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Nebula

From The Lagoon to Saturn

Holy cow, an update! Finally got a bit of astrophotography done last week. Been extremely busy with work (I’m a freelance cinematographer now) and haven’t been able to get out nearly as much as I’d like. Anyway this is a 3 panel mosaic right smack in the Milky Way. Shot over two nights.

mw180mosaic2

 

Image Location and Date: SDAA club site, Tierra Del Sol.
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Nikkor 180mm f2.8 AI-S ED
Imaging FL: 180mm
Imaging focal ratio: f4
Imaging camera: IR Modded Canon 6D (for the left frame), Canon 5D Mark III for the center frame and right frame.
Lights: RGB 91x300sec @ ISO800 (~8 Hours)
Calibration: flats, Bias
Guide scope: 60mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD2, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight + Photoshop

M78 Revisited.

This was one of the first objects I was ever proud of imaging. M78, a reflection nebula in Orion. Check out my attempt from a few years back.

 

This was also the first time in a long time I’ve done proper imaging through the telescope. It feels good to be back for a bit, I love doing timelapses and scenic photography but I think astrophotography is my true love.

M78_LRGB

Image Location and Date: OCA dark sky site in Anza, CA on January 17th 2015
Object: M78
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 100D (SL1) Modded
Lights: 55x300sec @ ISO 400
Calibration: Darks, flats
Guide scope: 50mm Finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight

 

Cepheus Mosaic

Cepheus_medium

And a labeled version!

Cepheus_labeled

I’ve been working at capturing data on this one for a number of months now as sort of a real first light image for my 6D. A total of eight nights (only two of which were consecutive) and at least 40 hours of imaging time. This is a partial HaRGB Composite image. I say partial because no HA data was taken for the left side of the image as I really did not deem it necessary.

Imaging Location: Little Blair Valley, OCA Anza, and Julian Starfest.
RGB Data: Canon 6D unmodded with a Nikkor 180mm AI-S @ F4 ISO800
HA Data: Canon T3 full spectrum with a Nikkor 180mm AI-S @ F2.8. Astronomik 12nm HA filter. ISO1600. Camera cooled to 7C.
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G Guided

40+ hours exposure time.

Processed in Pixinsight and Photoshop. Processing was a huge challenging, taking 1.5 days of focus.

This was what the original image looked like after calibration and alignment:

before_ca;

As you can see it needed a lot of work. Hardest part BY FAR is overcoming sky gradients from light pollution and airglow. I also did a terrible job of aligning my frames, this is something I’ve always had issues with.

A Peak Into The Rho Ophiuchi Complex

I’ve always been fascinated by this region of the sky, contrasting colors, dark dusty areas, open clusters and brand new stars all swirling together.

rho_800_large

Image Location and Date: OCA Anza site, Grandview Campground May 25th, 26th and 30th.
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ F3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded and cooled to 4c.
Lights: 76x180sec @ ISO1600

Calibration: flats, Bias
Guide scope: 50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight

Cassiopeia to M31

Taken during Julian Starfest

Canon 6D unmodded
50x300sec @ ISO800
Nikkor 50mm 1.8 @ F4
Atlas EQ-G unguided

M16 Eagle Nebula

m16_ha_rgb_large

RGB subs were taken from Grandview Campground in the White Mountains and HA was from my clubs site in Anza.

Image Location and Date: OCA Anza site, Grandview Campground May 25th, 26th and 30th.
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ F3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded and cooled to 4c.
Lights: RGB 35x180sec @ ISO1600 HA 24x180sec @ ISO1600 Calibration: flats, Bias
Guide scope: 50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight

Big Orion Mosaic – HA almost done

Figured I’d post my progress on the mosaic I’ve been working on for the past two or three months. Dual 180mm Nikkors on Canon T3s, six frames total so far. Here is the hydrogen-alpha image (the easy one). Still haven’t started on the color and to be honest I’m kind of dreading it.

Orion

So far I’m at six frames, each frame is around 20 600 second exposures so I guess this is 20 hours of exposure time. I also have 20 hours of color data but its not quite there yet.

This was taken with a $150 Nikkor 180mm AI-S I bought off ebay and it was described as being in “rough” condition. Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you need an expensive scope to do this. Just patience and gas money. Since the local dark sites are several hours away from my apartment in south Orange County I’d estimate I’ve put nearly 1,000 miles into driving to get this shot.

Other stuff: f2.8, Astronomik HA 12nm filter, Orion Atlas mount, Canon T3, ISO 1600. Camera cooled to 0c. All processing in Pixinsight.

NGC2170

Took several days off last weekend and this was my primary goal. What a difficult target! 9 hours is not nearly enough, not to mention I was using my unmodded camera (modded cam needs a new sensor). But I don’t think I’ll get a chance to get more time on this object anytime soon so here is this one for now.

Image Location and Date: SDAA dark site in Tierra Del Sol, CA Nov 28th – Dec 1st
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) unModded
Lights: 111x300sec @ ISO 800

Calibration: flats, Bias
Guide scope: 50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight

M45, the Pleiades from Tierra Del Sol

Got to spend four wonderful nights at my clubs dark site over Thanksgiving break. My main target was NGC2710 but I had to shoot something each night while waiting for the target to rise so why not go for M45 (its been awhile!).

This was shot over four nights and I changed the angle at some point which explains the odd diffraction spikes.

Image Location and Date: SDAA dark site in Tierra Del Sol, CA Nov 28th – Dec 1st
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ F3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 66x300sec @ ISO 800

Calibration: flats, Bias
Guide scope: 50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight

The Cave Nebula, Sh2-155 in HaRGB

This one too me awhile to get done. Two nights of shooting HA plus one night of RGB and another two nights of shooting nothing because it was monsoon season in the desert and I decided to make the three hour drive anyway. Still wish I got more data but you gotta call it quits at some point. Anyways:

Image Location and Date: Pine Mountain Club, Tierra del Sol and Anza, California over the course of August and early September.
Object: Cave Nebula
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: RGB 31x300sec @ ISO 1600 @ 12c
HA: 58x600sec @ ISO 1600 @ 12c

Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: 50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight

Western Veil Nebula

Went camping with some friends out in Cuyamaca State Park. Took my gear because I wanted to test out a new DC power arrangement I had put together using Anderson Powerpoles. Needless to say it worked perfectly. Got just under 2 hours with the sensor around 10C… new cold finger mod is working perfectly.

Image Location and Date: Cuyamaca State Park near Julian, CA on Saturday August 10th 2013
Object: Western Veil Nebula
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 21x300sec @ ISO 1600

Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: Tair-3c with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight

Sadr to Crescent – 9 panel mosaic

This one took quite awhile to get done. This was done over six different nights, representing a total of 1200 miles driven to and back from Anza, the local dark site I use. Quite a lot of work to stitch together!

I had loads of problems along with way, issues with tracking, noise (had problems with my DSLR cooler), a few crummy nights full of clouds and I had completely disassembled my scope more than once to figure out some collimation issues.

I tried to get around 3 hours per frame, some ended up being more, some less due to weather and these darn short summer nights.

Image Location and Date: Orange County Astronomers dark site in Anza, CA, May, June, July
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 317x300sec @ ISO 1600

Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: Tair-3c with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight + PS

Barnard 72, the Snake Nebula

Finally had a decent night! Last months weather was poor but we got a break last weekend. Perfect conditions all night long. This is a pretty tough target, tons of bright stars combined with super faint dust make processing interesting. I think I may revisit this area soon

Image Location and Date: Orange County Astronomers dark site in Anza, CA, May 11th
Object: Coma Cluster
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded with CLS-CCD filter
Lights: 47x300sec @ ISO 1600

Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: Tair-3c with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight + PS

Rosette Nebula HaRGB

Had a go at the Rosette over the last two weekends. I knew it would fill up my frame (and then some) but thats okay, I wanted all the pretty inner details. I captured the RGB last weekend, only got a couple hours because of snow/fog/clouds. Went out last night during the first quarter moon and got some hydrogen alpha courtesy of my 12nm clip in filter. Much better now!

Image Location and Date: Orange County Astronomers dark site in Anza, CA, Dec 15th, Feb 9th and 16th
Object: Rosette Nebula
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 23x600sec @ ISO 1600 HA
19x300sec @ ISO 1600 w/CLS filter (RGB)

Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: Tair-3c with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight + PS

The Great Orion Nebula – 4 panel mosaic. Over 11 hours total exposure time.

Since I moved up to the 800mm focal length scope M42 doesn’t fit neatly into the frame on a APS-C DSLR and since I wanted to image it this season I decided a four frame mosaic was the way to go. This was taken over three nights, got around 3 hours per frame. I used Pixinsight HDR tools to merge 5sec and 30sec core exposures with the overall image.

Image Location and Date: Orange County Astronomers dark site in Anza, CA, Dec 15th, Jan 5th and 12th
Object: M42 Great Orion Nebula
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 134x300sec @ ISO 1600 RGB Total, average around 33 per frame.
Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: Tair-3c with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight + PS

Horsehead Nebula from Anza – HaRGB

Only night I got to out this November was the Friday after Thanksgiving so even though the moon was up until around 2 am I decided to go for it. I captured three hours of HA data until the moon went down using my Astronomik 12nm HA Clip-in filter and then another two hours of RGB with the CLS-CCD filter.

Image Location and Date: Orange County Astronomers dark site in Anza, CA
Object: IC 434 Horsehead & Flame Nebula
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 26x300sec @ ISO 1600 RGB
36x300sec @ ISO 1600 HA
Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: SV Nighthawk II with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight + PS

Helix Nebula


 
 

Took this over the course of two nights while waiting for the California Nebula to rise. First night had passing clouds for awhile so I can had toss a few frames. CLS filter helped bring out some of the HA around the nebula but I think this would be worth going back and shooting something like 6 hours of HA to get the outer shell to pop.
 
Image Location and Date: SDAA Dark Site @ Tierra Del Sol, CA
Object: Helix Nebula, NGC 7293
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Filter: CLS-CCD Clip-in
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded + Cooled
Lights: 37x300sec @ ISO 1600
Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: SV Nighthawk II with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight.

California Nebula


This was taken over the course of two nights from Tierra Del Sol, CA. Each frame was 3-4 hours of exposure time except for the top right frame, I only got 2 hours because of passing clouds.

I used my CLS-CCD filter which REALLY helps with lining up the frames. No feathering was done on the edges, just lined em up!

Image Location and Date: SDAA Dark Site @ Tierra Del Sol, CA
Object: NGC1499 California Nebula
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 141x300sec @ ISO 1600
Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: SV Nighthawk II with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight.

Sadr Region, central Cygnus.

What a big difference the CLS filter makes, almost looks like I did hargb. I was lucky enough to get 5 hours on this target from a green zone. DSLR cooler (thanks Stephen!) helped big time with the noise.

Image Location and Date: OCA dark site @ Anza, CA
Object: Sadr and surrounding nebulosity.
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ f3.9 Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 61x300sec @ ISO 1600
Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: 50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight.

NGC7023 – The Iris Nebula

Recently took a week off work and since I’m trying not to spend too much money right now I decided to take my vacation at my club’s dark sky site. This is the first of many images I grabbed… nice thing about having six-seven nights to image is that I have no problem focusing on one object per night and therefore get excellent data.

From http://www.astrocruise.com/milky_way/N7023_05.htm

Object Data: Lying in the western part of Cepheus, this beautiful object is a fairly unusual pure reflection nebula, caused by light from the central magnitude 7 star, SAO 19158, being reflected off the abundance of dust particles LBN 487.

Image Location and Date: OCA dark site @ Anza, CA
Object: Cocoon Nebula
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
Imaging scope: Orion 8″ Astrograph
Imaging FL: 800mm
Imaging focal ratio: f3.9
Imaging camera: Canon 1100D (Rebel T3) Modded
Lights: 58x300sec @ ISO 800
Calibration: Darks, flats, Bias
Guide scope: 50mm finder with Orion StarShoot Auto Guider
Other details: guiding with PHD, captured with APT, processed in PixInsight.