The Milky Way in Cygnus

The Milky Way in Cygnus

Cygnus is a great vista even to the naked eye observer. Along the Lyra, the Northern Cross rules the region also featuring a bright patch of the Milky Way which the experienced amateur astronomer knows is loaded with deep sky objects. I decided to take a deep wide angle look at this iconic part of the northern sky. Although the lens used is a toy compared to other takes, I am pleased by the results. Prominent dso’s in the frame: NGC 7000 – North America nebula; IC 5070, IC 5067 – the Pelican nebula; Caldwell 33, 34 – the Veil nebula; open cluster NGC 6940; although not obvious, C 27,  NGC 6888 Crescent nebula; IC 1318 the Sadr (γ Cygni) Region, and so on.  Photons collected on 2016-11-20, 21×3 min, Canon 1100D mod, ISO 1600, Canon EF 50mm f​/1.8 II @ f/4, HEQ5, used my star handler.
(tovább…)

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NGC 6888 Crescent Nebula

NGC 6888 Crescent Nebula, 50×45 sec

I found some forgotten raw material I collected during the summer. Tech details show the frames were more like tests than a serious attempt at photographing this object. Nevertheless it was worth the shot.

NGC 6888, also known to amateurs as Caldwell 27, the Crescent nebula is a faint, 10m deep sky object in Cygnus, near the well known Sadr (γ Cygni) region. The nebula is blown by the Wolf-Rayet star WR 136 (HD 192163).

(tovább…)

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2016: my astrophotography adventure

(tovább…)

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C49 Rosette Nebula – photons from 2016-12-30

Rosette Nebula (Caldwell 49)

In the freezing cold I imaged the C49 Rosette Nebula with my usual equipment:  Canon 1100D mod, 23x135sec, ISO 1600, Canon 200mm f/2.8 @ f/3.5, HEQ5, from Dângău Mare. I can say the session was a success. I used my star handling program to reduce the stars’ dominance over the nebulae.

The curious thing in the frame is the crown shaped denser star field at 6h39′, N2°3′ in the upper left corner. It lies near the open cluster NGC 2262, at 11.3m which is just outside of this frame. I included some Google Sky and SIMBAD images for comparison, and also did an astrometry.net plate solving. With some help from a fellow amateur astronomer, known as nr74 (Németh Róbert), I identified it as Collinder 110, at 10.5m. Noteworthy that the cluster is not listed in other known catalogs.

In this frame, open cluster NGC2236, at 8.5m is on old friend, known from the previous attempt to image the Rosette Nebula. It is about 9600 light years away, ie about twenty times further than the Pleiades.

(tovább…)

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A Glimps into Auriga

M38 and the Flaming Star Nebula

It was a very cold night, -8 degress Celsius at the observation site near Dângău Mare, although the car’s thermometer indicated -14 at some places on the road back. While contemplating the beauties of the southern vs the northern sky, I imaged this vista in Auriga, which to my surprise turned out to look very nice with my setup. The frame contains, among others:

  • M 38 or NGC 1912 [open cluster] 6.4m
  • NGC 1893 [open cluster+nebula] 7.5m
  • IC 405 or C 31  Flaming Star nebula 10m
  • IC 417 and NGC 1931 (the Spider and the Fly)

Technical data: 26×2 min, ISO 1600, Canon 1100D mod, Canon 200mm f/2.8 @ f/4, HEQ5, Dângău, Cluj. One step of the processing was my star reducer.

(tovább…)

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California Nebula, Pleiades Cluster

California nebula and the Pleiades

Two nebulae and a cluster – perhaps the cluster – in one frame, this is the NGC 1499 California emission nebula and the M45 Pleiades open cluster with the reflection nebula it is passing through. Parts of the complex nebula system are also visible, with a hint of the LBN 777 Baby Eagle Nebula being there too. This picture was a challenge due to less than ideal transparency, odd gradients on the sky and the approaching moonrise. My starheal program did a great job. California Nebula and the Pleiades, 10×2 min, ISO 1600, Canon 1100D mod, Canon 50mm f/1.8 @ f/3.5, HEQ5, Dângău Mare, 2016-11-20

(tovább…)

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Her Majesty, Queen Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia, 23×3 min, ISO 1600, Canon 1100D mod, 50 mm f/1.8 @ f/4, HEQ5, Dângău Mare

(tovább…)

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elliptical

I recently composed this one:

 

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StarHeal – how I handle the dense star fields

Left: the original. Right: the automated output: less prominent stars, no panda eyes.

The Milky Way offers some great wide angle views for the astrophotographer. But there is a catch: the dense star field. While in theory stars are point like, ie subpixel sized, in practice the seeing, some worse than ideal transparency, lens errors, bad focus, a not that parallel lens and sensor, a bit of dew – all work against the astrophotographer.

While I can’t solve all the problems, I sure can try. So I wrote a program. I found that I can mitigate some of the problems: the blown up stars, the panda eye image artifact around stars with middle range luminosity and the overall visual impact of the star field. I continued to develop the previous version of my software, so here’s what I’ve got now.

The program

I wrote the program in PHP because it is the language I mainly use. It is not the best choice, by far. But it does the job I expect it to do. All you need is a webserver, some storage space, memory and time. You may download it from here. (tovább…)

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Heart and Soul, reprocessed

Heart and Soul in Cassiopeia

This time I used two old data sets of IC 1805 and IC 1848, one from when the camera has not been modified yet and one from last summer, both under fair skies.

(1) 41×2 min, ISO 1600, Canon EF 200mm f2.8L II USM at F/3.5, Canon 1100D unmod, EQ3 (see article)
(2) 8×3 min, ISO 1600, Canon EF 200mm f2.8L II USM at F/4, Canon 1100D mod, HEQ5 (see article)

I reduced the stars with my own program.

Galaxies Maffei 1 and Maffei 2 are also in the frame, the yellow patches on the bottom. Both galaxies are in the zone of avoidance, ie in the plane of the Milky Way where the dust adds up to be almost opaque. Wiki says 99.5% of the light of Maffei 2 is obscured. In a crop below I emphasize these objects with infrared data from WISE. The dust is mostly transparent at infrared wavelengths.

(tovább…)

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Jól kalibrált monitoron mindegyik számnál elkülönülő árnyalat látszik. Ha mégsem látszanak, akkor a megjelenített képek színhiányosan rajzolódnak ki. A monitort valószínűleg kalibrálni kell.

You should see distinct shades for each number. If those shades are not clearly visible, the displayed pictures will lack accuracy. Your display most likely needs to be calibrated (brightness, gamma, contrast etc.).