At the Usask Physics rooftop observatory, astronomy students have access to equipment used for astrophotography. This equipment includes a Celestron 11″ Rowe-Ackerman Schmidt Astrograph telescope and ZWO ASI 294 MC Pro camera. The following images were taken by astronomy students Brennan Rodgers and Rina Rast, along with astronomy professor and observatory director, Dr. Daryl Janzen. The images were processed using MaxIm DL and Photoshop.
In Astronomy 213, which will run in the fall of 2020, students learn how to use this equipment to image deep sky objects of their choice, along with learning about exoplanet transits and other forms of astronomical photometry.
This is M42, the Orion Nebula, a cloud of dust and gas 2,000 times more massive than our Sun and spread over a diameter of 24 light-years, where many stars are being formed. This is a stack of of 22 x 60 s exposures, taken by Rina Rast and Brennan Rodgers on the night of February 24th, 2020.
This is also an image of M42, taken by Daryl Janzen in December 2018. This is a stack of 24 x 200 s exposures. The longer exposure time reveals beautiful structure in the surrounding nebula. Sh2-279, the Running Man Nebula, is also visible to the left of the image.
This is M31, the Andromeda Galaxy: the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way, at 2.5 million light-years away. It formed about 10 billion years ago when smaller protogalaxies merged. This image is a stack of 26 x 60 s exposures, taken by Rina Rast and Brennan Rodgers on the night of January 15, 2020.
M45, the Pleiades, an open star cluster in the constellation Taurus. It contains hot, blue, luminous stars that formed in the last 100 million years, surrounded by a reflection nebula. This image is a composite created from a stack of 143 x 30 s exposures, collected on the night of December 26, 2019 by Brennan Rodgers and Rina Rast.
Discovered in 1888 by Williamina Fleming, the Horsehead Nebula is small dark nebula in the constellation Orion. It is about 1400 light-years from Earth, and it is a region where star formation is taking place. This image was created from 9 x 300 s exposures, taken by Daryl Janzen on December 15, 2018.
The Rosette Nebula is an HII region in the Monoceros region of the Milky Way. It lies about 5,000 light years from Earth, and contains numerous new-born stars. This is a stack of 15 x 300 s exposures, taken by Daryl Janzen in December 2018.
M81 (top left) and M82 (bottom right) are 12 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation Ursa Major. M81, also known as Bode’s Galaxy has a black hole the size of 70 million Suns at its core. M82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy, is considered a starburst galaxy due to high rates of star formation. This is a stack of 35 x 60 s exposures, taken by Rina Rast and Brennan Rodgers on February 20, 2020.
M27, the Dumbbell Nebula, is a planetary nebulae about 1227 light-years from Earth in the constellation Vulpecula. It is a glowing shell of ionized gas ejected from the central star when it was a red giant; this star has since become a white dwarf. This is a stack of 8 x 120 s exposures, taken by Brennan Rodgers on the night of August 3, 2019.
The Eastern Veil is a supernova remnant from the death of a star 20 times more massive than the Sun. It’s a section of the much larger Veil Nebula, which has three times the diameter of the full Moon, although it is too dim for our eyes to see. This is a stack of 32 x 120 s exposures, taken by Brennan Rodgers on August 17, 2019.
M33, the Triangulum Galaxy. It is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Triangulum, located about 2.73 million light-years from Earth. It is about 60% the size of the Milky Way and contains about 40 billion stars. NGC 604, an active star formation region discovered by William Herschel in the late 1700s, is labelled. These images are stacks of 90 x 60 s exposures, taken on the night of December 28, 2019 by Brennan Rodgers and Rina Rast.