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Posts Tagged ‘cgem’

The Cone Nebula/Fox Fur Nebula/NGC2264 Area

January 24, 2015 Leave a comment

Between snow storms, I’ve been able to squeeze in the occasional night of imaging.  It was a less than ideal night–poor seeing and all sorts of polar alignment issues plagued me–but I’m please to finally have an image of the Cone Nebula… or Fox Fur Nebula if you prefer…or Christmas Tree Cluster.  Whatever you call it, putting NGC2264 (the cluster) into your goto mount will get you there.

Somehow, I’ve never captured this one before.  That region of the sky has so many highlights (M42, IC2177, The Rosette, Horsehead…) it takes several years to get to them all.

Cone Nebula Widefield in H-alpha

Cone Nebula Widefield in H-alpha

Image data:

  • Exposures: 39 x 10 min H-alpha exposures
  • Telescopes: William Optics Star 71 (360mm f/5)
  • Cameras: SBIG ST-8300M, 2×2 binned
  • Mount: CGEM
  • Guiding: QHY 5L-II mono, guided using PHD2
  • Conditions:  calm, but damp
  • Processing: DeepSkyStacker -> PixInsight -> Photoshop
  • Date: Jan 22, 2015

A Quick Look at Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2

January 23, 2015 Leave a comment

It’s not often that we get a bright comet so high in the sky.  Luckily, I was able to seize a couple of hours of clear skies to image Comet Lovejoy while it was in Aries.  I took separate L, R, G, and B exposures across a 1×4 mosaic, since I knew the tail could be really long.  This extended tail was also very dim, barely showing with 3-minute exposures.  Because comets are moving targets, I only took a single 3-minute exposure for each channel, then moved the field of view.  You can actually see the effect of this movement a little in the head of the comet, where the L exposure came about 20 minutes after the R.

Comet Lovejoy, Jan 20, 2015

Comet Lovejoy, Jan 20, 2015

It’s easy to lose your sense of scale here.  This is a tremendous field of view.  Below is one of the uncropped mosaic images used to generate the above. Each of the four overlapping frames you see is 2.9 x 2.2 degrees, so the total field of view is around 7 x 3 degrees!

Uncropped mosaic view

Uncropped mosaic view

Image data:

  • Exposures: 1 x 3 min L, R, G, and B exposures in a four-part mosaic
  • Telescopes: William Optics Star 71 (360mm f/5)
  • Cameras: SBIG ST-8300M, 2×2 binned
  • Mount: CGEM
  • Guiding: QHY 5L-II mono, guided using PHD2
  • Conditions:  calm
  • Processing: DeepSkyStacker -> PixInsight -> Photoshop
  • Date: Jan 20, 2015

The Bubble and the Lobster Claw

January 10, 2015 Leave a comment

There is an area on the border of Cassiopeia and Cephus that’s packed with deep-sky objects, including the assortment shown here.  The main nebula here is the Lobster Claw, Sh2-157.  Above it and to the right is the famous Bubble Nebula, NGC7635. In the upper right is the cluster M52.  The nebulae at middle right and lower right are Sh2-159 and NGC7538, respectively.  The very dim nebula the goes off the right edge of the image is Sh2-161, and the little star cluster at middle bottom is NGC7510. So that’s at least five distinct nebulae and two star clusters (there would be more if we considered how other catalogs, like the LBN and IC, define the objects).

The Bubble and Lobster Claw NebulaeWith all of that said, this is the second year I’ve imaged this area, and I haven’t been happy with either result.  The Lobster Claw is not particularly photogenic, and it’s fairly hard to process well.  Given the chance to do it again, I’d probably either use a longer scope to focus on the Bubble Nebula alone, or go even wider with a telephoto to capture the sea of nebulosity in the whole area.

Image data:

  • Exposures: 60 x 10 min Ha, 33 x 10 min OIII, 27 x 10 min SII
  • Telescopes: Two William Optics Star 71s (360mm f/5)
  • Cameras: SBIG ST-8300M and QSI 583wsg, 2×2 binned
  • Mount: CGEM
  • Guiding: QHY 5L-II mono, guided using PHD2
  • Conditions:  strong wind gusts
  • Processing: DeepSkyStacker -> PixInsight -> Photoshop
  • Date: Nov 18 and 20, 2014

The Cave Nebula (Sh2-155)

November 22, 2014 Leave a comment

The Cave Nebula is probably better suited for 600 mm of focal length, but I thought I’d try a wide field view of the area.  The whole nebula is fainter than I expected, especially the diffuse OIII spread about the region.  20- or 30-minute sub-exposures would do a much better job of revealing it, but because it was so windy, I wanted to keep the subs at 10 minutes, so I really had to fight a lot of noise in the blue channel.

The Cave Nebula (Sh2-155) in narrowband SHO palette

The Cave Nebula (Sh2-155) in narrowband SHO palette

Image data:

  • Exposures: 55 x 10 min Ha, 28 x 10 min OIII, 28 x 10 min SII
  • Telescopes: Two William Optics Star 71s (360mm f/5)
  • Cameras: SBIG ST-8300M and QSI 583wsg, 2×2 binned
  • Mount: CGEM
  • Guiding: QHY 5L-II mono, guided using PHD2
  • Conditions:  gusting winds
  • Processing: DeepSkyStacker -> PixInsight -> Photoshop
  • Date: Nov 9-10, 2014

NGC7000

November 18, 2014 Leave a comment

This is not exactly a shining moment as an astroimager, because I completely messed up the polar alignment routine, resulting in smeared stars.  (When the CGEM tells you not to pick polar alignment stars too close to the pole, it means it!)  But NGC7000, more commonly known as the North America Nebula, is such a compelling object, I’m posting the image anyway.  It also gives a sense of how wide the field of view on the Star 71 is.

NGC7000 "The North America Nebula" in Narrowband

NGC7000 “The North America Nebula” in Narrowband

Image data:

  • Exposures: 34 x 10 min Ha, 14 x 10 min OIII, 17 x 10 min SII
  • Telescopes: Two William Optics Star 71s (360mm f/5)
  • Cameras: SBIG ST-8300M and QSI 583wsg, 2×2 binned
  • Mount: CGEM
  • Guiding: QHY 5L-II mono, guided using PHD2
  • Conditions:  wind gusts over 20 mph, gibbous moon
  • Processing: DeepSkyStacker, PixInsight, Photoshop
  • Date: Nov 2, 2014

Sh2-132 in Narrowband

November 7, 2014 3 comments

Both of my WO Star 71s are back from China (see previous post), cleaned, and as good as new.  Maybe better.  It took a few days after their return for some clear weather to arrive, but I was so happy to have them back.  William Yang was a good guy to deal with in this whole matter.

Sh2-132 is an odd nebula in that it can be hard to find.  Not so much because it’s not a reasonably bright narrowband target, but because it has no appeal to visual observers, so it’s not well-marked in most atlases.  Not all of the Sharpless objects are worthy targets (in fact the majority are duds), so it can be hard to tell that this one stands out from the emission nebula crowd.

It’s a photogenic target in the Hubble/SHO palette if you can take enough exposures to reveal the details, and several amateur images of it have popped up this season.  The SII is particularly dim, and if I could do it again, I would double the exposure time there.

Sh2-132 in the Hubble/SHO Narrowband Palette

Sh2-132 in the Hubble/SHO Narrowband Palette

Image data:

  • Exposures: 42 x 10 min Ha, 41 x 10 min OIII, 43 x 10 min SII
  • Telescopes: Two William Optics Star 71s (360mm f/5)
  • Cameras: SBIG ST-8300M and QSI 583wsg, 2×2 binned
  • Mount: CGEM
  • Guiding: QHY 5L-II mono, guided using PHD2
  • Conditions:  wind gusts over 25 mph… far from ideal
  • Processing: DeepSkyStacker, PixInsight, Photoshop
  • Dates: Oct 25-27, 2014

M63, The Sunflower Galaxy

July 3, 2011 Leave a comment

While this is only 5h 8m of total exposure time, I was able to get a decent amount of detail out of it.  When it clears up again, I’ll get some more time on it to reduce the noise level, but this is a nice start.  The exposures were taken on two nights a month apart:  Jun 2 and Jul 2.  It’s a total of 77 4-minute shots through an Astro-Tech AT8RC on a Celestron CGEM using a Canon Rebel XSi. The nights are short and hot this time of year, which makes it difficult on astroimaging!

M63, The Sunflower Galaxy

M63, The Sunflower Galaxy

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