Nebulae

Crescent Nebula - NGC 6888

 

An emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus, about 4,700 light years away. Many Milky Way stars shine through the nebula. An HaRGB integration of 11 x 30 min Ha, 5 x 6 min each of Red, Green Blue filters, total exposure 7 hours.

Dumbbell Nebula - M27

 

This is the first Planetary nebula ever discovered by Charles Messier in 1764. It seems the distance to M 27 is not known and estimates range very widely from 490 to 3,500 light years away.

The Wizard Nebula - NGC 7380 - SH 2-142

 

Located in Cepheus some 7,200 light years away, here shown in classic Hubble Palette assigning the Sulphur II data to the Red channel, Hydrogen alpha to the Green channel and Oxygen III to the Blue channel and resulting in the typical gold and blue colour combinations.

Elephant Trunk Nebula - IC 1396

 

Called the Elephant Trunk Nebulka for very obvious reasons; again, another example of the heavens having an object that appears very familiar to us Earthlings! This nebula is approximately 2,400 light-years away from us. IC 1396 is itself very large. I have processed this in the classic Hubble Palette method to produce the often seen gold and yellow colours. Ha = 10 hours, OIII and SII = 5 hours each.

Iris Nebula - NGC 7023

 

A rather delightful reflection nebula in the constellation Cepheus, some 1,300 light-years away. I am quite pleased with this LRGB combination as it shows the cold dust around and to the left of the nebula, blocking the light from stars that are behind it. I would have thought that very dark skies would have been a necessity for the dust to show. This image is an integration of RGB sub-frames gathered in the fall of 2015 and Luminance subs in 2016.

Jellyfish Nebula - IC 443 - SH 2-248

 

Another supernova remnant that is 5,000 light-years from Earth. The bright star seen, Eta Geminorum, is much closer to us, of course, about 350 light-years away. The shape is unusual for a supernova and so is much studied by scientists. This is an integration of 8 x 1800 sec Ha, 6 x 1800 sec each of OIII and SII sub-frames. I processed this using the Hubble Palette combination.

The Western Veil Nebula - Witch's Broom - NGC 6960

 

This is the western side of the Great Cygnus Loop, which is believed to be the remnants of a supernova explosion about 7,500 years ago. That bright star is known as Cygni 52. The distance of the nebula is about 2,000 light-years. The gold and blue false colours is the result of combiniung Hydrogen, Oxygen and Sulphur filters and processing using the Hubble Palette.

The Pleiades - Seven Sisters - M 45

 

Perhaps the most famous of all the open star clusters in our northern sky because we can see this with our naked eye. What is not so evident, even with binoculars, is the reflection nebulosity and dust which show when photographed. It is close to us being just over 400 light-years away.

Heart Nebula - SH 2-190 - IC 1805

 

An emission nebula about 7,500 light-years from us shows glowing ionized hydrogen gas. I have only managed Ha and OIII sub-frames totalling 7 hours of exposure at this time, and hope to add SII filtered data later. Part of the Heart and Soul combination of two nebulae in the constellation Cassiopeia in our northern sky, the familiar "W" formation we see so well.

Pelican Nebula - IC 5070 - LBN 350

 

A very bright and large emission nebula in Cygnus, the Swan. This is yet another 'bird' in the sky, and was the first bird that I aimed my telescope at. Very close to the North America Nebula, it lies about 2,000 light-years away and has a linear diameter of about 30 light-years. I was able to re-shoot this in 2016 but only did 5 1/2 hours of exposure with the HA filter. See next image for colour. But, RGB data will be collected at a later time.

Pelican Nebula - IC 5070 - LBN 350

 

This is processed in the Hubble Palette style. It provides a different look to The Pelican Nebula.

The Horsehead Nebula - IC 434 - Flame Nebula (NGC 2024)

 

Ever since I first saw a photograph of this beauty in the Constellation Orion, I yearned to photograph it. Here my field of view from the Stellarvue SVQ100 refractor telescope and camera includes the Flame Nebula on the left. It is without question the most imaged deep sky object. The brightest star that the Horse appears to be peering at is Alnitak, one of the three stars that form Orion the Hunter's belt. What a magnificent area with so much nebulosity. This is an integration of 9 x 1800 seconds Ha sub-frames. I am looking forward to adding colour to this, but it is a winter object and our skies are hardly ever clear at that time of year.

NGC 6820 - SH 2-86

 

A 15th magnitude bright nebula in the Constrllation Vulpecula, it is very faint but when imaged through a Hydrogen alpha filter, there is a lot going on. Estimates have it about 6,000 light years away. 7.5 hours of integration of 1800 seconds exposures.

The Flaming Star Nebula - IC 405

 

Lying about 1,500 light years away, this bright nebula is a fine example of an emission/reflection nebula. In colour, the illumination star, AE Aurigae located exactly in the middle of the frame, is seen to be in flames as it moves through a region of gas and dust. Again, this Ha filtered image is an integration of 8 x 1800 seconds sub-frames.

The Flying Bat Nebula - Sh 2-129

 

What is seen here is only a small region of vast Hydrogen emission and other emission gasses. Look carefully and you will 'see' the right ear, two eyes and nostril of "the Bat" flying with its two wings in an upward 'V' formation. What is really intriguing about this is that only in 2011 did an amateur astrophographer, Nicolas Outters, discover a Giant Squid apparition (now named Ou4), the centre of which is at the higher right bright star. This will only be visible through many hours (10 hours at least) of OIII filter sub-frames, and probably at a dark site. I look forward to completing this task in the future. Here I have combined 8 1/2 hours of Ha exposures.

The Giant Squid - Ou4

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In August 2017 I was able to capture 17.5 hours of exposure (30 minutes each) through an Oxygen III Narrowband filter over 7 nights to add to the Ha data above.  This is a RGB integration where I have assigned the Ha data to the Red Channel and the OIII data to the Green and Blue Channels, a standard procedure.  Processing was accomplished with Pixinsight, a dedicated astrophotography software. I am really surprised that I managed to get this from home.

SH 2-101 - Tulip Nebula

 

Just about 6,000 light-years away in Cygnus, this area of nebulosity is huge and what is shown here is merely a very tiny portion of the whole. I have focussed my attention on the bright object that very much resembles a tulip flower. The Crescent Nebula, shown above, is close by. Again, it has taken 4.5 hours of 30 minute subframes to produce this image.

LBN 777 - Baby Vulture or Eagle Nebula

 

An extremely faint dark nebula, the Baby Vulture is only about 5 degrees north-east of the famous Pleiades cluster of stars (M45). I have been wanting to capture this for a while, and I was somewhat taken aback, when I attempted to do so in the summer of 2016, that I actually got something. It is an object that will be best in very dark skies so this is the best that I have been able to do with a handful of LRGB sub-frames.

Cave Nebula - SH 2-155

 

Another faint Hydrogen-alpha emission nebula in the constellation Cepheus. It lies about 2,400 light-years away. This image in Hydrogen alpha is an integration of 4.5 hours of exposure.

Cocoon Nebula - IC 5146

 

This beautiful emission nebula is about 4,000 light-years away in the Cygnus constellation. The dark nebula Barnard 168 forms the dark lane that surrounds the cluster and forms the trail behind the Cocoon. 10 x 1800 seconds of Ha filtered subs were needed to obtain this image.

The Tadpoles - IC 410

 

At about 12,000 light-yeasrs away, this nebula is quite faint but the Ha filter has enabled me to capture a lot of detail, particularly that of the two "tadpoles". I am constantly amazed by the similarity in the heavens of living things that we are so familiar with on Earth.

Eagle Nebula - M 16

 

Famous for its Pillars of Creation from the Hubble Team, this deep sky object is difficult for me to capture because of its low altitude and position in the southern sky. Hence, I only have 5 x 1800 seconds of HA filtered data to work with. It is estimated to be about 7,000 light years away.

Monkey Head Nebula - NGC 2174

 

As the name suggests, it has an uncanny resemblance to one of our earthly primates. 6,400 light-years away, it lies in the constellation Orion. This Deep Sky Object requires more data to get a colour image and I am hoping for some clear skies this late Fall and Winter when it is in view.

Owl Nebula (M 97) - M 108

 

A planetary nebula in the constellation Ursa Major that attracted me immediately on taking up astrophotography was this Owl Nebula. There are many 'birds' in the skies and Owls are one of my favourites to photograph. M108, a barred spiral galaxy is seen at lower right. The galaxy is some 45 million light-years from us, whilst the Owl Nebula is roughly 2,600 light years away. This is an integration of 190 minutes of LRGB subs.

Crab Nebula - M1 - NGC 1952

 

A supernova remnant that the Chinese astronomers first noticed in 1054, before William the Conqueror. It was seen in daylight for 3 weeks then. Comparisons of the Crab, lying some 6,300 light-years away, from photographs taken decades apart show it is expanding very quickly, at about 1,800 km/sec. In the centre of the Crab is a very fast spinning neuron star, rotating at about 30 revolutions per second! This is an Ha integration of 11 x 600 sec sub-frames. I can easily improve on this one in the future.

North America Nebula - NGC 7000 - LBN 373

 

An emission nebula in Cygnus close to the star Deneb, it is as large as four full moons in the sky. William Herschel discovered it in 1786 from Slough, England. With the development and light pollution today in Slough, I'd think no further deep sky object will likely be discovered from there again! The Pelican Nebula is close by, just beyond the lower right corner, and often we see wide-field presentations of the two nebulae. This is a combination of Ha, OIII and SII subs. I have used the Hubble Pallete assigning SII to the Red.Channel, Ha to Green, and OIII to Blue to achieve this image.

M 42 (Great Orion Nebula and Running Man Nebula) - NGC 1976 and 1977

 

Located just south of Orion's Belt, this appears as a fuzzy patch to the naked eye. M42 is a fine example of a diffuse nebula in the sky, shining at 4th magnitude. It is a mere 1,350 light-years away, close in comparison to the others that are included on this webpage. It is therefore the closest massive star formation in the Orion Nebula. The Running Man can be seen in the fainter object to the left. I have not been able to bring the Man out more in post processing (as yet!). 7 x 1800 sec Ha exposure.

Pacman Nebula - NGC 281 - IC 11

 

So named because of its resemblance to the very successful arcade game, this is an area of Hydrogen gasses in the constellation Cassiopeia, the 'W' formation in our northern sky. It is quite far away being some 10,000 light-years distant from Earth. The brightest star in the midst of the nebula is HD 5005, which helps ionise the nebula's gas. Once I add RGB subs to this we shall be able to see its red colour. Here, I have only had time for 2 x 1800 sec subs; hence, the quality of this stack is not that good.

Rosette Nebula - NGC 2239

 

From my first telescope, the Vixen VC200L 8 inch reflector, this circular emission nebula in Monoceros was one of my first deep sky objects I aimed my telescope at. It is roughly 5,200 light-years from us in a region that is Hydrogen gas filled, hence the red colour shown. Note the "Panther leaping" into the tunnel at about 4 o'clock. Another earth-like being lurks in outer space!

Rosette Nebula - NGC 2239

 

In Ha, this was imaged through my 4 inch refractor telescope, the Stellarvue SVQ100, which has become my regular telescope for this hobby. As you can see, the field of view with this astrograph is perfect for this object as it almost shows the whole nebula. I don't have the data for the colour elements as yet. Each and every target becomes an ongoing project that requires revisiting again and again, I have come to realise.

Thor's Helmet or Duck Nebula - NGC 2359 - SH 2-298

 

I am particularly happy with this one because it is quite low to the horizon from my location, and it faces south directly over our city lights. This is an integration of data captured using Hydrogen Alpha and Oxygen III filters, processed by assigning the Ha to the Red Channel, and the OIII filter to the Green and Blue Channels. The bright star in the middle of Thor is catalogued as GSC 5407-3417 and is a massive giant in a pre-supernova stage. Apparently, these Wolf-Rayet stars are very rare and is incredibly hot (25,000 -50,000 K). It is some 15,000 light-years away from Earth.