotte 15 open cluster of stars. Near the center of the Heart are pillars of dust which are being sculpted by the open cluster’s blue supergiant stars. Love is truly in the air… or rather, in the sky!
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Cocoon Nebula

Cocoon Nebula

Carl Crum '24 The Cocoon Nebula is an emission and reflection nebula, meaning it is composed of ionized gas which not only emits its own light, but reflects the light of the stars within it as well. Located in the constellation of Cygnus at about 4,000 light years away, this nebula is a “stellar nursery” where a new open cluster of stars is being born over the course of many thousands of years. At the center of the Cocoon is a massive star which is producing enough radiation to sculpt the nebula’s dust and gas lanes. Additionally, the Cocoon is…
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Comet Neowise

Comet Neowise

Carl Crum '24 Bright comets are fairly rare solar system objects which used to be interpreted as omens in ancient times. Comet Neowise appeared last summer and was most visible in the early morning and right after sunset. A comet consists of three main parts: a nucleus, a coma, and a tail. The bright point at the front of the comet is the nucleus, which is surrounded by the coma. When Neowise was first spotted, its coma and tail had a yellow-white tint. However, as the weeks progressed, the color of the comet changed to a vibrant green as the…
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The Horsehead Nebula

The Horsehead Nebula

Carl Crum '24 The famous Horsehead Nebula – or Barnard 33 – was officially discovered by Williamina Fleming in 1888 and catalogued by E. E. Barnard in 1894. The Horsehead, which is at the center of the photo, is a dark molecular cloud which sits in front of the bright emission nebula IC 434 and lies directly next to Alnitak, the lowest star in Orion’s Belt. The fiery-looking nebula below Altinak is the Flame Nebula, which is illuminated by an open cluster of stars that’s forming inside of it. Although the Horsehead region seems quite large, it is only a…
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Great Conjunction Between Jupiter and Saturn

Great Conjunction Between Jupiter and Saturn

We've got a new column coming to the Quad with the start of the semester: Carl Crum's astrophotography! Here is his first photo, and we look forward to seeing the many more that he will share with the community! Carl's description: This is my take on the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which I shot with an ASI385MC planetary camera and Celestron C9.25 telescope. On December 21, 2020, the two gas giants Jupiter and Saturn passed within a tenth of a degree from each other, which hadn't happened since 1623 (back when Galileo was still alive). However, in 1623, the conjunction occurred during…
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