Our astronomy consultant Dan Joyce, astronomer at Triton College’s Cernan Space Center was kind enough to share this spectacular array of photos with us. These shots were taken with the telescopes pictured below just south of Elizabeth, Illinois located in the far northwest part of the state near Galena. The crystal-clear dark skies of Jo Daviess County necessary to produce these great shots were provided by Dan’s long-time friend Sheldon Faworski. Dan is currently building a new 12.5 inch telescope which is scheduled to be put into use in the next few weeks and should produce even more outstanding photos.
The 6 inch white scope and the 10 inch red scope
The 8 inch telescope
An emission nebula depicting a vast array of stardust glowing in the light of hydrogen excited by ultra-violet light of nearby stars known as NGC6820 about 1,500 light years out in the direction of the Cygnus-Cepheus border. This shot was taken by the 8 inch scope.
This is a picture of the star clusters of M38 (on the left about 4,500 light years) and NGC1907 (on the right about 14,000 light years out) in Auriga just north of the horns of Taurus. This photo was shot with the 6 inch telescope.
This photo shows the reflection nebula known as the “Ghost Nebula”. vdB141 in Cepheus taken by the 10 inch scope and thought to be 2,500 light years away.
M38 is the 38th object in Charles Messier’s catalog of objects not to be confused with comets.
NGC1907 and NGC6820 are those entries into Johann Dreyer’s “New General Catalog” of objects including clusters, nubulae and galaxies. Finally, vdB141 in that entry into Sidney van den Berg’s catalog of very faint objects.
Thanks again Dan for these great photos and accompanying explanations.
Posted by Steve Kahn WGN Weather Center Meteorologist