vdB 137 / IC 5076

This galactic nebula  is listed both in the catalogue of van den Bergh (vdB) as number 137 and in the IC catalogue as object 5076. The blue color indicates this is reflected starlight rather than luminescence of the interstellar matter itself (which would be red). To the East (right hand) we see „bays“ of interstellar dust projected against the bright nebula. VdB 137 is located closely north of the North America Nebula NGC 7000 but is only rarely imaged.

NGC 4559


Coma Berenices is home to numerous impressive galaxies. Nonetheless, given the vicinity to some of the most prominent supergalaxies like M87, M100 and friends, NGC 4559 might not get the attention it deserves.

NGC 6210


NGC 6210 is a tiny Planetary in Hercules called the „Turtle“ for obvious reasons. A visual diameter of as little as 30 arc seconds challenges the avid photographer. Only under the best seeing detailed pictures of this blue gem may reveal the impressive complex interior structure of the nebula. Two jets expand to opposite sides. The blue color is caused by the dominant spectral lines of simple and double ionized oxygen.

NGC 281 – Pacman Nebula


NGC 281 – also known as the Pacman Nebula – is the most famous star forming area located in Cassiopeia. Embedded in dust and faintly illuminated hydrogen clouds, the bright parts of the cloud consist of ionized hydrogen, gleaming as stimulated by the ultra-hot blueish stars forming the core region of the Pac Man Nebula. To the left, some blue reflection nebulae can be spotted as well. Extremely deep images reveal that the Pac Man is only the core part of a hydrogen cloud easily extending beyond the boundaries of this picture.

M 45 – Pleiades


The Pleiades or „seven sisters“ are certainly the most popular star cluster in the norther hemisphere. Easily spotted by naked eye even under light polluted skies, deep photographs reveal remnants of the interstellar matter from which the young hot stars formed no more than some 125 million years ago.

NGC 206


NGC 206 is a giant open star cluster located in our neighbour galaxie M 31, also known as the Great Andromeda Nebula. M 31, and hence NGC 206, are approximately 2.3 million lightyears from Earth.  It is amazing that today’s amateur technology allows us to resolve single stars within the spiral arms of M 31, while no more that some 100 years ago the biggest telescopes available were necessary to identify those brightest stars.

The image also contains plenty of tiny detail like a number of globular clusters of M 31 and several background galaxies. Make sure to see the annotated image.

NGC 6503


NGC 6503 in the constellation of Draco is a small spiral galaxy classified as Dwarf. Being in a distance of about 18 million lightyears from Earth,  is at the edge of an  empty patch of space called the Local Void. The main disk reveals plenty of detail. There are lots of HII-regions indicating zones of star creation. Also, a number of associations of blue young, hot stars can be spotted.

The picture is the revision of an older image taken 11 years ago with a Vixen VMC 260L. As time has passed, more detail could be revealed hence this image replaces the earlier. Make sure to also view the full resolution crop linked beneath the main picture.

M 108


Not much needs to be said about M 108, a great spiral galaxy in Ursa Major, apparently situated right next to the famous Owl Nebula (M 97), a Planetary of our own Milky Way. Both contrast nicely given that they are separated by some millions of lightyears. M 108 itself reveals several dustlanes indicating that we are looking at this galaxy from the edge (although it is not a perfect edge-on like NGC 891 for instance). This is the official first light image for the new Celestron 11 Edge HD telescope taken under very good seeing conditions. Make sure to look at the full resolution image.

NGC 3184


NGC 3184 is an often overlooked target in the spring skies despite its almost perfect face-on shape. Situated at the „leg“ of Ursa Maior, it can be well observed from the winter months until late spring. Being about 50,000 lightyears in diameter, NGC 3184 is about half as extended as our Milky Way. Indication of the distance from Earth varies between 25 to 40 million lightyears.

vdB 1 + GN 00.08.88


The objects in the catalogue of van den Bergh (vdB) are mostly weak reflection nebula. This is the very first of its brothers, by no means stronger then them. A pale blue glow surrounding a group a bright stars which cast their light on interstellar matter. A close companion, but very different in nature, is the faint galactic nebula GN 00.08.88 to the north-east of vdB 1 . Not much is known about this tiny  nebula but it nicely contrasts with the reflection nebula.