From the 9th.  I took a while looking for a target and settled on this one low to the North East. We had some breeze and the air was a bit unstable. Along with the warm summer air the stacked image was dissapointing with hardly any visible nebula and significant noise. So after a lot of noise reduction this is what I could pull out. At my imaging scale it did not all fit in the frame, but enough to give the namesake appearance!

From Wikipedia:

The Heart Nebula is located in the constellation Cassiopeia. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1787 This is an emission nebula showing glowing ionized hydrogen gas and darker dust lanes.

The nebula’s intense red output and its configuration are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars near the nebula’s center. This open cluster of stars known as Melotte 15 contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, and many more dim stars that are only a fraction of our Sun’s mass.

Heart Nebula

     Low in the southern sky, this is my first run at imaging the popular Trifid Nebula. Almost two hours of 400 second subs brought this image to life. The seeing so low in the sky is generally not so good, but last night the sky was rather clear. This has been cropped by about half of my full imaging scale. 

From http://www.messier-objects.com/messier-20-trifid-nebula/   :

The name Trifid refers to its three-lobed appearance. Messier 20 consists of several different objects: an emission nebula, a reflection nebula, a dark nebula and an open star cluster.

The dark nebula, catalogued as Barnard 85, consists of dust clouds that absorb and block light from the bright objects behind them. It is responsible for the apparent gaps in the larger emission nebula that give M20 its trifurcated look.

The other two types of nebulae – emission and reflection – make M20 glow in different colours in images.

Emission nebulae are energised by the ultraviolet light of nearby stars and usually appear red in photographs. These nebulae are clouds of extremely hot hydrogen gas and usually regions where new stars are being formed. The light of the stars illuminates the surrounding clouds, ionizing photons in large portions of the clouds.

Messier 20 is a popular target for amateur astronomers as it is quite bright, even when seen through a small telescope. It has an apparent magnitude of 6.3 and lies at an approximate distance of 5,200 light years, or 1,600 parsecs, from Earth. M20 has a linear diameter of over 40 light years and is only 300,000 years old.

Trifid Nebula

      I was able to capture well over two hours of 5 minute subs to compile this region. Using an unmodified DSLR, I do not pick up much of the hydrogen alpha emissions found in this type of nebula, but it is a dramatic and beautiful target. The processing was complicated for me by the profusion of small stars which are brought up in brightness along with the faint nebulosity. I am starting to look forward to the day I can afford better software to process data like this. Also I would like to try incorporating narrow band data even if it is captured with my stock DSLR. Most serious imagers would scoff at this technique, but us shoestring astronomers have to be willing to be non conformists. The data can be captured in large part, just not efficiently.

From Wikipedia:

The Veil Nebula is a cloud of heated and ionized gas and dust in the constellation Cygnus, a large but relatively faint supernova remnant. The source supernova exploded circa 3,000 BC to 6,000 BC, and the remnants have since expanded to cover an area roughly 3 degrees in diameter (about 6 times the diameter, or 36 times the area, of the full Moon). The distance to the nebula is  about 1,470 light-years. This is also one of the largest, brightest features in the x-ray sky.

Western Veil Nebula

       Last night the sky was perfect around midnight and I was imaging very well. I thought I could go for a long time, but by 1:30 the moon was up and before long my subs were starting to get washed out. I could have kept going but the magic dark hour was gone so I called it a night. My second sub and several others had satellites crossing the five minute exposures, but the stacking program nixed that data I hope. After tossing a few low scoring frames I put together one hour twenty minutes integrated time for this result. For my setup and Photoshop skill level I am happy with the final cropped result.

      This is known as the Cocoon Nebula, which combines a star cluster, an emission nebula, a reflection nebula, and the vertical “tail” of a dark nebula. Surprising how short the dark time was last night before the moonrise started to dilute the imaging. One hour twenty minutes total image time.

Cocoon Nebula

     I have not been out a lot due to cloudy weather, and on this night (the 14th) I thought it had cleared to a wonderful dark clear evening only to have the clouds come in all too soon. in all this left me with just four sub frames of 300 seconds each for only 20 minutes of data. Still, I processed what I had and here are the results! This region will give me more to do for sure as soon as the weather cooperates. 

The East Veil Nebula is a hot plasma emission nebula producing beautiful colors from ionized hydrogen, sulfur and oxygen. The remnants of a supernova though to have occurred five to eight thousand years ago. The image here is just a fraction of the whole system which lies some 1,500 light years away, yet spans a portion of the sky 6 times the diameter of the moon! 

 

Veil Nebula

    The Pelican Nebula is seen near the top of this image from last night along with more of the American Nebula it is a part of. I managed 1 hour 33 minutes of integration time with 200 second subs. As usual I am not so sure of the post processing but I pushed it to make it interesting. The vertical band through a minor star in the Pelican was obvious in the subs as I was imaging but I think this is an artifact. I actually processed out vertical banding to minimize this. There is often something which puzzles the shot that can be more trouble than it is worth to track down. It does not seem to be real, as I don’t see this in other peoples images on the web. I have had some vertical anomalies before, so I think it is my camera doing something crazy! After all it is just a normal DSLR so it is not exactly designed for Astrophotography.

 

Pelican in Cygnus

    I was just looking for a target in the dark area of my sky for the short time between dusk and moon rise. I cam across this region searching in Stellarium, and was surprised it had no common designation. Captured around 1.5 hr of data to produce this image from the depths of the milky way, A myriad of colorful stars stand out from the thousands in this image. Astrometry found 4686 stars to work with identifying the center position as:

RA 19hr 59m 48sec
Dec +35deg 24m 46sec

    The brightest star is the crook of the neck of Cygnus designated “n” or the abreviated “n Cyg”. It can also be described as the southern star of the “northern cross” which makes the body of the Swan. At the northern end of the cross is the better known star, Deneb. The Crescent Nebula lies just north of this region.

Bright star is “n Cygnus”

 

      The Iris Nebula is a reflection nebula in the constellation Cepheus that I was able to image on the 24th. The moon was bright so I was looking for targets in the North East for the darkest skies. I got 22 subs at 240 seconds with ISO 800 but the tracking was only fair. Transparency was not the best and a bit of breeze caused some shifting I think. That and or “chasing seeing” where the guide scope image is wavering around. It still just amazes me what can be pulled from the data I start with. Never give up on washed out subs!

I need to try adding a little more distance to my Coma Corrector as it still shows under-correction toward the corners, but some of that is tracking. Some images I adjust a bit using the lens distort effect in Photoshop but not on this one. You can tell because it will distort the angle of the diffraction spikes across the field when software corrected.

Iris Nebula wide field

 

      As the night went on, tracking improved as the target moved nearly straight overhead. Guiding was around 0.80 arc seconds RMS toward the end of the run. At first it was around 1.30 which was disappointing. I did tweak the settings in PHD2 which may have helped a little but mostly it is just the better viewing near zenith I think. Around 2 hours total in this stack. I should try a smaller stack of the better frames and see if it gives more detail. Of course I am just using some very basic post processing in Photoshop with help from some actions and AstroFlat Pro so my data could be worked harder.

From the web site messier-objects.com :

Messier 108 (M108), nicknamed the Surfboard Galaxy, is a barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation  Ursa Major.

The galaxy lies at an approximate distance of 45.9 million light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 10.7. It has the designation NGC 3556 in the New General Catalogue.

Messier 108 occupies an area of 8.7 by 2.2 arc minutes of apparent sky, corresponding to a spatial diameter of 110,000 light years. The galaxy is inclined 75 degrees to our line of sight. Even though it appears almost edge-on, M108 is a popular target among amateur astronomers and astrophotographers because details of its structure can be seen even in amateur telescopes. The galaxy is easy to find as it lies only 1.5 degrees southeast of the magnitude 2.37 star Merak, Beta Ursae Majoris, one of the Pointer Stars in the  Big Dipper . M108 appears in the same wide field of view with the  Owl Nebula  (M97), which is located only 48 arc minutes southeast of the galaxy.  The best time of year to observe M108 is during the spring.

M108 on the top and M97 near the bottom