New Mexico Skies visit - May 2011

On the New Mexico Skies visit - April 2010 page I said that I was going again in May 2011. This page highlights the results that I (and my wife) got from the visit.

As before I hired the 16" Meade in dome 2, this time for four nights, with the hope of getting more telescope time than last year. I put together this target list for the four nights.

NGC 3628, the member of the Leo Triplet that I missed out on last year.

M95, because it is an interesting barred spiral galaxy that I imaged in a wide angle shot before the holiday, see below, the image to the left, and M95 is the galaxy on the right, the other is M96, both of these galaxies are in the constellation of Leo.

M64, The Blackeye Galaxy, another interesting object, also one that I imaged in a wide angle shot before the holiday, see the image below.

M63, The Sunflower Galaxy

M104, The Sombrero Galaxy

M83, The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy

and I set aside a special project to image a galaxy cluster in hercules centred on NGC 6166, a portion of Abell 2199.

I was a lot more fortunate with the weather this time and managed three whole nights imaging from 21:30 until between 2:30 and 3:30 each night. It had started off fairly windy though so I was advised to stick to 5 minute subs (last year I did 15 minute exposures), so in order to get about 45 minutes exposure on each target I was doing 9 or 10 exposures of each subject.

Obviously as I'd missed out on it last year I started off with NGC3628, out of the nine exposures, three were lost to double stars and tadpoles due to high wind. The 5 minute exposure advice was good -I'd have been very annoyed if I'd lost three out of three 15 minute subs!

While I was imaging, my wife Judith was taking wide angle constellation, star trail and milky way shots through her Canon 7D camera mounted on a tripod, I've put some of her shots on this page, she did very well.

Have a look at these pages to see the results for my primary target list, NGC3628, M95, M64, M63, M104, M83 and NGC6166.

Having managed to get everything from the primary target list I also managed to get M16, M20, M57, M81, M82, M101, M106 and NGC4565.

The fourth night was unfortunately clouded out and there was a tremendous thunderstorm to the East otherwise i could have got about another five targets.

I don't think we'll be going back any more, we've pretty much done what we want to in New Mexico and hiring the telescopes is affordable but not cheap.