The Heart Nebula (IC 1805)
The Heart Nebula (IC 1805) © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-11-09 | Nikon D750 | WO Zenithstar 61ii  360mm  | 85 min, 51 sec exposure | ref  #7507847

Located roughly 7,500 light years away, the Heart Nebula (IC1805) is an emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia.  It glows brightly with ionized hydrogen gas making the dark dust lanes really stand out. The bright region in the upper right portion of the nebula is classified separately as NGC 896. The nebula's intense red output and its morphology are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars near the nebula's center. This open cluster of stars, known as Collinder 26 or Melotte 15, contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, and many more dim stars that are only a fraction of our Sun's mass.  Just to the upper left of the nebula lies the open cluster NGC 1027.  Also seen in the lower left of the image (albeit mostly cut off from view) is the neighbouring  Soul Nebula (IC 1848). 
Ruchbah and star clusters in the constellation Cassiopeia
Ruchbah and some of the star clusters in the constellation Cassiopeia © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-11-04 | Nikon D750 | WO Zenithstar 61ii  360mm  | 70.5 minute exposure | ref  #2100073

The bright star in the upper left of this image is the variable star Ruchbah.  It is the lower left point in the “W” shaped constellation Cassiopeia.  Also know as Delta Cassiopeiae (δ Cassiopeiae, abbreviated Delta Cas, δ Cas) it is located approximately 99.4 light-years from the Earth.
Also seen in the image moving clockwise from Ruchbah are the the star clusters M103, the Yin-Yang Cluster (NGC 659), the Lawnmower Cluster (NGC 653) and the Fuzzy Butterfly Cluster (NGC 654).  These star clusters range from between 6,850 and 15,600 light years away.  (Btw… if my math is correct, that works out roughly to between 40 and 92 quadrillion miles away!)
Blue Halloween Moon
Blue Halloween Moon © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-10-13 | Nikon D750 | WO Zenithstar 61ii  360mm  | 1/125 sec and 5 sec exposures blended | ref  #7507595

Lens flares create a spooky glow highlighting the full moon on this Halloween night.  This was the second full moon of the month with the earlier instance occurring on October 1st.  
When two full moons occur in the same month, the second is referred to as a blue moon (as in "once in a blue moon"). This is a relatively rare event happening on average only once every two and a half years. 
One More Look At The Perseids
One More Look At The Perseids © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-08-14 | Nikon D7100 | Sigma 18-24mm  1:1.8 @ 27mm  | 80 sec timelapse | ref  #7104987

The Perseids looking north west over Georgian Bay from Owen Sound. The Perseid Meteor Shower is caused by dust and debris shed by the Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle as it passed through the inner solar system and across Earth’s orbital path.  Comet Swift-Tuttle was last seen from Earth in 1992 and is not expected to return before 2126, however the result of this and previous visits can be seen annually (late summer) in the Perseid Meteor Shower.
Deneb and the North America Nebula
Deneb and the North America Nebula © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-08-11 | Nikon D750 | Sigma 24-70mm  1:2.8 @ 24mm  | 36.5min exposure| ref  #7507304

Deneb and the North America Nebula stand out in this northern look at the Milky Way, however, there is actually a lot more going on here... First towards the bottom centre-right of the frame is the constellation Cygnus with the bright stars Deneb and Fawaris, the North America Nebula and the Pelican Nebula.  Moving towards the top and middle of the frame is the constellation Cepheus with the bright star Alderamin and the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula.  Next, over to the upper left of the frame is the constellation Cassiopeia with the bright stars Caph, Shedar and Navi.  Lastly at the middle-left of the image is the Andromeda Galaxy.
Perseid Meteor Shower
Perseid Meteor Shower © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-08-11 | Nikon D750 | Sigma 24-70mm  1:2.8 @ 24mm  | 5.5 min timelapse | ref  #7507220

The Perseid Meteor Shower as seen from the lookout at the Kemble Women's Institute monument north of Owen Sound (Ontario, Canada).
Four meteors are captured radiating outward from the constellation Perseus (which is actually behind the tree).  The Andromeda galaxy can also be seen as a faint fuzzy oval near the centre of the frame.
Scutum Star Cloud
Scutum Star Cloud © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-08-07 | Nikon D750 | Sigma 70-200mm  1:2.8 @ 200mm  | 30.5 min  exposure | ref #7506924

The fifth smallest constellation, Scutum lies in the southern sky.  Its name means “the shield” in latin. 
The main part of this image includes a particularly bright part of the milky way called the Scutum Star Cloud.   The bright orange star just below centre-right is Alpha Scuti (α Scuti).  It is the brightest star in the constellation and is almost 200 light years from earth. Also prominent in the frame is the Wild Duck Cluster (aka M11) which can be seen just to the left of the star cloud.  M11 is an open star cluster located around 6120 light years from earth.  Slightly smaller and seen just below the star cloud is M26. This open cluster is located about 5160 light years away.  This extremely rich part of the night sky is home to many other wonders. If you look closely you can also see the globular cluster NGC 6712, open clusters NGC 6649 and 6664, the planetary nebula IC 1295 and the Blue Reflection Nebula (IC 1287).
Comet Neowise (C/2020 F3) 
Comet Neowise (C/2020 F3) © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-07-17 | Nikon D750 | Sigma 24-70mm  1:2.8 @ 24mm  | 30sec exposure | #7506521

Comet Neowise (C/2020 F3) passing under the Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major.  This image was captured from the shores of Georgian Bay near Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada.
Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) 
Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-07-17 | Nikon D750 | Sigma  70-200mm  1:2.8 @ 165mm| 6 min exposure | #7505885

Comets are made up of ice, rock and dust. As their orbit brings them closer to the sun, they heat up and often stream two tails.  The brighter whitish tail is made up of dust and gas, and the somewhat dimmer bluish tail is made of electrically-charged gas molecules, or ions.  An eerie greenish glow (diatomic carbon) is sometimes also visible around the comet’s coma.
Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) seen here was photographed over Georgian Bay as it passes through the constellation Ursa Major. Having only recently been discovered (March 27, 2020) by astronomers working on the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope, it is a welcome surprise in the night sky.  Neowise is the brightest comet seen in the northern hemisphere since Hale–Bopp in 1997. Neowise originates in the outer reaches of our solar system and won't be seen again from Earth for another 6,800 years.  It is expected to make its closest pass to Earth (64 million miles) on July 22/23, 2020.  (Note: The bright star almost directly above the comets nucleus is Talitha in the constellation Ursa Major.)
Strawberry Moon
Strawberry Moon © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-06-04 | Nikon D750  | Nikkor 200-500 1:5.6 @ 300mm |1/160sec & 1/4sec exposures | #7505576

Clouds dissipate around an eerie Strawberry Moon (98% full) over Georgian Bay.  The term "Strawberry Moon" comes from a combination of Native American, Anglo-Saxon, and Germanic folklore.  It marks the June full moon and celebrates the first strawberry blooms of the season.
Maple Buds Silhouetted Against The Flower Moon
Maple Buds Silhouetted Against The Flower Moon © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-05-06 | Nikon D7100 •|Nikkor 200-500 1:5.6 @ 500mm  (EFL 1000mm) | 1/125sec  exposure | #7104709

Referred to as the Flower Moon, the name honours the Native American tradition of using celestial events to trace the seasons.  According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, as the month of May is a time when frost subsides and plants bloom in the northern hemisphere.
The Flower Super Moon
The Flower Super Moon © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-05-06 | Nikon D7100 | Nikkor 200-500 1:5.6 @ 500mm  (EFL 1000mm) | 1/125sec exposure | #7104730

When the new moon (full moon) occurs during the Moon's closest approach to Earth, its perigee, it is often called a super moon.  This month marks the third and last super moon of 2020.  
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Waxing Gibbous Moon © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-05-04 | Nikon D7100 | Nikkor 200-500 1:5.6 @ 500mm (EFL 975mm)  | 1/250sec exposure | #7104623

This 90% full moon was captured 2 hrs and 42 min after moonrise (and 3 days before the full moon)
Cassiopeia and the Pacman Nebula
Cassiopeia and the Pacman Nebula © Irwin Seidman (bluespeck.ca)

2020-03-17 | Nikon D750 | Sigma 70-200mm 1:2.8 @ 200mm | 31 min exposure | #7504349

Cassiopeia is easily recognizable in the northern sky by the distinctive 'W' shape, formed by five bright stars. This image features a nebula and two of the constellations brightest stars in a sideways view of the right hand side of the constellation Cassiopeia.  Lying roughly 9200 light years away, NGC 281 is the bright emission nebula seen in the upper right of the frame.  It is  part of an H II region in the northern constellation of Cassiopeia and is part of the Milky Way's Perseus Spiral Arm.  NGC 281 is also known as the Pacman Nebula for its resemblance to the 1980s video game character.  The bright star to the right of the Pacman Nebula is Eta Cassiopeiae (η Cassiopeiae, abbreviated Eta Cas, η Cas).  Eta Cas is a binary star system and is located about 19.5 light-years from earth. The bright star seen below and to the right of the nebula is Alpha Cassiopeiae (α Cassiopeiae, abbreviated Alpha Cas, α Cas), also known as known as Schedar or Shedar.  It is located about 228 light years away.  The bright star to the right of centre near the bottom of the frame is Beta Cassiopeiae (β Cassiopeiae, abbreviated Beta Cas or β Cas), also known as  Caph. This variable star sits approximately 54.7 light years from earth. 
Orion Nebula (M42)

2020-02-23 | Nikon D750 | Sigma 70-200mm 1:2.8 @ 200mm | 28min 31sec exposure | #7503834

The Orion Nebula (M42) is a diffuse nebula situated south of Orion's Belt in the constellation of Orion.  It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye under ideal dark sky conditions. M42 has a mass of about 2,000 times that of the Sun and is situated roughly 1,344 light years away.  
Located in close proximity and just to the left of the Orion Nebula is De Marian’s Nebula (M43). This diffuse nebula lies at a distance of 1,600 light years from Earth. Together with the Orion Nebula, it is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth.
Just above and to the left of the Orion and De Marian’s nebulae is the Running Man Nebula (NGC 1977).  Also part of the constellation Orion, NGC 1977 is a cloud of interstellar dust and gas sitting about 1,600 light years away from earth. 
If you look closely towards the upper left of the frame (still within the constellation Orion) you can see the bright star Alnitak as well as faint traces of of two more nebulae.  Lying approximately 1,375 light years away, the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) is a small dark nebula and at a distance of about 1,350 light years, the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) is an emission nebula.
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