IC 1805 the Heart Nebula in Hubble Palette SHO

Meet IC 1805, the Heart Nebula. 

This is an image I’ve been working on for a while in the Fall here. Mostly due to weather not cooperating. 

 I was able to gather 21 hours of data (Hubble palette, Ha, OIII and SII narrowband) over a few clear nights in October 2019.  I processed this image, what had to be 14 times, over the course of a week or so… probably being my own worst critic! Was never entirely happy with it for some reason.

The Heart Nebula, also known as IC 1805 and Sharpless 2-190, lies some 7500 light years away from Earth and is located in the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. It was discovered by William Herschel on 3 November 1787.

Imaged with:
Skywatcher Esprit 100 Triplet F5.5
Moravian 16200EC CCD camera
Optolong filters (Ha, OIII, SII)
Skywatcher EQ6 mount / Skyshed Pier
Bortle 7/8 sky
Processed in Pixinsight
Imaged from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

 

My astro gear:

Skywatcher Esprit 100 F5.5 Triplet refractor telescope http://bit.ly/36w1F7Y

Moravian G3 16200EC CCD w/ 5 position FW http://bit.ly/2PL0qvK

William Optics Zenithstar APO refractor telescope http://bit.ly/2JRM1tR

QHY168C 16mp cooled cmos camera http://bit.ly/2NkkKTb

Optolong L-R-G-B 2″ filters http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Optolong L-eNhance filter http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Optolong L-pro filter http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Triad Quadband Ultra Filter http://bit.ly/2CbQXWh

Skywatcher EQ mount http://bit.ly/2C9lap1

Skywatcher Star Adventurer http://bit.ly/2C9Fwyi

Pegasus Astro Focus Cube http://bit.ly/2qonGow

 

Orion Starshoot Autoguider http://bit.ly/34z6pbh

NGC 281 Pacman Nebula in Hubble Palette SHO

NGC 281 pacman nebula SHO

Meet NGC 281, also known as the Pacman Nebula. Can you spot the pacman? NGC 281 is a bright emission nebula and part of an H II region in the northern constellation of Cassiopeia which is rising in the NE during Fall months and high overhead in the Winter. Cassiopeia is part of the Milky Way’s Perseus Spiral Arm. NGC 281 contains several Bok globules which are very cool.

This is 23 hours of data taken over several nights in Sept/Oct. It is a false colour image, using the Hubble Palette which consists of H-alpha, Oxygen III and Sulphur II emission lines.

This was imaged from the backyard using the following equipment:

Esprit 100 Triplet refractor F5.5
Moravian 16200EC CCD camera
Optolong narrowband filters (Ha, O3 and S2)
Skywatcher EQ6 mount on a Skyshed Pier
Processed in Pixinsight
Imaged from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

 

My astro gear:

Skywatcher Esprit 100 F5.5 Triplet refractor telescope http://bit.ly/36w1F7Y

Moravian G3 16200EC CCD w/ 5 position FW http://bit.ly/2PL0qvK

William Optics Zenithstar APO refractor telescope http://bit.ly/2JRM1tR

QHY168C 16mp cooled cmos camera http://bit.ly/2NkkKTb

Optolong L-R-G-B 2″ filters http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Optolong L-eNhance filter http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Optolong L-pro filter http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Triad Quadband Ultra Filter http://bit.ly/2CbQXWh

Skywatcher EQ mount http://bit.ly/2C9lap1

Skywatcher Star Adventurer http://bit.ly/2C9Fwyi

Pegasus Astro Focus Cube http://bit.ly/2qonGow

 

Orion Starshoot Autoguider http://bit.ly/34z6pbh

NGC 7822 Nebula in Hubble Palette SHO

Meet NGC 7822. This is 29 hours of data I collected over 6 clear nights. This is a Hubble palette image (false colour).

NGC 7822 is a young, star-forming region in the constellation of Cepheus It lies about 3000 light years away above our galaxy. Inside this region is a supernova remnant – which indicates that a massive star in it has already exploded. It also contains one of the hottest stars discovered near our Sun. This star has a surface temperature of 45000 Kelvin while the surface temperature of our Sun is just 5778 Kelvin. Not only is the star super hot, it’s luminosity is about 100,000 times that of our Sun!

You can see pillars of cold molecular gas and clouds of dark dust that lie within NGC 7822. Powering the nebular glow are the young, hot stars of the Berkeley 59 cluster, whose powerful winds and radiation also sculpt and erode the dense pillar shapes.

This was imaged from the backyard using the following equipment:

Esprit 100 Triplet refractor F5.5
Moravian 16200EC CCD camera
Optolong narrowband filters (Ha, O3 and S2)
Skywatcher EQ6 mount on a Skyshed Pier
Processed in Pixinsight

My astro gear:

Skywatcher Esprit 100 F5.5 Triplet refractor telescope http://bit.ly/36w1F7Y

Moravian G3 16200EC CCD w/ 5 position FW http://bit.ly/2PL0qvK

William Optics Zenithstar APO refractor telescope http://bit.ly/2JRM1tR

QHY168C 16mp cooled cmos camera http://bit.ly/2NkkKTb

Optolong L-R-G-B 2″ filters http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Optolong L-eNhance filter http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Optolong L-pro filter http://bit.ly/32a9Gfu

Triad Quadband Ultra Filter http://bit.ly/2CbQXWh

Skywatcher EQ mount http://bit.ly/2C9lap1

Skywatcher Star Adventurer http://bit.ly/2C9Fwyi

Pegasus Astro Focus Cube http://bit.ly/2qonGow

Orion Starshoot Autoguider http://bit.ly/34z6pbh

26 hours of data on the Iris Nebula

Iris nebula in Cepheus 26 hours of data. By Shawn Nielsen. VisibleDark.ca

Meet the Iris Nebula in Cepheus. Also known as NGC 7023. This image represents 26 hours of data taken over 7 clear nights in May and June 2019. 

The Iris Nebula is approximately 1,300 light years distance from Earth. It resides in the constellation of Cepheus from our perspective. NGC 7023 is actually the cluster within the nebula, designated LBN 487. The nebula is lit by a magnitude +7 star at its core that is visible in this image.

This deep image shows the dark interstellar dust surrounding the nebula and throughout this region of space. Colours and symmetries abound. The Iris Nebula itself invokes thoughts of mystery and magic!

I took this image from my backyard in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Full nights were devoted to capturing the data. For part of the night, the telescope and CCD camera imaged into Bortle 7 sky which is nearing as bad as it gets for light pollution, albeit one step away from the maximum of Bortle 8.

The light pollution emanating from the city itself casts a veil of light that diminishes the ability to see the stars and deep sky objects.

Imaging through light pollution means getting lots of data to try and counter its effects. The other half of the night as the Iris Nebula rises higher into the sky, places it in Bortle 6 sky from my location. I’m located on the outer edge of the city and have overhead sky that isn’t as effected by light pollution and also into the south and west. This helps when imaging faint objects although still not ideal.

I think this is probably the longest I’ve ever imaged one deep sky object. I knew it would be challenging to capture the intergalactic dust in the region and have it pop out given my skies. The Iris nebula itself is more easily captured due to its higher surface brightness. So I was pleased after investing 26 hours of capture time and another 4-5 hours of processing and shooting from a mid-size city, to have this image show the dark dust as well as it does. 

Technical:

Skywatcher Esprit 100 ED APO Triplet
Moravian G3 16200EC CCD
Optolong LRGB filters
Skywatcher EQ6 mount / Skyshed Pier
Pegasus Astro Focus Cube
Orion Starshoot autoguider / PHD2 guiding
Sequence Generator Pro (SGP) for acquistion, PHD2 guiding
Processed in Pixinsight
Seeing and transparency average to good

Return to the Horsehead and Flame Nebulae

Horsehead and Flame Nebulae

It’s been quite some time since I imaged this region of space. Nearly 10 years much to my surprise as I thought about it. Returning once again to the Horsehead and Flame Nebulae, I found myself armed with a new equipment and a new set of imaging and processing skills than previous. 

Horsehead and Flame Nebulae
The uncropped version of this image of the Horsehead and Flame Nebulae.

Imaging this deepsky object is challenging for me as the constellation of Orion for most of the Winter season is behind trees for me. I have to wait until late evenings in March in order to be able to image it. This combined with weather and a short imaging window before it dips to low to the horizon, makes it really difficult to gather data on.

It took me 4 nights over the period of almost a month to gather enough Ha and RGB data to produce this image. It was well worth the effort though.

Esprit 100 triplet refractor used to take this image is pointed at the constellation of Orion
Esprit 100 triplet refractor used to take this image is pointed at the constellation of Orion

Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) is an infamous dark nebula in the constellation Orion. The Horsehead nebula is located just to the south of Alnitak, the easternmost star of Orion’s Belt. Williamina Fleming was the first to record it in 1888 on a photographic plate taken at the Harvard College Observatory. She was a Scottish astronomer. It gets its name from having the appearance of a horse’s head.

Nearby lies the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024). In front of the bright glowing center is dark gas and dust and this is what creates the dark network that appears in the center of the nebula, giving its appearance of a flame.

The Horsehead nebula is thought to be around 1500 light years from Earth. While the Flame nebula is estimated at 900-1500 light years distant.

Technical:

  • Skywatcher Esprit 100mm APO refractor, F5.5
  • Moravian G3 16200 CCD @ -25deg C
  • Optolong filters Ha-R-G-B
  • Skywatcher EQ6 mount / Skyshed Pier
  • 5 hours 10min total / 10min subs
  • SGP, PHD, EQmod softwares for acquisition
  • Pixinsight 1.8 calibration, processing
  • Seeing and transparency poor to good
  • Location: Kitchener, Ontario25

My article and image of IC1396 in Skynews magazine Mar/Apr 2019

IC1396 in Skynews
IC1396 in Skynews

Very pleased to have my image of IC1396 and short article featured in the “Parting Shot” section of the March/April issue of Skynews Magazine. It’s always an honour to have your work recognized like this.

IC1396 and Elephant Trunk Nebula
The image of IC1396 that is featured in Skynews

I imaged IC1396 (the Elephant Trunk Nebula) in the Fall of 2018 using the Skywatcher Esprit 100 Triplet Refractor, Moravian 16200EC CCD and Optolong filters. All riding on an EQ6 mount and Skyshed pier. 

This issue of Skynews is of particular interest to me because it deals with light pollution. A growing problem that is not just the bane of amateur and professional astronomers. It’s becoming quite the problem and this issue covers some of the particulars of it.

I’ve been a dark sky advocate since 2008 and have provided a lot of information and knowledge on the topic of light pollution to my city officials and staff. I also input on our LED street light conversion.

Light pollution is very easy to fix. In fact out of all the pollutants, it’s by far the simplest to reduce and even stop.

Flip that switch and turn of lights over night. Shield lights down to the ground so the light (and energy) is wasted up into the night sky. If you are going to use LED, look for 2700K or lower lights. Amber is better (1750K-2200K) and is now becoming readily available. It also looks much nicer, more warm and cozy than bright harsh white LEDs.

Check out my section on light pollution here. You can also read more about IC1396 in my post of it here.

Thanks for reading and clear skies!