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Posts Tagged ‘deep-sky’

The Pleiades (M45)

January 10, 2016 Leave a comment

Somehow, I’ve never really captured an image of The Pleiades (M45). Such a bright target directly overhead, but I was mostly looking for narrowband objects instead, I suppose.

Pleiades final 8x10 crop

This image was processed entirely in PixInsight, except for the final rescaling and jpeg conversion.  I’m moving more in that direction. Frustrating and unforgiving it is, but powerful.  For such a bright object, the dust makes it more challenging to process than I’d expected.

Image data:

  • Exposures: 20×10 min L (1×1 binning), 8×10 min each R, G, B (2×2 binning) – total exposure time:  7h 20m
  • Telescopes: Two William Optics Star71s (360mm f/5)
  • Cameras: SBIG ST-8300M and QSI 583wsg
  • Mount: Takahashi EM200
  • Guiding: QHY 5L-II mono, guided using PHD2
  • Conditions:  fair transparency, calm winds
  • Processing: DeepSkyStacker -> PixInsight
  • Date: Jan 2, 2016
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The Astrophotography Sky Atlas

November 22, 2015 Leave a comment

TASA Cover 500px

The Astrophotography Sky Atlas is now available at Amazon!

I spent two years coding, researching, and writing this book with a simple goal:  to create a compact, reasonably-priced atlas designed for the imager. Over 2000 deep-sky objects are plotted in their correct size and shape, including many faint nebulae not shown in other atlases. Stars are shown down to 9th magnitude.  The entire sky is covered in 70 full-color charts.

A tabular index contains important details on each object, including a description, the best time of year to capture it, and the required field of view.

What’s shown:

  • 416 emission nebulae and supernova remnants, including the complete Sharpless (Sh2) and RCW catalogs.
  • 171 reflection nebulae, including the complete van den Bergh (vdB) catalog.
  • 146 planetary nebulae, including the complete Abell catalog
  • 52 dark nebulae and molecular clouds
  • 792 galaxies (larger than 3 arcminutes)
  • 38 galaxy groups from the Abell and Hickson catalogs
  • 108 globular clusters (larger than 5 arcminutes)
  • 309 open clusters (larger than 5 arcminutes)

Keeping a focus on what is important to imaging, sparse open clusters and galaxies smaller than 3 arcminutes (unless part of a group) were left off the maps.

With information on nearly every possible photographic object in the night sky, The Astrophotography Sky Atlas will help you choose your targets and plan your imaging.

The Heart Nebula, IC1805, in Narrowband

January 27, 2015 Leave a comment

This is one of my favorite deep sky objects, especially for narrowband.  It just fits on an KAF-8300 chip at 350 mm focal length.  The small cluster in the core is Melotte 15.

I took three nights of exposures, which were spread over 41 days due to poor weather and holiday trips.  Maybe next year when Cassiopeia swings into view, I’ll make a similar project of the Soul Nebula nearby.

The Heart Nebula (IC1805)

The Heart Nebula (IC1805)

Image data:

  • Exposures: 32 hours total: 96 x 10 min Ha, 43 x 10 min OIII, 53 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:  mild winds on two nights
  • Processing: DeepSkyStacker -> PixInsight -> Photoshop
  • Date: Nov 21 2014, Dec 31 2014, and Jan 1 2015

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

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

Sh2-129, The Flying Bat Nebula

September 28, 2013 Leave a comment

This is another monochromatic image I captured while the moon was near full this month. Sh2-129 is a very dim, but very large H-alpha region at the bottom of Cepheus. It’s close to the far brighter and more famous IC1396, which explains why it is so often overlooked among the sea of emission nebulae in that area. I’ve seen it referred to as the Flying Bat Nebula, but it probably has more claim to be a “Tulip” nebula than Sh2-101. This is definitely a challenging object to capture.

Nicola Montecchiari recently captured a terrific image of this nebula with the OIII-emitting planetary nebula OU4 at its core.  Looks like I will have to go back and capture some OIII data here soon!

Sh2-129, The Flying Bat Nebula, H-alpha

Sh2-129, The Flying Bat Nebula, H-alpha

Image data:
Exposures: 19 x 1200s Ha exposures
Software: guiding by PHD, stacking in DeepSkyStacker
Processing: PixInsight
Telescope: Takahashi FSQ-106ED (530 mm f/5)
Camera: SBIG STL-11000M with Astrodon 6nm narrowband filters, 2×2 binned
Mount: CGEM
September 15, 2013

M16 and NGC 6604 H-alpha widefield

September 7, 2013 Leave a comment

I don’t usually post monochromatic images, but this is a nice example of how wide the view is with the STL-11000M through the FSQ-106ED (530 mm focal length).  Not only does the Eagle Nebula, M16, fit in the field, but the entire area of nebulosity around NGC 6604 fits as well.  It makes me wish I lived further south so I could spend more time on the Sagittarius/Serpens area of the sky.  It was all I could do to capture 3h 20 min of exposure time from here in NJ.

M16 and NGC6604 H-alpha

M16 and NGC6604 H-alpha

Image data:
Exposures:  10 x 1200s Ha
Software:  guiding by PHD, stacking in DeepSkyStacker
Processing:  PixInsight, Photoshop CS3
Telescope:  Takahashi FSQ-106ED
Camera:  SBIG STL-11000M with Astrodon 6nm narrowband filters, 2×2 binned
Mount:  CGEM
September 3-5, 2013

 

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