BOOK REVIEW: Treasures of the Southern Sky

Treasures of the Southern Sky

BOOK REVIEW by Steve Crouch

Treasures of the Southern Sky by Robert Gendler, Lars Lindberg Christensen and David Malin (Published by Springer)

Given that it’s been almost 25 years since the publication of “Exploring the Southern Sky” and almost 20 years since David Malin’s “A view of the Universe”, a new coffee table book featuring the southern sky is probably long overdue. There have been many advances in imaging techniques in the last 25 years and quite a few new telescopes, including HST, which often image southern objects. Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: Treasures of the Southern Sky


ET – Europa or Enceladus?

There’s been a lot of chatter in the news about Europa and the possibility of life. Europa has been the astrobiology darling for a few years – but I think that Enceladus is now the forerunner, and it’s where we should be looking next.   Why you ask? Well here’s a few reasons:

Enceladus has range of terrains from old, heavily cratered surfaces, tectonic features including scarps, troughs, grooves, ridges, and a young surface and evidence of recent tectonic activity in the southern hemisphere, less than 10 – 100 my. Plate movement is an indication of an active geology. The plume of water ice and other materials erupting to a height of >80 km from the surface of the moon at temperatures of order 70 K to 150 K provides strong evidence that Enceladus’ interior may be warm, contain a sub surface ocean and that its surface is presently tectonically active.

Approaching Enceladus

Continue reading ET – Europa or Enceladus?


Everyone’s heard of NGC 253—this is NGC 254

NGC 254
NGC 254

Steve Crouch turns his eye to a less-often imaged galaxy. And captures at least 10 other galaxies into the bargain! He explains:

Thought I would try something not often imaged.  It’s obvious from this image why people prefer NGC 253.

Catalogue and alternative designations NGC 254

Type Galaxy
Position   00 47.8, -31 25
Constellation Sculptor
Camera and Telescope STXL11002 and 36.8 cm Ritchey Chretien
Focal Ratio F9Exposure
Details LRGB 285:70:60:60 Luminance 1×1, Colours 2×2


This is a SB0 type magnitude 12 galaxy roughly 2.6′ x1.7′ in size.  It is almost exactly due north of the much better known NGC 253.

You can see more of Steve Crouch’s astrophotography over on his website at

Stunning photo of the Trifid Nebula — Chris Marklew

Trifid Nebula
Trifid Nebula

Chris explains:

It has been a while since capturing data for a new image (~6months), but here it is, The Trifid Nebula (NGC6514).
Image details
Telescope: FSQ106EDXIII
Camera: SBIG STT-8300M
Composition: LRGB (152:45:40:40) bin L 1×1, RGB 2×2
Captured: 25, 27, and 29 September 2013 – Canberra says the following about the photo:

Your results are:
(RA, Dec) center: (270.625564674, -22.996920876) degrees
Orientation: 1.19352109615 deg E of N
Pixel scale: 2.10083867783 arcsec/pixel
Your field contains:NGC 6531NGC 6514