Category Archives: Deep Sky

New camera

I finally took the plunge and ordered a Moravian G3-16200 camera. This is a monochrome camera and whilst the pixels are slightly larger than the KAF-8300 equipped QHY9 there are also a lot more of them. Setting up has been rather a long process that still isn’t completed but at least it’s attached and able to take pictures. The increased sensor size and weight has highlighted some issues with my Takahashi FSQ85-ED Baby-Q. There is some tilt in the optical train and stars are elongated in the corners. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work out solutions for these problems.

One of my purchases was a Baader 3.5nm Ha filter and this image was taken with it last night. The night’s are still very short here so only 2 hours in 20 minute sub-frames of the emission nebula IC1396 in Cepheus.

IC1396

The Iris revisited

On a wet and windy bank holiday Monday I finally got back to this subject for another attempt at processing. Having dedicated about 23 hours acquiring the images and spending countless more hours processing the data I still felt that there was more in this image than I’d managed to extract.

I’ve learnt a lot about the Pixinsight tools I regularly use on other projects and added a few more to the toolbox. Overall, I’m very happy with this result.

Iris

Astronomy Now magazine were kind enough to use this image in their June 2016 edition.

NGC 2403

Looking back through my image archive I found a couple of hours worth of images of NGC2403 in Camelopardalis that I took in 2014. Over a couple of clear nights during the past week I added another 8 hours to this and an initial process is quite promising.

NGC2403

Kemble’s Cascade

Located in Camelopardalis, Kemble’s Cascade is a remarkably straight line of colourful 6th to 10th magnitude stars. Named in honour of Friar Lucian Kemble who discovered it while sweeping the skies with a pair of binoculars. It’s a nice fit for the field of view with my FSQ-85 and QHY9 camera.

A near full moon interfered with fainter targets and caused some issues with this one with artefacts due to internal reflections in the camera. Thirty 2 minute exposures, stacked and processed in Pixinsight.

Kemble's Cascade

Barnard 150

This has been another of those longer projects gathering 10 minute frames overĀ  3 nights in September for a total just short of 15 hours. Processing has been done entirely in Pixinsight.

B150 is located in Cepheus and isn’t often seen in images. Here’s my attempt to redress the balance.

B150-2_web

The Iris nebula

This is a wider field of view around the Iris nebula in Cepheus (vdB139) and shows the extensive dust clouds that surround the reflection nebula itself. This is another of those objects that I’m in a constant state of gathering more frames for; so far this is up to 8 hours in 15 minute subframes.

vdB139

Abell 31

This has been my longest imaging project to date coming in at over 17 hours of RGB data in 10 and 20 minute subframes. The reason for this has been the very faint nature of the target against the light pollution here. To reduce the noise to acceptable values it’s been necessary to acquire rather more images. Contrasted with the pristine skies of Tivoli, Namibia it’s bought home the difficulties and additional work required to successfully target faint objects from UK skies.

Abell 31

Messier 94

I acquired the data for this object some time ago and I’ve been struggling with the processing ever since. The real challenge has been the extreme difference in brightness between the inner core of the galaxy and the outer diffuse halo. After some help from the PixInsight forum this is the current state of processing.

M94_HDR_crop_2I’m not totally satisfied with this yet as the brighter stars have been damaged and I’ll need to go back and make another attempt when I get time.