New Mexico Skies visit - April 2010

In April 2010 we went on holiday to New Mexico, US.

As part of the holiday I stayed at an establishment called New Mexico Skies (just click to go to the website, make sure that you have a good browse around) for two nights.

The visit was part of my policy of visiting a place of astronomical interest whenever I go to the US. This holiday I also managed the VLA and several observatories around the area of New Mexico Skies, including the National Solar Observatory at a place called Sunspot and also Apache Point Observatory where they did the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

Anyway, I digress.

I hired the 16" Meade in dome 2 for the two nights, with the intention of imaging the individual galaxies in the Leo Triplet, NGC3628, M65 and M66

The Leo Triplet

Above is an image I took of the area that I took with the DSLR before I went, NGC 3628 to the top, M66 at bottom left and M65 bottom right.

Unfortunately despite the 300 clear nights per year I managed only half a night on the first day. The second night was a complete washout. But the results that I got were none the less very good.

In the end on the first night I decided to start off with something big and blousy to break myself in on the equipment, so I chose M51, The Whirlpool Galaxy in the constellation of Canes Venatici. Then once that had been captured I moved on to M66 and M65, then onto NGC 3628 and this is where I had to stop (even before I'd managed a single frame of it)

It was a great experience, and I'd like to thank Lynn and Mike Riceand Bowser and Randy, the guy who showed me how to use the scope, the camera and the software so that I could get the shots I wanted.

Have a look at these pages to see the results, M51, M65 and M66.

I'm going back in May this year (2011), hopefully I'll get NGC3528 and a bunch of other summer sky galaxies. I'll add to this page when I get back.