From ten days ago the California Nebula.

Well at least part of it! Around 28 good frames at 300 seconds each and for the first time initial integration thru the program Siril. I first was following a youtube video on using the program but felt the non linear functions were too harsh so I ran it again with the linear functions and then went to photoshop for the processing I am familiar with. This set used dithering on the light frames and a new flat frame set along with a bias set allowing Siril to do its thing with the whole bunch. Produced an initial integrated stack in just two minutes so that was impressive use of my main desktop running an AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Six-Core Processor 3.60 GHz and 16gig memory. The result seems superior to DSS images from the past, though I am now more convinced my coma corrector is lacking. The star spikes have a double edge to them which I am finding in the forums a weakness of the Baader 2″ MPCC Mark III along with the arrows near the edges.


Western California Nebula  

The sky is dark with just a sliver of a moon setting in the evening and our smokey skies fairly clear for a short time, so I set up to image and found the Dumbell Nebula a solid target for a little over 2 hours of 360 second frames. Each time revisiting  a target like this is a small step forward in my experience and of course some great time under the night sky. On this occasion I had a pair of new 10×50 binoculars to scout the heavens and our human creations streaming by. Reminders of the eternal and the transient reality.


Dumbell Nebula

The Lagoon Nebula is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius is classified as an emission nebula. Discovered by Giovanni Hodierna before 1654 it is one of only two star-forming nebulae faintly visible to the eye from mid-northern latitudes. This is rather low in the southern sky for me and not the best part of the sky to collect images most nights. I took a chance at getting enough clean frames and I am so impressed at the result! 

One hour 25 minutes of 300 second frames at ISO800. Warm temperatures but near new moon and rather clear air for this time of year. Very little smoke or moisture interfering with the horizon.

Lagoon Nebula

This was an attempt to get some detail from a region between the prominent East Veil and West Veil filaments. I did not get a lot of results despite compiling over two hours of 300 second frames. The star field was unexpectedly dense and bright making the post processing push heavy handed to get these results. Near new moon and very warm still night were in my favor though.

Veil Nebula

I did this run last month and was not happy with the stacked image. I could not see obvious nebulosity so I knew it would need to be pushed a lot. Kinda made me want a new camera as in one that could pick up the Ha and less noise. This is designated as NGC6823 and it CAN have some cool detail but this image is not much to talk about. Here for history is 21 frames at 300 seconds for 1 hour 45 minutes of dense stars and faint nebula.


Last night was a great night under the stars. Warm summer air is not the best temperature for my stock DSLR imaging, but the air was clear, dry and stable with no moonlight. The North America Nebula was well positioned for a good run and the dark sky would help with my unfiltered equipment. I ran 240 second exposures with good tracking for a total integrated time of 2 hours and 16 minutes using only dithering for noise management. I was also keeping an eye on comet Neowise which was not as bright as I had hoped for but nice views with binoculars and our Orion 130ST telescope.

North America Nebula

Another year and my gaze turns to the lovely Pleiades cluster. This is hard for me to image because of the very bright stars and the diffraction spikes and the associated “star” artifacts. I lowered my sub exposure time to 120 seconds but next time I should go even lower. More subs is a good thing especially when dithering like I am. There is 1 hour 50 minutes here, or 55 exposures combined here.

From November first, NGC 1333 is a reflection nebula located in the constellation Perseus. Scattered clouds cut the session short so this one only has an hour and twelve minutes of combined five minute subs. the individual images were not impressive so this one got stretched quite a bit and shows some blotchy space, but this seems like a good target to come back to one day for more!

Looks like I did this one in 2017 so it was time for another visit! About two hours of integration on this image with 240 second subs at ISO 800. Image is cropped in a bit as this is a smaller target. Worth the look at full resolution by clicking on the picture below. At a distance of about 1227 light years and a visual magnitude of 7.5 it is easily visible in binoculars, and a popular observing target in amateur telescopes.

From NASA:

“Spotted by Charles Messier in 1764, M27 was the first planetary nebula ever discovered. The term “planetary nebula” is a bit of a misnomer based on the nebula’s round, planet-like appearance when viewed through smaller telescopes. The nebula is the result of an old star that has shed its outer layers in a glowing display of color.”