Bright and Dark Nebulae of the Milky Way

I think nebulae are generally hard to image, stacking only 20-30sec exposures. They tend to be generally fainter, requiring longer exposures and wider fields of view. So, after about three years of unguided imaging, I'm finally starting to think about my next steps ...wedge?...modified DSLR?...autoguiding?...guidescope?... sigh.

All images shown here were taken unguided, using a 10" LX200R at prime focus, unless otherwise specified. The focal reducer I occasionally do use is an OPTEC Lepus 0.62X.

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NGC6995 (Updated Oct. 12, 2015)

 

Showcasing: M8

M8 - Lagoon Nebula
Designation: M8
Alternate Name: Lagoon Nebula
Constellation: Sagittarius
Imaging Date: June 26, 2015
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 68 frames@20sec ~ 22.7min
ISO Setting: 1600
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size: 90' x 40'
Comment: My hue was off slightly after processing, but I liked the more bluish, purplish look, so I left the nebula that way. This a beautiful expanse, rivaling the Orion nebula. I was able to get more subtle detail in this image as compared to last time. Progress!

 

M20

M20 - Trifid Nebula

NGC6888

NGC6888 - Crescent Nebula

NGC2024

NGC2024 - Flame Nebula
Designation: M20
Alternate Name: Trifid Nebula
Constellation: Sagittarius
Imaging Date: August 25, 2014
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 78 frames@20sec ~ 26.0min
ISO Setting: 1600
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size: 28'
Comment: Compare this with my first attempt here. Obviously better focus using my trusty Bahtinov mask! Also, this is the first time that I saw a distinct improvement using dark frames, resulting in a noticeable enhancement in the extended darker rifts of the nebula. In the past, I would simply ignore the dark frames and enhance to get a comparable result. However, in this case, the extended nebulosity (with the frames) seemed to make the subtle dark rifts just jump out more readily.
Designation: NGC6888
Alternate Name: Crescent Nebula
Constellation: Cygnus
Imaging Date: September 22, 2014
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 79 frames@20sec ~ 26.3min
ISO Setting: 1600
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size: 18' x 12'
Comment: This is an emission nebula, illuminated by a massive, hot Wolf-Rayet star at its center. The complex structure is thought to be the result of a collision between the star's prodigious stellar wind and material ejected from an earlier phase in its evolution. It's expected to ultimately end in a spectacular supernova explosion.
Designation: NGC2024
Alternate Name: Flame Nebula
Constellation: Orion
Imaging Date: March 9, 2015
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 83 frames@20sec ~ 27.7min
ISO Setting: 1600
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size: 30' x 30'
Comment: Finally got to this nebula! This emission nebula is part of the same molecular cloud as the Horsehead. Apparently, out of the over 800 young stars in the center of this nebula, over 86% have circumstellar disks!

NGC7023

NGC7023 - Iris Nebula

M16

M16 - Eagle Nebula

IC434

IC434 - Horsehead Nebula
Designation: NGC7023
Alternate Name: Iris Nebula
Constellation: Cepheus
Imaging Date: August 14, 2015
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 78 frames@20sec ~ 26.0min
ISO Setting: 1600
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size: 18' x 18'
Comment: This is a bright reflection nebula about 1300 light years from Earth. I don't do it justice in this 25 minute exposure - in longer exposures, the wisps of blue nebula stand out in contrast against beautiful dark dust clouds making it resemble an Iris flower. I will definitely revist this stunning object!
Designation: M16
Alternate Name: Eagle Nebula
Constellation: Serpens
Imaging Date: August 29, 2014
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 79 frames@20sec ~ 26.3min
ISO Setting: 1600
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size: 7'
Comment: The central dark regions have been referred to as the "Pillars of Creation" as imaged by Hubble. This nebula actually does look like an eagle (to me!) with its head to the right and its "wings" extending up and down. Evidence from the Spitzer Telescope suggests that the pillars in M16 may already have been destroyed by a supernova explosion, but we won't actually see the destruction for another 1000 years!
Designation: IC434
Alternate Name: Horsehead Nebula
Constellation: Orion
Imaging Date: December 25, 2012
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 87 frames@30sec ~ 43.5min
ISO Setting: 3200
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size:
Comment: I've wanted to photograph this object for over 30 years, ever since seeing it in Burhnam's Celestial Handbook oh so many years ago. I remember naively looking for it on cold winter nights with what was then my new 8 inch Edmund telescope - always defeated, but never daunted by this wondrous enigmatic object. So here it finally is. Only the Horsehead itself is visible here - even *with* a focal reducer this was the largest FOV I could get. This image consists of a grand total of 43.5 minutes exposure over 3 different nights (the last on Christmas night). Not nearly enough, but I was losing patience with the weather lately and decided to put them all together to get this! I am still not done with it - not by a long shot.

NGC6960

NGC6960 - Western Veil Nebula

M17

M17 - Omega Nebula

NGC6995

NGC6995 - Eastern Veil Nebula
Designation: NGC6960
Alternate Name: Western Veil Nebula
Constellation: Cygnus
Imaging Date: June 15, 2012
Imaging Location: Nantucket
Exposure Time: 18 frames@30sec ~ 9.0min
ISO Setting: 3200
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size:
Comment: I was surprised how easily you can see the Veil...ok maybe not *that* easily, but still...It is so beautiful to see with your own eyes. A deep sky filter especially pulls it right out!
Designation: M17
Alternate Name: Omega Nebula
Constellation: Sagittarius
Imaging Date: August 16, 2012
Imaging Location: Gleasondale
Exposure Time: 17 frames@30sec ~ 8.5min
ISO Setting: 3200
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size:
Comment: This really *does* look like a swan!
Designation: NGC6995
Alternate Name: Eastern Veil Nebula
Constellation: Cygnus
Imaging Date: October 12, 2015
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 28 frames@20sec ~ 9.3min
ISO Setting: 1600
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size:
Comment: I had to really stretch this image to get the nebula to appear. I also had to eliminate quite a few frames due to poor tracking - a frequent problem for unguided imaging near the zenith!

M42

M42 - Orion Nebula

MilkyWay

MilkyWay - Sagittarius Star Clouds

M8

M8 - Lagoon Nebula
Designation: M42
Alternate Name: Orion Nebula
Constellation: Orion
Imaging Date: February 10, 2014
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 78 frames@20sec ~ 26.0min
ISO Setting: 800
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size: 65' x 60'
Comment: Revisiting an old friend! ISO800 and raw frames used this time, with a little better post-processing. Beautiful isn't it?
Designation: MilkyWay
Alternate Name: Sagittarius Star Clouds
Constellation: Sagittarius
Imaging Date: June 14, 2012
Imaging Location: Nantucket
Exposure Time: 1 frames@33sec ~ 0.6min
ISO Setting: 3200
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics 35mm
Focal Reducer: NA
Apparent Size:
Comment: It's hard to believe this is simply a 35mm camera shot (piggybacked on my Meade of course)! You can make out a number of nebulae and clusters. And who would have thought you'd get such colors? I am so happy that after 30 years of observing the stars, I am still thrilled by views like this!
Designation: M8
Alternate Name: Lagoon Nebula
Constellation: Sagittarius
Imaging Date: June 14, 2012
Imaging Location: Nantucket
Exposure Time: 18 frames@30sec ~ 9.0min
ISO Setting: 3200
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel T3i
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size: 90' x 40'
Comment: This is a stunning object to see through a telescope, comparable to the Orion nebula!


M42

M42 - Orion Nebula

M42

M42 - Orion Nebula
Designation: M42
Alternate Name: Orion Nebula
Constellation: Orion
Imaging Date: January 28, 2012
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 30 frames@20sec ~ 10.0min
ISO Setting: 1600
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel XS
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size: 65' x 60'
Comment: I used to be so proud of this image...my first long exposure deep sky object! My images and technique have improved considerably since then, but it does go to show you how much you can do with almost zero experience and JPG images for stacking! My most recent attemptis somewhat improved.
Designation: M42
Alternate Name: Orion Nebula
Constellation: Orion
Imaging Date: December 11, 2011
Imaging Location: Concord
Exposure Time: 1 frames@20sec ~ 0.3min
ISO Setting: 1600
Imaging Device: Canon Rebel XS
Optics LX200R 10" SCT
Focal Reducer: Optec Lepus 0.62X
Apparent Size: 65' x 60'
Comment: One of my first ever digital astrophotos! Amazing what a single 20sec exposure can get you!

 

 

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Last Updated: Oct. 28, 2015

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