I managed to use the BRT to snap a black and white deep sky picture of this group of galaxies. The Leo Cluster, otherwise designated as Abell 1367 is a part of the Coma Supercluster of galaxies and spans even more sky area than what I've captured here. The cluster is around 330 million light years away and one of the closest clusters to our own. The cluster contains over 70 galaxies, not all of which are visible in this image. The expanse of the view field even contains some quasars, one of which is known to be over 10 billion light years away and due to expansion, traveling away from us at nearly a quarter of a million kilometers per second. Pretty amazing huh?
In the image, you should be able to see two spiral galaxies easily, one in the upper left which is edge on to us and another toward the upper right. Most of the other galaxies in the field are eliptical galaxies which appear as large fuzzy circular objects in the image, they represent the majority of the galaxies in this image field.
Below is a 300 by 300 thumbnail, click on the image for the full size version.
The planet Venus, the Ring Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy (and companion galaxy M32) and the Hercules Globular Cluster were all worth the crisp autumn air. Much thanks to that air there was relatively good visibility for the Kansas City metro area. As such, it was time to break out the 6" refractor once again and give my T-Ring to Nikon camera adapter a whirl.
You can see the fruits of that labor here:
In summary, the evening went well even though it was quite chilly. After getting things up and going I started out by snagging a few, less than impressive, shots of Venus. Then as it darkened up a bit I set my eyes on getting some better shots of what I could easily find around the night sky. Especially for my first photography session ever using a DSLR. I started with M57 the Ring Nebula which was a great site when it popped into view after a simple 4 second exposure! Once I'd finished here I thought I'd try for something a little more elusive but still a sure thing if I could star hop to it. Sure enough I was able to get M31 the Andromeda Galaxy as well as one of its companion galaxies (M32) in the frame. I managed to capture several really good shots with most of them (before processing in some cases) showing the dust lines of the galaxy's spiral arms. I did not expect to see this detail. After these I headed for one last, easy to snag, object, M13 the Hercules Globular Cluster which my mount failed to properly find earlier in the night. Once I star hopped to it I was able to snag some really great shots of it before calling it a night and comping back here to process and post the results. Hopefully you guys can enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed taking them!