Month: August 2020

NGC6888 Crescent Nebula

Another cloudless night and I decided to test the IDAS NB1 filter again This time on Crescent Nebula, located in constellation Cygnus. The nebulosity was captured well and it’s comparable to the narrow band image I captured a long time ago. However, the bright stars are surrounded by ugly reflections. I am not sure it’s due to the MaxField coma corrector or the filter. Next time I will try with ExploreScientific coma corrector and we will see.

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-5°C
CorrectorMaxField coma corrector
FiltersIDAS NB1 Nebula Filter
Exposure103x180s, Gain 95, bin 1x1,
Date2020-08-20

NGC7000 North America Nebula

After capturing the Eagle Nebula, I was searching for another nebula to test the new IDAS NB1 filter and I picked NGC7000 North America Nebula, switched on autoguiding, and went to sleep. The next morning I processed 138 pictures, each 3 minutes long. Well, I must say that this filter is a very good option for astrophotography in light-polluted locations.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-5°C
CorrectorMaxField coma corrector
FiltersIDAS NB1 Nebula Filter
Exposure138x180s, Gain 95, bin 1x1,
Date2020-08-10

M16 Eagle Nebula

Eagle Nebula is probably the most known deep space object, due to one picture from the Hubble Space Telescope. The pillars of creation were detected, where the new stars are born. I already captured this nebula by using narrowband filters and a monochrome camera. This time I used a different approach – one-shot color camera + new IDAS NB1 Nebula Filter. This filter should completely suppress the light pollution from sodium lamps and partially from LED lamps, passing the most interesting wavelength of H-alpha, OIII, and H-beta. In my opinion, it works well even in my light-polluted home.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-5°C
CorrectorMaxField coma corrector
FiltersIDAS NB1 Nebula Filter
Exposure82x180s, Gain 95, bin 1x1,
Date2020-08-09

Chasing darkness on Fuerteventura

This year was a special year. The pandemic outbreak ruined my first attempt of darkness chasing on the Canary Islands in May. I didn’t give up and as soon the restrictions were released, I purchased plane tickets to Fuerteventura again. We rented a house via AirBnB on the south side of the island, in the middle of nowhere, where the light pollution supposed to be minimal (measured SQM 21.2).

The island lies on the 28th parallel, which makes the core of the Milky Way pretty up in the sky. And this was exactly my primary astrophotographic target. I packed recently astro-modified Canon 6D, nifty-fifty 50 mm f1.8 lens and headed south. The aim was to capture the Antares region together with the core of the Milky Way and in the end, I somehow managed.  However, the lens disappointed me a lot, because it suffers from comatic and chromatic aberrations, combined with astigmatism. The stars in the corners are not round, even if the lens is slowed down to f 3.5. I was trying nearly every evening to recapture the Milky Way, but I was fighting with the weather (it was very windy) and with the equipment (polar alignment, shutter release, drained batteries), but I somehow managed to generate at least one decent picture of the desired target. Lessons learned – I need a better 50 mm lens.

Technical details:

LensCanon EF 50 mm f1.8
F-stop2.8
Focal length50 mm
MountBaader NanoTracker
CameraCanon EOS 6D Astro modified
Exposure14x20s, ISO 1600
Date2020-07-22

I also packed 150mm Newtonian, together with my new mount Rainbow Astro RS135. This mount is simply excellent and very portable. I still have Avalon M-Zero, but it is significantly heavier, therefore if I travel with Avalon, I have to order a second suitcase and to travel with two suitcases is not that convenient. Rainbow Astro occupies only half of my luggage, so there was a space for some T-shirts. I must say, that the Avalon is a better mount for tracking and there is no need to do a meridian flip, but the portability is for me more important. The primary target was the Lobster nebula, but I managed to capture some DSOs around Antares and in the core of the Milky Way (Lagoon, Trifid, M4, M6, M7, M24, IC4304)

The conclusion: the weather was much better than in La Palma last year. Every night was cloudless, but it was windy. Fortunately not every day, so in the end, it was a quite successful trip.