Focal Pointe Observatory
Astrophotography by Bob Franke

Recent Images
   Natural Color
   Narrow Band
Solar System
My Freeware
Tips & Tricks
Published Images
Local Weather


Send Email







Click the image for a 55% size,  1.16 arcsec/pixel display (1800 X 1200)


Place your mouse over the image to see the secondary set of spiral arms)
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Maryland/A.S. Wilson et al.;
Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; VLA: NRAO/AUI/NSF)



12.5" RCOS @  ~f/9 (2880 mm fl) 0.643 arcsec / pixel.  Shown resampled to 2.78 arcsec / pixel.


Paramount ME


SBIG STL-11000 w/ internal filter wheel, AstroDon G1 Filters

Acquisition Data

4/01/2009 to 5/13/2009  Chino Valley, AZ


Lum    405 min (27 x 15 min, bin 1x1)

RGB    405 min (  9 x 15 min each, bin 1x1)

Ha      900 min (30 x 30 min each, bin 1x1)


L(HaR)GB image with an LRGB overlay for star colors.  The Ha data was combined with the Red using the lighten blend mode with 50% obacity.  It was not necessary to add the Ha to the luminance.


CCDSoft, CCDStack, Photoshop CS w/ the Fits Liberator plugin, Noel Carboni's actions and Russ Croman's Gradient Exterminator

CCDStack to register, normalize, data reject, combine and luminance sharpen.

PhotoShop for the color combine.


North is ~ to the top... the image is rotated 21 Deg's to the right.

Discovered by Pierre Méchain, in 1781, Messier 106 (also known as NGC 4258) is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. M106 is at a distance of about 23 million light-years from Earth. It is also a Seyfert II galaxy, which means that due to x-rays and unusual emission lines detected, it is suspected that part of the galaxy is falling into a supermassive black hole in the center.

NGC 4248, to the right, at a distance of about 21 million light-years is a possible companion galaxy.

The second image shows a seldom imaged hydrogen gas jet, at the lower left of the galaxy core. It has only recently been determined that this is actually part of a secondary set of spiral arms, indicated by the arrows. This was revealed by University of Maryland astronomers, led by Yuxuan Yang, by combining images from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, and data obtained almost a decade ago with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Place your mouse pointer over the second image to see the arms.




 Celestron C11 @  F6.1 (1705 mm)  1.087 arcsec / pixel


Losmandy G11


SBIG ST-7 with CFW-8A color wheel

Acquisition Date

4/21/06 to 4/23/06  Near downtown Seattle


Lum     285 min (19 x 15 min)  
Red       60 min (4 x 15 min)
Green    60 min (4 x 15 min)
Blue      66 min (3 x 22 min)


CCDSoft, CCDOPS, Sigma Clip (pre beta 11), PhotoShop CS and Paint Shop Pro.


North is to the left.