Month: January 2022

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

Comet C/2019 Y4 Atlas

The comet C/2019 Y4 Atlas was possible to spot in the constellation Lynx nearly two years ago (April 2020). This comet was discovered on 28th December 2019 by Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System. The trajectory of the comet is suspiciously similar to another comet C/1844 Y1, which visited us nearly two centuries ago. Most probably it’s a fragment of the old visitor and the next opportunity to see this comet will occur in the year 2194.

It looks like a droplet drifting through the space. The picture was taken as the first light of the new telescope TS-Optics 150 mm f/2.8 hyperbolic Astrograph. This telescope disappointed me in its optical quality. So, don’t look at the stars in the corners. Postprocessing was quite tricky, but I somehow learned how to do it. In total, I stacked 44 exposures, each 3 minutes long, which means slightly more than 2 hours of integration time.

TelescopeTS-Optics 150 mm f/2.8 hyperbolic Astrograph
Aperture150 mm
Focal length420 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10°C
Corrector2.5" coma corrector
Filtersno
Exposure44x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-04-15

Comet C/2017 T2 PANSTARRS

I missed the most prominent comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) in 2021 due to permanent, constant, ever-lasting bad weather. In the last 3 months, I was able to see the star only through the holes in the clouds (except one night during our winter vacation in Laax). At least I have time to process the old data I took a long time ago. In 2020 I took pictures of two comets and here is one of them. It’s called C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) and on the 25th of May 2020 was possible to spot it, roaming in the constellation Ursa Major.

I was postponing the processing very long time because the comets are the most difficult object to process. There is a fixed background of the stars and deep space objects and the comet is slightly moving across the field. This means that the pictures must be registered twice and merged together afterward. Since I have plenty of time now, I was able to experiment, and here is the final image:

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length1060 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10°C
CorrectorExplore Scientific HR coma corrector
Filtersno
Exposure34x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-05-25

Chasing darkness in Switzerland 2021 – Flims Laax

I haven’t been able to photograph the stars for a very long time. I live in a valley where many rivers flow, which brings a lot of moisture into the air. This moisture condenses, which forms either fog or clouds. I was sick of this weather and decided to climb above the clouds and finally take some pictures. Like last year I chose Berghaus Nagens in Flims/Laax ski resort and combine this trip with a skiing vacation. So, how was it? Well, I have bad luck this year. I got only a single cloudless night out of five. Moreover, it was the last one. So, I was not able to photograph the whole night and around midnight I had to pack the gear.

There is a time wrap made by GoPro Hero 8 Black. A view to the south direction. Orion is rising, snowcats are preparing the slopes and the only light pollution comes from city Milan, which is 100 km away.

The primary target was a very difficult one – IC 2118 Witch Head Nebula. This reflection nebula is illuminated by the supergiant star Rigel (right leg of the Orion constellation). The dark skies are the essence and the Askar mini telescope did the job. However, I was surprised how terrible was the chromatic aberration. This can be partially corrected in postprocessing, but not fully. I think I will have to find a better scope.

LensAskar FMA180 F4.5
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
Exposure35x180s, ISO 1600
Date2021-12-30

Before the Orion constellation rose up, I captured the M45 Pleiades. It’s an integration of 63 frames each 2 minutes long. Here, the dark skies reveal some dark nebulae in the visual surroundings of the star cluster. Again, I was quite disappointed by the chromatic aberration of the Askar telescope.

LensAskar FMA180 F4.5
CameraCanon EOS 6Da
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
Exposure62x120s, ISO 1600
Date2021-12-30