As part of my Astronomy GCSE course (which I did 2010-11 at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich), I took some photographs of celestial objects for my coursework.
I used the National Schools' Observatory's Liverpool Telescope on La Palma, using the website to tell it what to look at. I then used image editing software to make the most of the pictures. I had to write a full account of my efforts and an analysis of the images. (And I got an A*, so ner.)
Here are the pics and a few brief notes.
Here's the Crab nebula - or M1 in Messier's catalogue. It's an exploded star, and Chinese astronomers reported seeing the supernova in 1054 AD. At it's heart there's a small, very dense neutron star. I thought the tendrils of gas looked a bit like the insides of a heart.
The image was taken at 21:00:00 GMT on 20 February 2011, with an exposure of 120.00 seconds using filter HA. Temperature was 6.5C, humidity 23%, pressure 779 mBar. It was a dry night with a wind of 2.5 m/s in a SSW direction.
The galaxy NGC 2776 is a lot less famous - or studied - than M1. It's a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Lynx, which appears disc-on to us.
This image was take at 22:19:00 GMT on 28 February 2011, with an exposure of 120.00 seconds and using filter R. The temperature was 8.5C, humidity 9%, pressure 777 mBar. It was a dry night with a wind at 8.6 m/s in a SSW direction.
NGC 4216 is another spiral galaxy, but this time edge-on to us, giving a better sense of the bulge in the middle (containing a super-massive black hole). The dark bits round the edge are probably dust obscuring the stars. NGC 4216 is in the Virgo Cluster.
This image was taken at 04:16:00 GMT on 1 March 2011, with an exposure time of 120.00 seconds and using filter R. The temperature was 8C, humidity 7%, pressure 775 mBar. It was a dry night with a wind at 7.2 m/s in a SSW direction.
There's a more impressive image of NGC 4216 here.