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.

From 05/28/2019

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.

Blue 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.

Iris Nebula

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. 

Rosette Nebula

 From last Monday night I had a good clear sky where I was able to get out for a few hours. I was capturing 400 second exposures for a total of 1 hour 40 minutes of integrated time. Using dithering between shots and just flat frames and bias frames for stack calibration, I spent some time in Photoshop to get this final image. Nothing  too spectacular, but I like these kind of targets with my setup while I am trying to use longer exposures. Seems all the clear skies have a big fat moon in the sky lately…. Guess I will have to just look at the moon!



I have not posted in a while being too busy during good seeing conditions for late nights in August, and poor weather in September. The several times I did get out I was not able to capture enough data for good images but if I get time one day I should go back and see what I can do with a few of them. 

I was able to find a good steady night on the 15th with a crescent moon that set early enough to provide very good dark sky conditions. Tracking was going very well and the Pacman Nebula was high in the sky for some great imaging. This represents a somewhat longer run for me with even longer exposures. About 23 frames at 400 seconds each or around 2 1/2 hours total.

The Pacman, also known as NGC281 is a bright emission nebula in the northern constellation of Cassiopeia and is part of the Milky Way. This image is cropped a bit but represents the relatively distortion free field of view with my current setup. I am using the Orion 6″ astrograph reflector at 600mm focal length and my Canon T1i which is still unmodified. This means I don’t get as much of the fainter red nebulosity. Since I am doing very simple processing with Photoshop, my stars are more prominent than would show in a sophisticated process separating the nebula from the star field. This would be a good base image to learn some more processing techniques when I can find the time!

Pacman Nebula


     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