Tag: DSO

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

IC443 Jellyfish nebula

Jellyfish Nebula is a supernova remnant in the constellation Gemini. A very long time ago a supermassive star exploded and emitted a lot of material into space. It is not clear when exactly it happened, but the latest research dates the explosion between a few thousand years and 30’000 years. The shape definitely resembles a jellyfish, having the head at the top and tentacles at the bottom and overall it looks like it floats in the space. It’s interesting how many nebulae have names related to an animal. For example the Seagull Nebula, the Elephant Trunk Nebula, the Eagle Nebula, the Lobster Nebula, the Horsehead Nebula, etc.

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
Exposure48x300s, Gain 95, bin 1x1,
Date2022-02-06

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

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.


M99 Galaxy

This beautiful spiral galaxy is listed under number 99 in Messier’s catalog. It can be visually located during the spring months in the southwest corner of the constellation Coma Berenices. The galaxy has several spiral arms, which are the product of the interaction with another galaxy. This interaction also induced very high angular velocity, which is the highest in Messier’s catalog. Specifically, the outer parts move with a velocity of 1200 km/s with respect to the center of the galaxy.

I dedicated two nights to this galaxy. The telescope was collecting two whole nights the light traveling 45 million light-years. In total, the picture is a stack of 130 single shots, each 3 minutes long.

TelescopeNewton 254/1000 mm
Aperture254 mm
Focal length950 mm
MountGemini G53f
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, TS 60/240 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-10°C
CorrectorMaxField coma corrector
FiltersNo
Exposure130x180s, Gain 95, bin 1x1,
Date2021-04-05

NGC 253 Sculptor Galaxy

Every time when I chase the darkness in southern lands, I try to capture some deep space objects in the southern hemisphere, which are not visible from Central Europe. One of these objects is the Sculptor Galaxy, which can be found, surprisingly, in the constellation Sculptor (south from Aquarius). Here are some features: it is approximately 11 million light-years away from us, it has roughly 90 000 light-years in diameter (similar to Milky Way) and it is characteristic by the intense star formation. This galaxy is sometimes called Silver Coin or Silver Dollar Galaxy, but I pushed the colors into the yellow spectra, therefore it looks like a gold coin.

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure127x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-09-21

NGC 6559 Nebula

f we look in the middle of the night during the summer months (on the northern hemisphere) into the Milky Way’s core, we can find many prominent deep space objects, like Lagoon, Omega, Eagle, or Trifid nebulae. However, there are also not so well known, but also very beautiful, objects. For instance emission nebula NGC 6559, which can be located in constellation Sagittarius. The star-forming region is surrounded by the dark nebula B 91 in the shape of a heart. At the bottom left corner, a part of the Lagoon Nebula is visible.

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure54x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-09-21

NGC 6726 Nebula

NGC 6726 is a reflection nebula located in the constellation Corona Australis. Visually, there is a deep space neighbor, the Chandelier globular cluster NGC 6723. These deep space objects can be also found on my wide-angle picture of the Milky Way in the left bottom corner .

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure44x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-09-13

M22 Great Sagittarius Cluster

Messier 22, sometimes called Great Sagittarius Cluster is a globular cluster, visually located very close to the galactic core of the Milky Way. If we look in this direction by a telescope, the surrounding of this cluster is filled with many stars. The cluster itself contains approximately 100 000 stars and it has roughly 97 light-years in diameter. The region of the sky where is this cluster located is poorly visible from my home, therefore every time I travel south with my portable telescope, I capture some deep space objects in this region. This picture was taken under the dark skies of Kythira.

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure59x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-09-12

IC 1318 Sadr Region

Sadr Region, sometimes called The Gamma Cygni Nebula is a giant cloud of ionized hydrogen, located in the constellation Cygnus (Swan). The picture shows only a part of the whole complex. In order to capture the whole nebula, I would need a telescope with a much shorter focal length of the much bigger sensor of the camera. This is actually my second attempt. The first one from Milos Island was quite nice, but this time I dedicated a significantly longer time for this deep space object. Specifically, the picture is an integration of 405 minutes, which means nearly 7 hours in total.

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure135x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-09-11

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 narrowband 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 – a one-shot color camera + a 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

M4 Globular cluster

Messier 4 (left side of the picture) is a globular cluster located in the constellation Scorpius, close to the brightest star of this constellation Antares (right side). This cluster is the closest one to the Solar System, due to its “short” distance of 7200 light-years and it contains several tens of thousands of stars. There is another globular cluster on the bottom side of the picture NGC 6144. The star Antares is classified as a red supergiant, with a diameter several times bigger than the Sun, which makes it one of the largest know stars. it is only 550 light-years away, which means M4 and Antares are close only visually, but in reality, there is a very long distance between them.
If any brighter star is photographed by the Newtonian telescope, the diffraction cross appears due to the so-called “spider vanes” holder of the secondary mirror. If the spider vanes are not perpendicular to each other (like in my case), the diffraction pattern makes multiple ugly lines. This means I will have to correct it, as soon as I get back from Fuerteventura.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure44x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-07-23

NGC6357 Lobster Nebula

Lobster Nebula is a HII region (giant cloud of excited hydrogen gas) located in the constellation Scorpius. The nebula rises only 8° above the horizon in Central Europe, which means, it is submerged in light pollution caused by nearby towns, villages, or cities. The situation is completely different on the Canary Islands, where the nebula rises 27° above the horizon. Therefore, this nebula was the primary target of my expedition to Fuerteventura. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and strong winds caused bad seeing and didn’t allow me to capture more frames. So, next time it will be better.

Technical details:

TelescopeNewton 150/600 mm
Aperture150 mm
Focal length570 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 174MM, Guidescope 30 mm
CameraZWO 071 Pro @-0°C
CorrectorTS MaxField
FiltersNo
Exposure40x180s, Gain 94, bin 1x1,
Date2020-07-22