Category: H II nebula

NGC281 Pacman nebula

NGC281 is a HII region, which reminds a head of the main character in very popular game from nineties. It is located in constellation Cassiopeia and it 9500 light-year far from us. This nebula was discovered long time ago by Edward Emerson Barnard and it is possible to observe this nebula by reasonable sized telescope under dark skies. Well, I wouldn’t see probably anything, because I live in light polluted area, therefore I had to use narrow band filters, which block the light pollution.

The picture is composed out of 66 narrow band exposures, which means slightly more than one hour per channel. First one is bi-color composition of hydrogen and oxygen, the others are in Hubble palette (hydrogen in green, oxygen in blue and sulfur in red).

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 254/1000 mm
Aperture:254 mm
Focal length:1000 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingTS 60 mm, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:Moravian instruments G2 8300M @-30C
Corrector:GPU coma corrector
Filters:Baader narrow band
Exposure:8x22xHa, 22xOIII, 22xSII 180 s, bin 1x1,


IC1848 Soul nebula

Soul nebula is a beautiful HII region, where new stars are being born. It’s located in constellation Cassiopeia and it’s 7500 light-years from Earth. The nebula has neighbor Heart Nebula (IC1805). One can say that in this constellation the heart and soul are close to each other.

As usual, I used narrow band filters to capture this spectacular nebula. It didn’t fit into ma field of view; this means I would need shorter focal length.

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 150/600 mm
Aperture:150 mm
Focal length:438 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingTS 60 mm, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:Moravian instruments G2 8300M @-30C
Corrector:ASA 0.73 reducer
Filters:Baader narrow band
Exposure:8x77xHa, 77xOIII, 77xSII 180 s, bin 1x1,

IC5070 Pelican nebula

Pelican nebula is large cloud of hydrogen gas, where many stars are being born, located in constellation Cygnus (Swan). The nebula is approximately 2000 light-years away from Earth. If you use bit of an imagination, you will be able to see the pelican in the dark cloud surrounding the brighter center of the nebula – good luck with searching.

The picture was taken completely by narrow band filters. The first one is in “fake” Hubble palette and second one as a bi-color image (Ha in red channel, OIII in green and blue channel).

Technical details

Telescope:Newton 150/600 mm
Aperture:150 mm
Focal length:438 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingTS 60 mm, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:Moravian instruments G2 8300M @-30C
Corrector:ASA 0.73 reducer
Filters:Baader narrow band
Exposure:8x32xHa, 32xOIII, 32xSII 180 s, bin 1x1,

IC1396 Elephant trunk nebula

Elephant trunk nebula is visually one of the biggest deep space objects in the sky. It covers more than 6 times the diameter of the Moon. I had to use the telescope with the shortest focal length and use focal reducer ASA 0.73. Recently, I managed to improve the picture quality of this reducer by adjustment of the tilt. The nebula can be located in constellation Cepheus, but it cannot be spotted visually because it’s very dim.

I spent 4 nights capturing these photos. In total, there is nearly 19 hours of exposure time. Probably this is my longest integration time I have ever made. The first picture is in fake Hubble colors, second one in more or less visible spectrum colors.


Technical details

Telescope:Newton 150/600 mm
Aperture:150 mm
Focal length:438 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingOrion Mini Autoguider
Camera:Moravian instruments G2 8300M @-30C
Corrector:ASA 0.73 reducer
Filters:Baader narrow band
Exposure:8x125xHa, 125xOIII, 125xSII 180 s, bin 1x1,

M20 Trifid nebula

Trifid nebula is a combination of emission, reflection and dark nebula – pretty unique. It got its name from 3 dark lines across emission (red) part. The lines are dust clouds blocking the light emitted by ionized hydrogen.  It’s possible to observe this nebula, but one needs dark skies and a telescope with aperture at least 120 mm. The nebula can be found in constellation Sagittarius and it’s 5200 light-years far from Earth.

The picture was taken in Gavdos during my first dark sky chasing. The total integration time is only one hour, which is remarkable for such portable setup.

Technical details

Telescope:RC 154/1370
Aperture:154 mm
Focal length:917 mm
MountiOptron CEM25P
AutoguidingQHYCCD miniGuideScope 130 mm f/4.3, ZWO 174 MM
Camera:ZWO 1600 MC @ -15C
Corrector:Astro Physics CCDT67
Filters:UV, IR cut
Exposure:20x 180s Gain 240

NGC6604 Open cluster

NGC6604 is an open cluster associated with nebulosity. It is located not far from my favorite Eagle nebula in constellation Serpens and it’s 5500 light-years far from the Earth. Since this deep space object is not that high on the skies, I rather used narrow band filters, because this part of the skies is strongly influenced by the light pollution, which is coming from the nearest town. First picture is processed in “fake” Hubble color palette, the second one should more or less look like in “true” color.

NGC2264 Cone nebula

Cone nebula is a giant cloud of ionized hydrogen gas, which includes the Christmas Tree Cluster. It’s located between two bright winter stars Betelgeuse (constellation Orion) and Procyon (Canis Minor) and it’s 2700 light-years far from the Solar System. There is a famous picture from Hubble Space telescope of the tip of the cone – star forming complex.

Bi-color picture didn’t look as I expected, therefore I decided to publish only mono version of hydrogen alpha channel.

M42 Great nebula in Orion

I don’t want to repeat myself, therefore the description on the most famous nebula visible from northern hemisphere can be found here.

The previous picture has some strange halo around the bright Hatsya star and I was thinking why. Recently similar picture came out of my telescope and I realized that this strange halo is caused by the frost on the secondary mirror. I manufacture home-made dew shield and I don’t have these problems anymore.

This picture is, as usual, composed out of narrow band pictures. When I look at it I am still not happy, therefore I hope next year will be better weather and I will make a better picture.

NGC7380 Wizard nebula

Wizard nebula is an open cluster associated with nebulosity.  Visually, it has apparent size of the full Moon, but since it’s very far from the Earth (7200 light years), its real diameter is about 100 light years.

So, where is the wizard located? It took me a while to find him, but if you turn your head 90° counter-clockwise, you see two darker hands. It looks like he is trying to grab something. Then above the hands you see the wizard’s conical hat.

First picture is a composition of 3 narrow band pictures (Ha, OIII and SII) and composed in Hubble Space Telescope palette. Second one is more-or less visible spectrum.

ngc7380-wizard-2016-10-06-30c-600s-32x-haoiiisii-fl1000-dbe-proc ngc7380-wizard-2016-10-06-30c-600s-32x-haoiiisii-fl1000-dbe-rgbeq

NGC6820 Nebula

NGC6820 Nebula doesn’t have a name, so let’s call it Hidden octopus nebula (because only one tentacle is visible). Hidden octopus nebula is a giant cloud (50 light years in diameter) of ionized hydrogen alpha gas, where new stars are born. The tentacle forms similar structure just like in more famous M16 Eagle nebula. It’s located in constellation Vulpecula (Little fox) not far from M27 Dumbbell nebula and it’s 6000 light year from Earth.

The picture was processed in bi-color technique. This means: two narrow band pictures, one H alpha and OIII. H alpha inserted into the red channel, OIII into the green and blue one.


M17 – Omega Nebula

Omega Nebula is a giant cloud of the hydrogen gas where new stars are born. It’s around 5000 light years from Solar system and it has 15 light years in diameter. The nebula is located in constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) and it’s the most massive star-forming location in our galaxy. Visual observation is possible, but only with the telescope (medium or big aperture) and from the place with low light pollution.

Since this nebula is visible in summer, there is not enough time to collect enough photons during one night (short nights in summer). Therefore I had to photograph this deep space object several nights (4 in total) and I collected 7.2 hours of the exposure time. Since the light pollution is quite high on the south, I used narrowband filters to collect three channels (H alpha, OIII and SII). I was playing with pixel math and placing partially some narrowband images into Red Green Blue channels and here are the results of my experimentations:

M17-2016-07-05-22Ha32OIII32SII-300s-30C-FL1000-01 M17-2016-07-05-22Ha32OIII32SII-300s-30C-FL1000-RGB M17-2016-07-05-22Ha32OIII32SII-300s-30C-FL1000-SCNR

NGC 6888 – Crescent Nebula

In an emission nebula located in constellation Cygnus (swan), 5000 light years from Earth. The nebula has 25 light years (!) in diameter. This constellation, as well as the nebula is lying on the plane of our home galaxy Milky Way. Therefore there are so many stars visible.

The picture was processed by bi-color technique – this means that the picture is assembled from two narrow band images: hydrogen alpha (Ha) and ionized oxygen (OIII). Ha was inserted into red channel and OIII into green and blue.


NGC2237 Rosette nebula

Another place where the stars are born is called Rosette nebula. It is a cloud of hydrogen gas, located 5000 light years from Earth in constellation Monoceros (unicorn). The diameter of this nebula is 50 light years.

This time I processed collected data by two different ways. Basic data are three monochromatic pictures captured through narrow band filters: Hydrogen alpha, Oxygen OIII and Sulfur SII.

First technique is called Hubble pallet – natural color of H alpha is red, but it’s inserted into green channel, oxygen is blue, therefore ends in blue channel and sulfur is even more “red” than the red color, therefore lands in red channel. After many different post-processing steps the final picture looks like this:


Second technique is more realistic for the human eyes and brain, and requires pixel math. H alpha is red, SII even more, therefore the combination of this pictures (SII + 0.8*H alpha) will end up in red channel. Green channel is a combination of 0.075*H alpha + OIII. Finally blue channel is just OIII.


I am quite curious which picture you like more…

B33 Horsehead Nebula

Horesehead nebula is a dark nebula located in constellation Orion, approximately 1550 light years from Earth. The bright star is on the picture is called Alnitak (eastern star of Orion’s belt). Horsehead shape is a cloud of cold gas, blocking the light coming from ionized hydrogen in the background.

This nebula is my favorite, but it’s not so simple to photograph, due to its dimness. Even with very fast telescope (f-stop 2.8) I had to use quite long exposure times – 6 minutes. The picture was postprocessed by bi-color technique, which means putting 27 H alpha pictures into red channel and 17 OIII pictures into green and blue channel. This was done in Pixinsight software.


M42 Great nebula in Orion

I think everyone knows constellation Orion, but only few people know that there is Great nebula in Orion, visible even by naked eye. It’s located between his belt and legs. The nebula is approximately 1300 light years from earth and it has 24 light years in diameter. Red color shows a lot of hydrogen gas, which is essence for star formation. In fact, the Orion nebula is the closes location from Earth, where the stars are born.

Since this nebula is visible by naked eye, with help of telescope even with sub-urban area, it’s not necessary to use long exposure times. I used just 3 minutes exposures and the picture yielded in nearly overexposed photo. Small nebula on the right side is NGC1973 Running man nebula.


IC1805 Heart nebula

Visual angle (visual size) of this nebula is several times bigger than visual angle/size of the full Moon; therefore I had to use the shortest focal length I have available. For DSOs like that I have small newton telescope with aperture 150 mm and focal length 600 mm. The focal length was reduced by ASA reducer to 438 mm.

Heart nebula is very dim DSO; therefore narrow band is good option to get some contrast. I managed to collect a lot of data for all 3 channels: Ha, OIII and SII. Final picture was composed in Hubble palette. This means OIII goes into blue, Ha in green and SII into red channel.


M16 Eagle nebula

Eagle nebula is a huge cloud of hydrogen gas. Probably the most famous picture of Hubble Space Telescope was taken here – Pillars of Creation. Here we can witness of a creation of new space objects. The hydrogen gas is attracted together and forms spherical object. As soon specific conditions occur, fusion reaction starts and star is born.

Eagle nebula was my first deep space object. However, I am not brave enough to publish my first picture here, because the quality was quite poor. I waited one year and made this picture with new equipment in decent quality. Since M16 is composed mainly from hydrogen alpha and has a little bit of OIII, I chose bi-color image. H alpha was inserted into red channel and OIII into green and blue.