From July 28th I captured this nebula low in the southern sky. Despite what seemed unsettled air and not the best guiding, the 1 hour 20 minutes of 5 minute subs combined for a nice presentation. A very warm evening with a few shooting stars and near new moon darkness. So nice to out in!
The Omega Nebula – M17 – is visible through binoculars and glorious in a low power telescope. It’s one of our galaxy’s vast star-forming regions. Barely visible to the unaided eye on a dark , moonless night, Messier 17 – aka the Omega Nebula – is best seen through binoculars or low power on a telescope. It’s very near another prominent nebula known as Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula , home nebula of the famous Pillars of Creation photograph. These two closely-knit patches of haze readily fit within the same binocular field of view.
How to see M17. If you want to see deep-sky objects like this one, learn to recognize the constellation Sagittarius the Archer. It’s located in the direction of the center of our Milky Way galaxy; many beautiful star clusters and nebulae can be found in this part of the sky. Luckily, this constellation contains an easy-to-find star pattern, or asterism, in the shape of a teapot. From the legendary Teapot asterism in Sagittarius, it’s fairly easy to star-hop to the Omega Nebula and its companion nebula, M16.
From the Teapot, draw an imaginary line from the star Kaus Austrinus and pass just east (left) of the star Kaus Media to locate M16 and M17. These two nebulae are close together and located about one fist-width above the Teapot.
As seen from the Northern Hemisphere, the Teapot, M16 and M17 are summertime objects. They’re highest up when due south on late August evenings.
When you look at either M16 or M17, you’re gazing at deep-sky wonders in the next spiral arm inward: the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The M17 Omega Nebula is thought to be around 5,000 light-years away.
I was able to put together just over two hours of five minute subs to come up with this image. Still very little nebula data to work with and the warm weather limits noise reduction but better results than I had two years ago. The Crescent Nebula is a faint emission nebula in the constellation of Cygnus. Shining at magnitude +7.4 and around 5000 light years out, it will require at least an 8″ telescope to see anything visually. In this photo I am only getting the brightest parts in the visual light range.
Low in the southern sky I captured the Eagle Nebula on the 26th with 300 second subs. This image combined exposure time was 1 hour 50 minutes at ISO 800 on a nice dark night. The crop image details the core of this nebula while the wider view is only slightly cropped from my full image at scale.
From Wikipedia edited:
The Eagle Nebula is part of a diffuse emission nebula. This region of active current star formation is about 7000 light-years distant. A spire of gas that can be seen coming off the nebula in the northeastern part is approximately 9.5 light-years or about 90 trillion kilometers long.
The cluster associated with the nebula has approximately 8100 stars, which are mostly concentrated in a gap in the molecular cloud to the north-west of the Pillars. The brightest star is actually a binary star with a mass of roughly 80 solar masses, and a luminosity up to 1 million times that of the Sun.
Images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995 greatly improved scientific understanding of processes inside the nebula. One of these photographs became famous as the “Pillars of Creation”, depicting a large region of star formation.
This is a faint Nebula and the scale of it is much larger than my current telescope can fit in, but I managed to push what data I captured into some reasonable representation. Located in Scorpius, this is a blue reflection nebula powered by the bright star “Nu Scorpii” in the eye of the horsehead.
Almost one year ago to the date I imaged this nebula with twice as many sub exposures but at a shorter exposure time. In this case I stacked 10 subs at 6 minutes each on a dark night with a bit of a breeze. Tracking was nothing to brag about but the stacked image seemed decent. I have learned much more in the processing side of this hobby and my third run through Photoshop resulted in a nice image shared here. Not a lot of the surrounding dark parts brought out in this version but a vibrant and detailed core I think.
Below is the original stack image pre processing for comparison.
It has been a long time since my last post! With a cloudy winter and a couple of missed clear nights I have not been out at the telescope much. Even in the Fall, several nights did not produce anything worth processing. Soooo….
Finally had several clear nights to get set up and back in action. First night had a few clouds and managed to get polar alignment and software updates taken care of. The next night was lot very clear in the first part of the night so I gave up right away. Last night however the sky was clear, the dew dropped early with the fast temperature drop, and by the time I got out to uncover the scope conditions were very good. Even though the Rosette was going to cross the meridian, I lit it run without flipping for nearly two hours. The following image was the result of 15 six minute subs with the sensor readout at 2 degrees Celsius for most of the subs. Air temperature was around 15 Fahrenheit. Even though this target was somewhat low in the southern sky it showed well in the subs and I was pleased with the result.
5000 light years away, the Rosette Nebula contains a cluster of 2500 young stars formed from the cloud. The most active region has plasma thought to be 100 to 1000 times hotter than a typical nebula we see as red light from hydrogen emissions. This nebula is some 130 light years across.