Category: H II nebula

M16 Eagle nebula

I am back home from Namibia, so I took the opportunity of a cloudless, moonless night to take my big Newtonian for a spin. The most prominent summer deep space object is obviously the Eagle nebula, so I pointed the telescope in the constellation Serpens and photographed this DSO whole night long. In total, I captured 64 images, each 5 minutes long.

Here is the “fake” Hubble color palette (SII, Ha, OIII):

And here is bi-color version (Ha, OIII, OIII):

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorMaxField coma corrector
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure64x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-07-03

NGC 6188 Rim Nebula

NGC 6188 is sometimes called The Fighting Dragons of Ara. As a fan of Game of Thrones or Hobit, I simply had to capture this beauty. Two dragons are clearly visible in the middle. Their heads are illuminated by the open cluster NGC 6193. I knew that this nebula is dim, so I dedicated a lot of time to it. Specifically, I stacked 86 narrow band pictures, each 5 minutes long.

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure86x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-30

And here is a photo of the same object, just with a shorter focal length.

TelescopeWilliam Optics RedCat 51/250 f4.9
Aperture51 mm
Focal length250 mm
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
AutoguidingZWO 178MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope 30/130 mm
CameraZWO ASI071 MC Pro @-10 °C
FiltersAntlia Dual Band 5 nm
Exposure72x300s, ISO 1600
Date2022-06-01

NGC 6357 Lobster Nebula NGC 6334 Cat’s Paw Nebula

Both Lobster and Cat’s Pas nebulae are located in the constellation Scorpius, both are approximately 5’500 light-years from us. I tried to photograph the Lobster Nebula before, but it wasn’t an easy target due to very low southern declination. From the southern hemisphere, it is much easier. So I took the opportunity when I was in Namibia and tried to capture both nebulae in one shot.

The composition of this picture was not correctly selected, but in the end, both are in the field of view. Here is the picture processed in the “fake” Hubble palette:

And here is the bi-color version (R-Ha, G-OIII, B-OIII)

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure62x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-06-01

NGC 2060 Tarantula Nebula

Our galaxy Milky Way is surrounded by two dwarf galaxies. Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) and Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). SMC I captured recently by the relatively short focal length of 250 mm. LMC is much larger, so it wouldn’t fit into the field of view of my 94 mm refractor. However, LMC is full of very interesting objects, just like the Tarantula Nebula. I used the HaLRGB technique to make the nebulosity pop.

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia HaLRGB
Exposure16x180s HaL, 10x180s RGB, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-31

IC 4628 Prawn Nebula

IC 4628, also called Prawn Nebula is an HII region in the constellation Scorpius. Due to very low southern declination, it is badly visible even from southern Europe. A better place to observe/photograph this deep space object is obviously the southern hemisphere. For example in Namibia, where this beautiful nebula rises very high in the sky. The open cluster on the left side is called the Northen Juwel box cluster.

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure39x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-31

IC 2944 Running Chicken Nebula

IC 2944 Running Chicken Nebula is an H II region located in the constellation Centaurus. It’s a galactic neighbor of the Carina Nebula because they both belong to the Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. I must admit that this was my secondary nebula target for my trip to Namibia. Therefore, I didn’t dedicate much time – only 3 hours. However, the details popped out, so overall, I am happy with this “fake” Hubble palette picture.

And here is an even more “fake” picture, where the stars are completely removed. However, the nebulosity gained a 3D-like look.

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure36x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-29

Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex

The brightest orange star is the Antares, which represents the head of the constellation Scorpius. This star has surrounded all kinds of nebulae – dark, reflection, emission. Basically, nearly all the colors of the universe can be seen here.

TelescopeWilliam Optics RedCat 51/250 f4.9
Aperture51 mm
Focal length250 mm
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
AutoguidingZWO 178MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope 30/130 mm
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
Filtersnone
Exposure60x120s, ISO 1600
Date2022-05-29

NGC 3372 Eta Carina Nebula

Eta Carina Nebula is the southern hemisphere’s most prominent deep space object. In fact, this nebula is the reason why I packed all my portable astro-gear and flew to Namibia. Carina is approximately 4x brighter than the Orion nebula, which could be considered a highlight of the northern hemisphere. Moreover, it’s much larger. The nebula is a combination of emission and dark nebulae, located in the constellation Carina and it’s roughly 8500 light-years away from us.

It was a struggle to get the rig working in Namibia, but after two nights I managed and the next day, when I processed the pictures, a big smile appeared on my face. Well done, mission accomplished.

During our stay at Kiripotib Namibia, the other guest rented a 14.5-inch Dobsonian telescope and allowed us to have a look at the Carina (thank you so much, Peter). It was a simply spectacular view. Such a huge aperture combined with TeleVue eyepieces – WOW effect was there. Moreover, the Dobsonian had a filter wheel with OIII, UHC, and H-beta filters. Just by turning it, one could see a completely different nebulosity. I was really happy to see this beautiful deep space object with my own eyes.

Here is the processed picture in the Hubble color palette.

Here I completely removed the stars by StarNet++

And here is bi-color version (R-Ha, G-OIII, B-OIII)

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure87x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-05-27

NGC2264 Cone nebula

The Cone Nebula is a molecular cloud of excited hydrogen gas, located in the constellation Monoceros. It belongs to the group of nebulae, which can be observed/photographed during the winter in the northern hemisphere. I tried to capture this object a long time ago without success. I must say, it’s a very difficult one, so I attempted this time with new equipment. Specifically new extra, super, mega narrowband filters, having a bandwidth of only 3 nm. Combined with a small 6″ Newtonian telescope I was able to generate a pretty decent picture.

Here is a fake Hubble palette edit:

And here is a more natural-looking bi-color edit:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorMaxField coma corrector
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure142x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-03-09

NGC2174 Monkey Head Nebula

Another nebula, which resembles a head of an animal is designated NGC 2174, sometimes called Monkey Head Nebula. After capturing the Horse Head Nebula in the constellation Orion, I waited for a few days for good weather and pointed my telescope again into the Orion, this time to its northern part. Monkey Head Nebula is an HII region, which is approximately 6400 light-years away from Earth. To find a monkey is not that difficult. There is a baboon’s head on the upper left side, which is looking into the constellation Taurus.

The best way to capture this nebula is by using narrowband filters. For this purpose, I ordered a new monochrome camera ZWO 2600MM with a 2″ filter wheel. The filters are equally important as a camera, so I decided on Antlia 3 nm. As a first light, I must say that this combination works really well. I made in total 90 exposures, 5 minutes each, which means over 7 hours of integration time.

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 2600MM @-10°C
CorrectorMaxField coma corrector
FiltersAntlia Ha, OIII, SII 3 nm
Exposure90x300s, Gain 100, bin 1x1,
Date2022-03-06

B33 HORSEHEAD NEBULA

Horsehead nebula is IMHO the most beautiful deep space object. It is located in the constellation Orion. Everybody knows this constellation because it can be easily identified by three aligned stars (Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka), which forms the belt of the Orion.

The nebula is very dim. Therefore, visual observation is nearly impossible, unless you have a telescope, having at least 1 meter in diameter. To photograph it, one needs a very long exposure time. I used 5 minutes per image and I took 36 of them. The nebula complex is visually very large, so the optimal focal length should be shorter than 750 mm. I used a Newtonian telescope with a focal length of 1000 mm but reduced to 750 mm by the Nexus coma corrector. It turns the Newtonian into a light-collecting bucket, but the quality suffers from that. The stars in the corners are everything, but round. Moreover, I used dual-band filter Optolong L-eXtreme, which increased the contrast of the nebula, but also made the asymmetric halo around the bright stars. I played a bit with the white balance and pushed the colors into the orange tint, to reach the warmer feeling in cold February.

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length750 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10°C
CorrectorNexus coma corrector
FiltersOptolong l-eXtreme
Exposure36x300s, Gain 95, bin 1x1,
Date2022-02-09

IC2177 Seagull Nebula

I am not a huge fan of birding, but I captured this “Seagull” with pleasure. Initially, I noticed on my wide-angle photo, that there is a giant nebula north of Sirius. I checked in Stellarium what would be the optimal focal length and found out that this is a perfect target for William Optics RedCat combined with an APS-C sensor. Moreover, I was able to fit the M50 open cluster into the field of view (on the left side).

TelescopeWilliam Optics RedCat 51/250 f4.9
Aperture51 mm
Focal length250 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 178MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope 30/130 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10°C
Correctorno
FiltersOptolong L-eXtreme 2"
Exposure85x180s, gain 95
Date2022-01-23

NGC1499 California Nebula

California Nebula is a cloud of ionized hydrogen gas (HII region), which can be found in the constellation Perseus. The nebula is 1320 light-years away from Earth and it is 100 light-years long. Visual observation is very difficult, due to very low brightness. The first person who spotted this nebula was Edward Emerson Barnard in 1885. Since it is an emission nebula, it can be relatively easily photographed even under the light-polluted sky, with help of a narrowband filter.

I always wanted to capture this nebula, but the focal length must be relatively short. This is a perfect opportunity to test the William Optics RedCat. This time not with Canon EOS 6Da, but I attached a cooled astro camera ZWO ASI071 and placed the Optolong L-eXtreme dual-band filter.

TelescopeWilliam Optics RedCat 51/250 f4.9
Aperture51 mm
Focal length250 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 178MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope 30/130 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10°C
Correctorno
FiltersOptolong L-eXtreme 2"
Exposure105x180s, gain 95
Date2022-01-23

NGC2237 Rosette Nebula

A second deep space object, on which I tested the combination of Canon 6Da with WO RedCat was the NGC 2237 Rosette Nebula (a short description can be found in my previous post). The field of view of this telescope, combined with a full-frame sensor of 6Da is huge. The Rosette on the left can be simultaneously captured with the Cone Nebula NGC 2264 (on the left). I simply love this scope and I cannot wait to test it under the dark sky in broadband.

TelescopeWilliam Optics RedCat 51/250 f4.9
Aperture51 mm
Focal length250 mm
MountiOptron SkyGuider Pro
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
Correctorno
FiltersOptolong L-eXtreme 2"
Exposure42x180s, Iso 1600
Date2022-01-12

IC1396 Elephant Trunk Nebula

I have a new toy. Motivated by a quite bad experience with ASKAR 180 FMA and its chromatic aberration I started to search for a better pocket-size telescope. To decide which one was quite simple. I would say there is nothing sharper and nothing with a better reputation than William Optics RedCat 51mm. The detailed comparison with ASKAR will come a bit later. This is the first light, where I tested the portable setup – iOptron Skyguider on a tripod, Canon 6Da, and the RedCat. The Moon was shining like crazy, therefore I attached the dual narrow band filter Optolong L-eXtreme filter. After 3 hours of collecting the filtrated photons, a pretty nice picture came out of it. I took this DSO using the same camera combined with the ASKAR 180FMA (link) but in broadband. Therefore, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. However, the RedCat looks much sharper and it contains more details. I cannot wait to test the RedCat under dark skies.

TelescopeWilliam Optics RedCat 51/250 f4.9
Aperture51 mm
Focal length250 mm
MountiOptron SkyGuider Pro
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraCanon 6Da
Correctorno
FiltersOptolong L-eXtreme 2"
Exposure62x180s, Iso 1600
Date2022-01-12

IC1805 Heart Nebula and IC1848 Soul Nebula

One of the last deep space objects I captured on Crete are two visually large nebulae. And these are IC1805 Heart Nebula and IC 1848 Soul Nebula. Both are very dim objects, therefore I set the shutter speed of the Canon EOS 6Da camera to 3 minutes and let it capture the light shooting from the constellation Perseus the whole night long. Even NGC 884 869 Double Cluster fit in the field of view.

Technical details:

LensAskar FMA180 F4.5
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
Exposure50x180s, ISO 1600
Date2021-07-12

Cygnus

I went to Crete without a detailed plan on which deep space objects to capture. The primary target was Rho Ophiuchi, which I captured really well. Then I started to think about the next objects. Obviously, if you are in a dark place, you can point your camera nearly anywhere. However, there are some regions full of stars and deep space objects. For example constellation Cygnus, which is sometimes called the Northern Cross. It is located visually on the plane of the Milky Way galactic disk, therefore there are many deep space objects.

Let’s have a look at a wide-field picture captured by a 24 mm lens attached to Canon EOS 6Da:

Let’s zoom a bit by changing the lens to a 50 mm focal length. Here the constellation is perfectly centered:

Let’s zoom further to the central star Sadr by change of the lens to 180 mm focal length:

Let’s keep the focal length 180 mm and let’s have a look at the left star Deneb and very famous North America nebula:

Again, let’s keep the focal length 180 mm and change to perspective to the bottom (eastern) star Aljanah, where the beautiful supernova remnant the Veil nebula is located:

In total, the camera collected 15.5 hours of light and I am happy with the result.


IC1396 Elephant’s Trunk nebula

Elephant’s Trunk nebula is an emission nebula located in constellation Cepheus. I tried to capture this magnificent nebula in 2017 and in 2018, but it never fit in the field of view of my camera-telescope assembly. This time I used a focal length of only 180 mm, combined with a large full-frame sensor. Well, and finally it fits. Moreover, even the B174 dark nebula at the bottom left corner found the spot on the sensor. The picture was taken under a very dark Cretan sky.

Technical details:

LensAskar FMA180 F4.5
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
Exposure159x120s, ISO 1600
Date2021-07-08

Rho Ophiuchi region

Rho Ophiuchi is in my opinion the most beautiful assembly of the nebulae in the universe. Blue, red, and orange colors are combined to create this magnificent cloud complex. The dominant yellow star Antares (Alpha Scorpii) is a red supergiant, one of the largest visible stars. The star Alniyat (Sigma Scorpii) is surrounded by ionized hydrogen gas. Between these two stars is the M4 globular cluster, which I captured on Fuerteventura. The blue nebula is Rho Ophiuchi, also captured by me earlier.

In order to capture the whole beauty, one has to use a relatively short focal length (I used 180 mm), combined with a large sensor area (I used full frame 36×24 mm), and take the shots at a very dark location. This was my primary target during our trip to Crete 2021 and I am very happy that I finally got it framed. However, there is another beautiful nebula called Blue Horsehead in the visual vicinity and if I would turn the camera 90°, I would manage to capture it. So, there is a target for my next expedition.

Technical details:

LensAskar FMA180 F4.5
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
Exposure38x120s, ISO 1600
Date2021-07-07

M8 Lagoon nebula M20 Trifid nebula

Constellation Sagittarius is full of deep space objects. I think we all agree that the most beautiful one is the Lagoon nebula, accompanied by the Trifid nebula. I captured these nebulae already, but with a much longer focal length. This time I used a significantly shorter telescope – only 180 mm to reveal the other deep space objects. The bright star at the bottom left is the star Kaus Bolearis, where the archer has his head. This star is surrounded by the globular clusters: M22 Great Sagittarius cluster on the left and M28 on the top.

Technical details:

LensAskar FMA180 F4.5
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
Exposure50x60s, ISO 1600
Date2021-07-03