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Posts Tagged ‘hydrogen alpha’

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
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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

Sh2-129, 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

Lonely little NGC 6888 adrift in a sea of ionized Hydrogen.

September 21, 2013 Leave a comment

This is a portion of a larger H-alpha mosaic that I took while the full moon was out this past week. NGC 6888 is a terrific target for a close-up, but it’s also beautiful in context of the whole “neck” of the swan Cygnus.

NGC 6888 Widefield

NGC 6888 Widefield

Image data:
Exposures: Portion of a four-frame mosaic composed of 63 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 16-20, 2013

The Moon and Venus

September 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Sometimes when you’re setting up to take pictures of incredibly dim things, the sky presents you with something incredibly bright and beautiful. The moon and Venus were in conjunction in this evening’s western sky. I used an H-alpha filter as a sort of 99% neutral gradient filter so they wouldn’t overwhelm the sensor.  This is a single 0.2 second exposure, through a 6 nm H-alpha filter, with the STL-11000M on the FSQ-106ED.

Moon and Venus
The Moon and Venus in Conjunction (9/8/13)

For perspective, tiny little Venus there is actually 3.5 times bigger than the moon, but 415 times further away. The light from the moon took about 1.3 seconds to get here; the light from Venus traveled for almost nine minutes.

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