(updated images 8th Sept ’07)
Another Messier object discovered by Pierre Mechain, this is one of my favourites, to date. It is a rather dull object with a photographic magnitude of about 12. The body of the ‘butterfly’ appears significantly brighter within visual wavelengths and it is tricky to bring out the detail of the ‘wings’. The expanding gas in these ‘wing’ areas is less dense, hence the apparent difference.
Click on image for details & more…
Inaccuracies in tracking whilst taking deep sky images cause the star shape to appear oval, this can be counteracted by using a guiding system that monitors star position & makes corrections when necessary. All my images to date are unguided and as soon as funds allow I really want to set up a guiding system. Hopefully this will allow for longer exposures & tighter more detailed end images.