Photo Gallery

Astro Gallery



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The Astro Gallery

For the pictures shot on photographic film I've used my Pentax system camera, sometimes mounted on the telescope that used to be at the old observatory of Stockholm, a Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain 8" (nowadays there is a Meade LX-200 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain there instead). Some CCD images were taken from Stockholm Observatory, which used to be in Saltsjöbaden. The CCD is an Apogee AP7 mounted on a mirror telescope with an aperture of 1 metre. All times given are in Universal Time (UT), local time is UT+1 hour (winter) or UT+2 hours (summer).

Click on an icon to get the corresponding image of higher resolution, or a corresponding movie.

Saltis (36614) Saltis I've discovered and named an asteroid! I named it Saltis after the nickname of Saltsjöbaden where Stockholm observatory was located between 1931 and 2001. I've written a Saltis web page with all the details, though only in Swedish. The naming of the asteroid attracted some local media attention in Sweden, find the references on my publications page.

Jupiter Jupiter by NOT On 2002-02-27 at 22:30 we had clouds and bad seeing at the NOT, La Palma. The only thing visible through the clouds were the full moon and Jupiter. So instead of observing the real scientific targets (we could not) I pointed NOT to Jupiter and obtained these images in B- and U-band (blue and bluer filter). I tried to make multi-colour exposures, but the planet saturated the camera in V ("Visual", Green) and R (Red) even at the shortest exposure times available (0.1s). The moons Ganymedes and Io are also visible in these images. Note that the planet has rotated slightly between the exposures. I used 3 x 0.2 seconds exposure in B and 3 x 0.6 s in U. The brightness of the moons have been increased slightly in comparison to the planet. Obtained in company of Ilya Ilyin and Ingvar Svärdh.

Saturn Saturn by NOT On an observation trip to La Palma and the Nordical Optical Telescope (NOT) we ended up with really poor astronomical weather - clouds and 1.5" seeing (atmospheric turbulence). Our main programme needed high signal and good seeing (<1"). This was impossible under the given conditions. Even so, the planet Saturn was bright enough to be captured. This is a B-band (blue filter) image of Saturn with five of its about 30 known moons. I have enhanced the brightness of the satellites a bit to be visible in the same image as Saturn. Obtained 2002-02-25 at 23:25 at the NOT in company of René Liseau, Ilya Ilyin and Ingvar Svärdh. The image is a combination of ten images of exposure times (through the clouds!) 0.7 seconds.

Northern lights Northern lights over Stockholm As we approached the solar activity maximum, in the evening of the 6:th of April 2000 there was an absolutely awesome aurora visible from large parts of Europe. I was preparing to spend the night at the observatory to catch some faint galaxies when I noticed some very annoying faint greenish clouds close to zenith. Looking more carefully I saw that the faint clouds changed form very rapidly and realised that it was an aurora. I trashed my deep sky observing plans and set out to enjoy the northern lights instead, which grew more and more impressive for every minute. By 22:00 local time the whole sky was covered with light, flicking from red to green. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera, but when I came home at about 01:30 local time, the show was still on and I captured this image from my window in Nybohov, Stockholm, where I live.

Moon mosaic Moon mosaic This mosaic of the moon was assembled using 194 CCD images from the 47.5 cm Swedish Vacuum Solar Telescope (SVST, see image of Luc and the telescope) observed between the 6:th and the 7:th of August 2000. Shortly after I made these observations together with Luc Rouppe van der Voort, the telescope was shut down to be replaced with a new one with a 1 meter aperture.

There is also a large (1.1 MB) version of the Moon mosaic, 3000x4208 pixels.

The Moon Identification chart Part of the southern Moon This image is a zoomed in part of the whole Moon mosaic above. To the right is an identification chart with some craters named. The biggest crater in the image is the crater Maurolycus, named after the italian mathematician Francesco Maurolico who lived in the early 16:th century and was a devoted proponent of the Copernican solar centred system. The diameter of the crater is 114 km with mighty walls extending 4700 metres. The smallest details percievable in this image are about 1 km in size, which corresponds to roughly an angle of 0.7 arcseconds at the distance of the Moon.

Crater movie Moving shadows on the Moon movie During more than two hours before Moon set, Luc and I used the SVST to take a series of images of the crater Walter on the Moon. Walter was located at the terminator and was thus experiencing a sunrise. In this movie one can actually see how the shadows from the crater walls and the central peak get shorter. Not by a large amount, though, as 140 minutes of sunrise on the Moon corresponds to 5 minutes of sunrise on Earth, since the rotation period of the Moon is 27 times longer. From a trip to La Palma, August 2000. The mpeg movie is 56 kB only.

Shadow movie Moving shadows on Earth movie From the top of the canary island La Palma, where the Swedish solar tower is located together with a family of other telescopes, one has a splendid view over the surrounding island. Here is the William Herschel telescope seen from the tower shortly after sunrise. Note how the shadows get rapidly shorter, and how the clouds in the background below disappear as they rush from the see towards the dryer mountain side. I made the movie using a Kodak digital camera I borrowed from the Solar observatory, by taking an image every 30 seconds or so for about 15 minutes. From a trip to La Palma, August 2000. This mpeg movie is 306 kB.

Sunrise movie Sunset movie Sunrise and sunset movies from La Palma From the top of La Palma, 2400 metres above sea level, there is almost always a cloud cover below. Consequently, the Sun rises and sets in a sea of clouds, at a horizon far away. Sunsets are just amazingly beautiful. The William Herschel telescope dome in the foreground makes a wounderful setting for sunsets, here is another picture. From a trip to La Palma, August 2000. These are mpeg movies of 132 kB and 335 kB each.

SunSpots SunSpots Of course, the solar telescope is mainly intended as a solar telescope and not as a toy for visiting astronomers to take amateur images, so during the days I assisted Luc observe the Sun. This is an acquisition image of a sunspot we observed with a spectrometer. Note the bright grains and the boiling granules. The yellow colour of the image is artificially put there by me, only intensity information is recorded in the original image since we used a single filter.

Jupiter movie Jupiter movie Jupiter's rapid rotational period, about 10 hours, makes it possible to observe the rotational changes of the planetary disc pattern after a few minutes only. In this time series stretching over 140 minutes, the Great Red Spot is first seen in the upper centre of the disc, and then slowly rotated out to the right. Watching carefully, one may even discern the differential rotation, that is, that not all parts of the planet rotate equally fast. The time series was observed early in the morning, the 11:th of August 2000 with the SVST. The movie is a 1.68 MB GIF animation.

Saturn Saturn With its rings, Saturn is the crowned king of the planets. This image is a colour composite made from three separate exposures, but the colour matching of the available filters were not perfect. Notice the shadow cast by the rings on the planet, the crisp Cassini division in the rings, and the bright white band around the planet. These kind of details are what you can expect to observe under good conditions with amateur equipment, explaining why this planet is such a popular sight. From a trip to La Palma, August 2000.

Jupiter Jupiter A colour composition of Jupiter. As for Saturn, the colour filters were not perfect, and in the case of Jupiter the rapidly rotating planet in conjuction with lots of surface details makes it hard to do colour multiexposures of the planet. Between the filtered exposures, the planet has rotated a bit which blurs the colour image slightly. Still, the stark contrasts in the cloudy atmosphere with ammonia clouds floating around in a sea of hydrogen are easily seen in the coloured bands. From a trip to La Palma, August 2000.

NGC3631 Spiral galaxy NGC3631 It was by examining the picture of the Big Dipper below I found this beautiful spiral galaxy seen almost face on. The bright clumpy structures in the spiral arms are not stars but HII regions, regions of hit ionised hydrogen gas. There are plenty of such in our own galaxy the Milky Way as well. The galaxy NGC3631 looks something like we can imagine that the Milky Way would look like if we could see it from above, and not from the inside as we do now.

In 1965 Paul Wild discovered a supernova, an exploding star, in this galaxy. Yet another supernova was discovered in 1996 by Reiki Kushida. This CCD image, taken together with Bettan Ekemark, is composed of 15 exposures in red, green and blue with a combined exposure time of 40 minutes. The green and red exposures were taken with start 21:30 on Maundy Thursday 2000-04-20 and the blue exposure 21:30 on Good Friday 2000-04-21. During a red exposure a satellite passed through the field of view, as can be seen in the upper right corner.

The Big Dipper The Big Dipper This picture of the Big Dipper is not a photograph of mine, but is a mosaic of several images from the photographic Palomar atlas I've assembled. On the Palomar plates very faint objects, such as galaxies, are visible. That made me think of the idea of putting together many plates to make a mosaic where a whole constellation would be visible at the same time as faint galaxies. In that way you get a unique perspective of the different scales involved. I haven't counted them, but there are hundreds of galaxies visible in this image, among the Whirlpool galaxy (M51), NGC3631 (see above), M108 (see below) and the Owl nebula (see below).

I've printed a giant poster (1m x 2m) of this image that I've put up in my office. You may download the image if you want, just bear in mind that it's GIGANTIC: 8000 x 16000 pixels, corresponding to 7.65 MB compressed with jpeg. Uncompressed the image is 128 MB, which makes it difficult to even display it on most computers. Now that you are warned, here is the image (7.65 MB).

The Dumbbell nebula The Dumbbell nebula - M27 The name of this beautiful planetary nebula originates from its clearly asymmetric appearance. Looking at the nebula through a smaller telescope reveals only the brighter parts, that looks something like a dumbbell. Planetary nebulae are formed when a dying star throws out large quantities of gas and dust around itself. Planetary nebulae are often, but not always, very spherically symmetric.

This CCD image is composed of 15 exposures in red, green and blue, with a combined exposure time of 40 minutes. The picture was taken during the Easter Eve morning 2000-04-22.

NGC4490 Spiral galaxy NGC4490 and galaxy NGC4485 Also called the Cocoon galaxy. This is an example of two interacting galaxies. The big galaxy NGC4490 is thought to be a relatively young galaxy of age two thousand million years, still actively forming stars. In 1982 Paul Wild discovered a supernova in NGC4490 (Mr Wild seems to be a supernova hunter!). The galaxies seem to be about 3 million light years distant.

This CCD image is composed of 15 exposures in red, green and blue, with a combined exposure time of 40 minutes. The picture was taken during the very first hour of Easter Eve 2000-04-22.

M65 M65 The spiral galaxy M65 (NGC3623) is turned in a way such that we see it almost edge on, with a small tilt of only 14 degrees. The left side of the galaxy is the closer part. Visually dominant in this galaxy is its smooth dark dust lanes. Together with the galaxy M66 (see below) and NGC3628 it constitutes what's the Leo triplet. The distance to the triplet is about 22 million light years.

This CCD image is composed of 15 exposures in red, green and blue, with a combined exposure time of 20 minutes. The picture was taken between 20 and 21 o'clock, 2000-04-05.

M66 M66 The spiral galaxy M66 (NGC3627) is located fairly close to the ecliptic, the plane in which most bodies in our solar system move. In the upper right corner in this image one can see a red, a blue and a red dot lined up close to each other. Its is an asteroid that during the exposures happened to pass the field of view. With help from Minor Planet Checker I identified this asteroid as 2424 Tautenburg.

No less than three supernovae have been observed in this galaxy. The first one was discovered in 1973 by Rosino, the second one in 1989 by R.O.Evans and the third one as the first result from a large automated supernova survey by a robotic telescope called Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope (KAIT). The supernova of 1989 was particularly interesting since it was of type Ia and was discovered very early, seven days prior to its brightness maximum. It thus became very well studied. Supernovae of type Ia are particularly interesting because they all seem to reach about the same maximum brightness. This gives the astronomers a tool to measure distances to galaxies where such supernovae are observed.

This CCD image is composed of 8 exposures in red, green and blue, with a combined exposure time of 20 minutes. The picture was taken between 21 and 22 o'clock, 2000-04-05.

M108 M108 The galaxy M108 (NGC3556) resembles a ghostly glowing cigar with its elongated shape, edge on as we see it. Prominent are the irregular dust bands. The fact that the stars in front of the galaxy are surrounded by dark halos is an artefact of the data reduction, where I've deconvolved the image by using a conjugate gradient search method with maximum entropy regularisation to sharpen it up a bit. More on this under the Eskimo nebula below.

This CCD image was taken together with Magnus Gålfalk and is composed of 12 exposures in red, green and blue, with a combined exposure time of 36 minutes. The picture was taken between 22 and 23 o'clock, 2000-02-25.

The Owl nebula The Owl nebula - M97 The Owl nebula (M97, NGC3587) is one of the biggest planetary nebulae there are, though somewhat smaller than the Dumbbell nebula. It is thought to be about 3000 light years distant, giving it a physical diameter of 3 light years, but these figures are very uncertain. The green light from the nebula comes from ionised oxygen, and the red light from ionised nitrogen.

In the lower part of the image a star with a fuzzy extension can be seen; I am not certain of its nature, though I have confirmed its reality in other images. It's probably a distant galaxy that just happened to lie in the same direction as a local star.

This CCD image was taken together with Magnus Gålfalk and is composed of 8 exposures in red, green and blue, with a combined exposure time of 24 minutes. The picture was taken between 21 and 22 o'clock, 2000-02-25.

The Crab nebula The Crab nebula - M1 In year 1054 some Chinese astronomers observed something very unusual, a supernova in our own galaxy. The star got so strong that it was visible during daytime for 23 days before it faded away again. At the location of the supernova remains what is today known as the Crab nebula (M1, NGC1952). By studying the nebula during many years one has come to the conclusion that it expands at roughly 800 kilometres per second, and doing some reverse computations reveals that the supernova must have exploded some 950 years ago, in close accordance with the Chinese observations. The distance to the nebula is about 6300 light years.

Striking in the Crab nebula are its filaments tracing the field lines of a magnetic field. The strong luminance of the nebula is fuelled by a rapidly rotating neutron star (a so called pulsar). The region emits strongly in radio an x-rays.

This CCD image is composed of 9 exposures in red, green and blue, with a combined exposure time of 24 minutes. The picture was taken between 21:30 and 22:30, 2000-02-21.

The Eskimo nebula The Eskimo nebula - NGC2392 Yet another beautiful planetary nebula. Here I show the same image two times, one before and one after the deconvolution (sharpening) of the image. As can be seen, the image really gets sharper and more detail is revealed but at the expense of the introduction of some artefacts, one being the dark halos around bright stars. The Hubble Space Telescope has snapped an astonishing picture of this nebula, about 20 times sharper than mine. You can find it here.

This CCD image is composed of 34 exposures in red, green and blue, with a combined exposure time of 17 minutes. The picture was taken between 20:30 and 21 o'clock, 2000-02-21.

Total Solar Eclipse 1999 Total Solar Eclipse 1999 The photograph of the total solar eclipse is from the 11:th of August, 1999 from the Black Sea cost of Bulgaria. A solar eclipse is difficult to photograph because of the large dynamic range of the light from it. Close to the limb you find the relatively strong red prominences. Outside there is the solar corona, fairly strong nearby but fading very quickly although extending several solar radii. To get the whole dynamic range well exposed in a single exposure is impossible with available photographic film, unless you have some sort of a radial filter; either the inner part gets over exposed, or the outer gets under exposed. Instead, in this image, I combined four exposures with exposure times of 1/60:th, 1/2, 1 and 2 seconds. I've put the photographs together digitally and enhanced contrast at different intensity levels by using an unsharp mask.

The images were taken through a refractor telescope of focal length 900 milimetre on Kodachrome 64 film in company with Markus Dimdal , Martin Rehn and Mattias Widmark whom I travelled together with to Bulgaria to watch the eclipse.

Hale-Bopp Comet Hale-Bopp This photograph of the giant comet is from March the 20:th 1997, 22 o'clock. The film used was Fuji's Provia 1600 ASA, colour slides, and I used a piggybacked camera with a 200 mm lens. Exposure time 5 minutes. You can clearly see both the blue plasma tail and the greenish dust tail in this picture. If you look carefully you can also see the colours of the background stars. Some are red, others are blue. The picture was taken in company of Daniel Sindahl, Lina Sjölin and Malin Siddiqi.

The nebula of Orion The nebula of Orion - M42 The photograph is from February the 3:rd 1995, captured on an Ektachrome 400 ASA with exposure time 60s, which even that is a little too much because of the inaccurate telescope drive. You can see that on the stars which are not circular as they should be, but elliptic. In the middle of the nebula you see the Trapezium, the four brightest members of the multiple system Theta Orionis. The age of this central part of the Orion nebula seems to be roughly 30000 years, about the same as the brighter Trapezium stars. In other words, it's one of the youngest nebulas in the sky. The distance to this glowing gas cloud is somewhat uncertain, but is on the order of 1000 light-years.

The nebula of Orion The nebula of Orion - M42 This picture is taken in February 1995 on an Ektachrome P1600 ASA pushed up to 3200 ASA. The exposure time is 60s here too, but thanks to the greater sensivity of the film more of the outer regions of the nebula gets visible. The Trapezium on the other hand, is almost completely hidden in the overexposed middle region. Compared to the previous picture, this one is rotated 180 degrees.

Ceres Ceres These two pictures of Ceres are taken on March the 29:th and the 30:th 1995 respectively, with Kodak T-MAX 3200 ASA. You can clearly see how the asteroid has moved between these two occasions. The pictures are centred on the celestial coordinates (8h54m;31°0') and the field of view is about 0.5 degrees. The faint stars in the background are of an approximate magnitude of 9.

Lyra The constellation of Lyra The picture represents the constellation of Lyra, also photographed from the Greek island in 1995. The exceptionally bright star in the upper right corner is one of the brightest stars on the celestial sphere, Vega.

The constellation is often drawn as a parallel trapezium with Vega and the double star as a prominent triangle. Used film was Kodak T-MAX 3200 ASA and exposure time 60s. The lens was a 28-70mm zoom lens. The picture was obtained in company of Jonas Kämpe.