Here’s a widefield shot of the Horsehead and Flame Nebulas, found just off of Orion’s belt. The bright star in this picture is actually Altinak, one of the stars of the belt. The Horsehead is not visible visually in my scope, although I can just make out something where the Flame Nebula is – Altinak makes it very hard to see anything else since it’s so bright (magnitude 1.7).
March 7, 2010
November 8, 2009
This was my first attempt at the North American Nebula, also known as C20 or NGC7000. If you look at the image sideways, it sort of looks like the gulf of mexico – actually other images by other people show the shape more completely (plus this is just a part of it – it’s a big nebula!). This was also the first time I tried using a red filtered image added to the full color images. I stacked a bit more than an hour’s worth of RGB from my D50 and then did 36 minutes having added a Red filter on top of the Orion Skyglow Imaging Filter I use. (I recently got a bunch of 48mm filters off of eBay cheaply, this was one of them) After stacking the red images, I added it as a screen over the regular image and it really made the image pop – it’s a bit like a cheapo Hydrogen Alpha filter, combining the two filters. Anyway, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out – the only problem being that the red images didn’t align very well with the RGB image (thus the sort of letterbox formatting).
October 20, 2009
Tonight was as nice as last night, but again, quite cold. I decided to do some more wide-field imaging with my Nikon D50 using the 2″ Orion SkyGlow Imaging Filter that I got a while back. I think it does a good job of lowering the overall sky noise that I’ve seen, particularly with this camera. I love wide field shots because they show context and this one is no exception to that. The Sculptor Galaxy fills my DSI-II camera almost completely and is neat to image with that, but it’s also neat to see the context of this galaxy.
April 12, 2009
I have only images M46 once before-last year when I was doing my Messier Marathon. When I imaged it then, I did not get as wide a view as I captured tonight. When I was looking at it in Stellarium, I noticed that there was a planetary nebula in the midst of the open cluster that is M46 and thought it would be a neat object to image. I’ve centered the image on the nebula (NGC 2438) which throws the open cluster a bit off center, but I like the image better this way.
February 3, 2009
I’ve been doing a bit of reprocessing and stuff – the Andromeda image above is from the other day, I just got around to processing it. I’m not super happy with the corners (weird gradients, I think related to the flat frames), butthe galaxy and dust lanes look pretty cool.
Below is an image of the Great Orion Nebula that is a reprocess of a combination of new and old data.
January 31, 2009
What a difference flat frames can make! Tonight I finally figured out how to take good flat frames that work with my images. This Orion Nebula image is maybe the best I’ve ever done and it’s only 7 minutes worth of data. The key difference is the flat frames let me get a lot more data out of the image. Well that’s all for now – I need to get to bed.
December 30, 2008
Tonight I continued to add to the total imaging time on C65 – The Sculptor Galaxy. This is really a neat target to image, particularly now that I’ve got autoguiding working well. Unfortunately, tonight was a bit windy, which meant that I could only do 1 minute sub-images. I’m hoping to have a bit less wind in the next couple of days so that I can get some really long exposures.
November 25, 2008
Here’s the Sculptor Galaxy image I was working on this evening – over an hour of image data on this wonderful object found in the constellation Sculptor. It’s really one of my favorite targets for my camera. Through the eyepiece, it’s easily visible as a cigar-shaped smudge, but I can’t make out much, if any, detail.
I’m now working on an image of Merope one of the stars of the Pleiades which has a wonderful nebula around it. I’ll post that next.
September 6, 2008
I stayed up WAY too late, but as I was about to pack things up, having spent a lot of time figuring out some technical stuff with my scope, I thought I’d take a look at an object near where I’d been looking and I pointed the scope to C65, a Caldwell Object, called the Sculptor Galaxy. I had never seen this through my scope or camera before. Through the scope, I could make out a cigar shaped blur, but with the camera, WOW! I couldn’t resist and started imaging it. An hour later i finally put everything away, but I was so anxious to see the results that I stayed up to do some quick processing. I’m going to reprocess it when I get the chance, using only the very best frames, which I think will improve it even more, but I’m really excited about this object. I’m planning on returning to it to take a lot more images. It’s a really interesting galaxy where the dust and spiral arms have much more definition than most of the galaxies I’ve imaged. Anyway, very exciting!
September 1, 2008
After I posted my previous version of this image, I realized that there was a lot of star trailing going on which meant that the image was not as clear as it could be. After manually culling through the sub exposures and removing ones that did not have round stars, I reprocessed the image with only those sub image. This means that there is less image time, but actually increases the signal-to-noise ratio. If you look at the enlarged version of this image versus the one from yesterday, you can really see a lot more detail in the galaxies. Note also that I cropped the image today so it’s not as tall as yesterday’s version.