My attempts at astro imaging

Posts tagged “astrophotgraphy

M76 – The little dumbbell

The second of this seasons images at 2m with my 8″ SCT.  This really needs longer exposure time and lots more subs but an image is an image! M76 is noted as being one of the faintest of all the Messier objects – I have seen it in my 12″ Dob and can confirm, it’s very faint.

M76 is a Planetary Nebula in the Perseus constellation discovered in 1780 by Pierre Mechain.  The distance is round 3,400 Light Years from Earth but I cant find a date for the actual superenova that left this remnant behind!



6Hrs @ 2metres on the Dumbell Nebula

I tightened up the worm end float on my EQ6 Pro and this seems to have sorted the guiding, quite a few of the subs in this image are 30 min subs. I also sorted the collimation, last time it was slightly off, I made a final tweak visually to a de-focused star to center the ‘Airy disk’.  This is the longest integration time, longest individual sub time and longest focal length image I have taken!

The scope is my 8″ SCT running at it’s native 2m, so the image is a crop due to horrible stars in the corners! I’m intending to get some images of the smaller targets this year, things like the Snowball & Eskimo nebulas and maybe the Crab nebula as well.  The SCT is F10 the subs need to be long, there is a further outer shell to this image that is very, very faint and just shows in this image, a faster scope would probably have pulled a little more of this out but I don’t have the money for an 2m F4 scope!

Messier 27, also known as the Dumbell or Apple Core nebula is a supernova remnant in the constellation of Vulpecula at a distance of 1,360 light years. The central star (or whats left of it) went supernova around 14,600 years ago, all thats left now is a white dwarf star(you can see this star in the center of the nebula).

It is relatively bright and easily seen in binoculars although something like an 8″ telescope is really needed to get some detail out of the nebula.

I think this one is better – the one below was a 1st attempt and I think I overdid the sharpening around the stars, had some dark halos I did not like…





Added another 4hrs of data to Horsehead, this time in Ha

I really wanted to add some good Ha to this image, so the other night, I managed 12x 20 min subs in Ha, this has really brought out the wispy nebulosity behind the horsehead and generally got rid of a lot of noise, I used the original RGB image for the flame area as this is a different  colour and the Ha just made it all red, so the Ha is really in the Horsehead parts only.  This must be my longest ever imaging run, 4hrs in RGB and 4hrs in Ha!!


I did a bot of LHE in Pixinsight and came up with this version…..


HaRGBHorsehead&Flame - Final Image


Another go at the Horsehead & flame nebulas

I was not happy with my last attempt and so went out and re-shot – this time in 15min subs as opposed to 5mins, I also grabbed 4 1/4 hrs worth of data, in RGB only….. I was intending to shoot some more Ha but that will have to wait!


LatestVersionwith sharper horsehead

The Crab Nebula in Ha and RGBHa

This is my first proper attempt at Ha imaging, I have had the filter since March but have never really got round to giving it a good workout! Last Tuesday I fitted it again and had another go. With the Ha filter in place things get a bit trickier……. I needed to refocus but the Ha filter cuts down on the light from stars making this a lot harder – I use plate solving to centre on my targets, this involves taking an exposure, the computer then looks at the various patterns of stars and matches them to known patterns, thereby solving where the ‘scope is pointing. As the Ha filter cuts down on the light reaching the camera, I had to inrease this from 5 seconds to 60.  Next problem is focusing, same issue as before, as stars are so much fainter it took about 10 mins to focus as my exposures for fucusing had to increase as well. Finally, as I use an off axis guider, it is much trickier to find a guide star with an Ha filter in place, luckily this time I found a guide star around M1 but I have an adapter so that I can use a standard finder scope to guide with but this then introduces flexture between the guide scope and the imaging scope so I was very happy to see guide stars pop up on the guide screen with the Ha filter in place.

So, M1, see the earlier image for details of what this target is –

The image below is the Ha image, composed of around 3 hrs in 5 minute subs and the same in 15 min subs, combined in Pixinsight, I also got deconvolution working well on this image to really sharpen it up.

Here is the same image bit this time I added the Ha data to the original RGB image as a Luminance layer

The Iris Nebula from Kielder

This is the first image I have processed form the Kielder star aprty (see the previous post). It is 17 x 15 min subs with the QHY8/8″ F4 Newt and guided by TS OAG and Lodestar – My usual setup!!!

I was genuinly surprised at the amount of dust that is in this image, it is the first time I have captured anything like this much dust and I’m sure it could be better processed but I have been playing about with it for the best part of a week, so I’m gonna post this!

The Irus nebula (NGC7023) is a reflection nebula in Cepheus, the bright, hot young central star is so bright that it is lighting up all the surrounding dust in the image – I love this image, I’m sure there will be a few reprocesses of this coming shortly as well as I tweak things….. I think I might go back and increase the colour of the central nebula but I do like this version, so maybe I should leave well alone?


Anyway, what do you think?  Comments as always are most welcome!


PGC120 & PGC129

This is a crop from the stacked image that made up the P168/Hergenrother video clip. I dont know anythign about them but they are a nice pair of galaxies!  PGC120 is the one with the bright core, PGC129 is the other one…. I’m off for a google to see if I can find out any more about them!


Apparently this pair is known as the Taffy Galaxies??? Distance is estimated to be around 150 million light years!!! Also identified as  UGC 12914 & UGC12915 It seems these 2 galaxies have had a direct collision and this is the cause of the odd shape see &


Here is an annotated version, you can see a few more of these PGC galaxies….

M1 – The ‘Crab’ Nebula

I imaged this over Saturday and Sunday night, it’s 4.5hrs in 15min subs from my F4 Newt/QHY8.  As some of you may know from other threads I have been having some collimation issues but I think the stars in here are pretty good, maybe a little elongated, especially on a couple of the brighter ones but I’m happy so thats what counts

As with my M42 image, this is all done (well mostly!, all image processing) in Pixinsight, with the inset bit added in Photoshop.

Have to say, I dont understand what PI does but it sure does it well! Although, maybe since I cant tinker as much in PI, thats why my images are looking a little more natural

M1:  The Crab nebula, a supernova remnant from a star that exploded in 1054 (It was witnessed by Chinese astronomers). In the centre of the nebula lies a Pulsar, the remains of the star(about 30km in diameter), that rotates 30 times a second! It lies around 6300 light years from us and is expanding at 1,500Km/s – Who knows I may re-image this is 10 or 20 years and be able to show the expansion!