Sunday, September 15, 2019

SH2-84 - Ha Region in Sagitta

SH2-84 is a faint emission nebula located approximately 16,300 light years from Earth in the constellation of Sagitta, the Arrow.  It is a member of the Sharpless catalogue of emission nebulae which contains 313 entries representing H-II emission nebulae with a declination of -27 degrees or above, compiled by American astronomer Stewart Sharpless in 1959.  

The nebula is thought to be produced by the bluish star just above the dense red portion in the left center in this image.  It is a Wolf-Rayet star designated as WR128 (HD 187282).  The very difficult to process bright yellow star that dominates the left side of the image is δ-Sge.  SH2-84 lies close to much more impressive object like M27 and M71 which may be why it is not imaged much, in fact there is only one other entry in Astrobin at this time.  

There are several blue, white, yellow, and red stars in this image, however, I suspect many of the stars appear reddish because of the gas and dust in this region.  


SH2-84 - Ha Region in Sagitta
Home Monroe, CT
Date: 8-30-19, 9-3-19, 9-4-19, 9-7-19, 9-10-19
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Astro-Tech AT115EDT 115mm Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 805mm
f/7
Focal Reducer: Astro-Tech 0.8x Focal Reducer/Field Flattener for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO Ha, R, G, B
Focuser: ZWO EAF
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: Ha 73 x 180s, R 33 x 90s, G 31 x 90s, 32 x 90s
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Temp: 17 C
Post Processing: PixInsight, Photoshop
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/
http://astroquest1.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 6, 2019

A Giant 'E' in Space - The E-Nebula

The E-Nebula is a pair of dark nebula (B142 and B143) in the constellation of Aquila.  E.E. Barnard described and designated these two nebula as B143 (northern region resembling a square with a missing side) and B142 (southern region).  These two nebula together form a giant "E" in space with an apparent size equivalent to that of a full moon and is some 2000 light-years from Earth.  The interstellar cloud that makes up the nebula stands out well against the heavy star field and like all molecular clouds can reach temperatures low enough where different types of stable molecules can exist.  I can't get over all the stars in this region and this is after some tar reduction.  Most of them appear yellowish but I suspect they are being masked a bit by the vast amount of gas and dust.

This image would have been a lot easier to process had I just collected more RGB data in place of the luminosity data.  The luminosity looked good on its own but when I combined it with the RGB the stars seemed more bloated.  However, the luminosity did enhance the dark nebula slightly and reduced the noise a bit.  I created an RGB mask for the stars and combined the luminosity to the rest of the image.  I am OK with how it turned out but if I were doing this again I would just collect more RGB and skip the luminosity altogether.   


B143 - The E-Nebula
Home Monroe, CT
Date: 8-25-19, 8-26-19, 8-29-19
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Astro-Tech AT115EDT 115mm Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 805mm
f/7
Focal Reducer: Astro-Tech 0.8x Focal Reducer/Field Flattener for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO L, R, G, B
Focuser: ZWO EAF
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: L 104 x 60s, R 61 x 60s, G 57 x 60s, 57 x 60s
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Temp: 17 C
Post Processing: PixInsight, Photoshop
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/
http://astroquest1.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Cocoon Nebula (2019) - HaRGB with RGB Stars

Addendum:
Processing Flow on the Bottom

Surprisingly this is my first image of the this colorful emission/reflection nebula.  There are certain objects that most astrophotographers do when they are first starting out like the Orion Nebula.  The Coccon is not that popular but it is one that people in the Northern Hemisphere usually do with in the first year or so.  For a number reasons I am just getting around to it now.  I was planning on doing a normal LRGB image but then I saw a fabulous image on Astrobin by Luca Marinelli (https://www.astrobin.com/415781/E/?nc=all) where he added a whole bunch of Ha data.  I decided to give it shot as well.  Although I did not capture as much Ha, I did capture enough to see the streamers (jets) that come off the top and bottom of the nebula (it is very faint even with seven hours worth of Ha).

The Cocoon Nebula (IC 5146) is about 15 light-years wide and 3,300 light years away towards constellation of the Swan (Cygnus).  The nebula itself is a young star-forming region glowing inside a dim molecular cloud which extends to the left on the image.  Massive amounts of excited hydrogen gas account for the reddish glow of this stellar nursery along with many hot young blue stars.  The source of the glow is the bright star near the center of the nebula estimated to only a few hundred thousand years old.   

I find processing HaRGB images to be the toughest of all, even harder than SHO or HOO for some reason and this was no exception.  I was trying to keep a natural look yet show the Ha jets on the top and bottom, however, it seems one sacrifices for the other.  Using PixInsight I did a RGB combination, then a LRGB combination, and then combined the Ha into the red channel for the final combination.  I tried a last combination of adding the Ha as a luninosity layer but it took away from the natural look that I was after.  I also have to give a shout out to Gary Imm for assisting me with combining RGB stars into a narrowband image.  


IC 5146 - Cocoon Nebula
Home Monroe, CT
Date: 8-1-19, 8-4-19, 8-10-19, 8-11-19, 8-19-19, 8-20-19, 8-23-19
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Astro-Tech AT115EDT 115mm Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 805mm
f/7
Focal Reducer: Astro-Tech 0.8x Focal Reducer/Field Flattener for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO Ha, L, R, G, B
Focuser: ZWO EAF
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: Ha 140 x 180s, L 169 x 60s, R 80 x 60s, G 67 x 60s, 78 x 60s
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Temp: 17 C
Post Processing: PixInsight, Photoshop
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/
http://astroquest1.blogspot.com/


Processing Flowchart
PixInsight Processing Flow Diagram 
ALL Master Images - After Stacking
1
STF
2
Dynamic Crop
3
Rename
RGB
4
RGB Combination
5
Dynamic Background Extraction (DBE) 
6
Histogram Transformation
7
CIE-L extract Mask 
8
TGV
9
Curves/Histogram Transformation - Darken Background
Luminosity
10
Automatic Background Extraction (ABE)
11
Histogram Transformation
12
Starmask
13
Morphological Transformation
LRGB
14
Split RGB
15
LRGB Combination
16
CIE-L extract Mask
17
TGV
Ha
18
ABE
19
Histogram Transformation
20
Range Mask
21
TGV 2x
HaRGB
22
Split LRGB
23
Open RGB
24 
Starmask RGB
25
PixelMath LRGB Channels with Ha in place of Red
26
Apply to RGB
Done in PixInsight

Thursday, August 15, 2019

NGC 6888 - Crescent Nebula HOO (2019) & Soap Bubble

Thanks to Luca Marinelli for pointing out the Soap Bubble Nebula (PN G75.5+1.7) on right side.

The Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888) is a massive bubble 25 light-years across and approximately 5000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus.  This object is the result of the collision of faster moving stellar wind from a Wolf-Rayet star (a star that lost its outer hydrogen layer) colliding with and energizing slower moving wind ejected by the star when it became a red giant sometime around 250,000 to 400,000 years ago.  The star known as WR136 is near the end of its stellar life and will probably go out in a supernova most likely not in our lifetime though.  It is the bright yellowish star near the center of the Crescent.  

I captured this object almost exactly two years ago with my old setup and using a UHC filter.  For what I had it was OK but I really wanted to capture the blue-green hue of the oxygen mingling with the red hydrogen I had to wait until now.  I obtained about 3 hours of Ha and 5 hours of OIII to ensure there was enough to produce the HOO image.  I thought I was going to crop it more but I really liked the nebulosity so I kept it wide field.  Additionally, I reduced the stars a bit more than I usually do because I wanted to highlight the surrounding nebulosity especially in the lower left where they almost look like wave fronts.  Lastly, after many test adjustments, I did not darken the background too much liked the faint red-blue hue of the surrounding nebulosity.

Video

Image

NGC 6888 - Crescent Nebula
Home Monroe, CT
Date: 7-13-19, 7-14-19, 7-30-19, 8-9-19, 8-11-19
Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro
Telescope: Astro-Tech AT115EDT 115mm Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 805mm
f/7
Focal Reducer: Astro-Tech 0.8x Focal Reducer/Field Flattener for Refractor Telescopes
Mount: Orion Atlas Pro
Filter Wheel: ZWO EFW 8x 1.25"
Filter: ZWO Ha, OIII
Focuser: ZWO EAF
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: Ha 59 x 180s, OIII 97 x 180s
Gain: 139
Offset 21
Temp: 17 C
Post Processing: PixInsight, Photoshop
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/
http://astroquest1.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Rho Ophiuchi molecular cloud system 200mm lens

This is the last of my national park vacation series images. The Rho Ophiuchi molecular cloud system is a region of gas and dust that is located close by the star ρ Ophiuchi of the constellation Ophiuchus. The system is an estimated 400 ly away making it one of the closest star-forming regions to the Solar System.  Rho Ophiuchi (ρ Ophiuchi) is a binary star system surrounded by a blue reflection nebula.  The cloud system appears golden yellow (IC 4606) around the bright super giant star Antares, takes on a reddish color near the double star system Alniyat, as linear blueish spots (IC 4605) around the star i-Sco, as a bridge or transition (IC 4603) between the blue-yellow regions, and as the namesake blue reflection nebula (IC 4604).  Several other objects are visible such as the globular clusters M4 and the smaller NGC 6144.

I really like this area region a lot and have always wanted to image it but it is low and located in very light polluted portion of the sky in southern Connecticut.  So with my Hap Griffin astro-modified camera, tripod, and SkyGuider I was ready.  Although I did not get all of the nebulosity possible I would have liked, I am happy with what I got.  One of my favorite areas is the dark reflection streams located near the center and top of the image and also the gold tint near the Antares nebula.  The image is rotated 90 degrees for easier framing on websites and such.

Difficulties:
I did have several difficulties.  First, this was the family vacation where I squeaked out time to image and not an astro-trip so I there are no darks, bias, or flats for support.  I stacked 51 x 1-min frames on the first night, 32 x 1-min frames on the second night, and finally 75 x 30-sec frame on the third night.  After examining the frames closely on the first night I noticed the stars were slightly elongated so decided to try again.  The exposures from second set were also elongated.  Determined to get an image I tried again.  This time I ensured everything was tight and polar alignment was spot on.  I did notice that one of my screws holding the guider was not tight which may have contributed to the elongated stars, however I was not talking any chances, so I went with 30-sec exposures.  

The stars on the 30-sec exposures were rounded so my plan was to stack all the images but only use the 30-sec stacked image for the stars.  When I stacked images for all three nights in DSS, the stars were round.  It seems DSS only used the best stars to make the image, in other words it did what I was planning to do.

Final thoughts:
My setup with the Manfrotto tripod and SkyGuider Pro mount works great for 50mm and smaller FL lenses.  However, there seems to be some elongation with the 200mm lens.  I believe the problem is my tripod.  The tripod is good for light to medium weight use, however it has trouble for larger equipment.  I may purchase the recommend iOptron mount for the SkyGuider to use for driving trips and just use smaller lenses and the Manfrotto tripod for airplane travel.


Rho Ophiuchi Molecular Cloud System - IC 4604, IC 4605, IC 4606, M4, NGC 6144
Location: Victor, ID, Yellowstone National Park, WY
Date: 7-20-19, 7-21-19, 7-24-19
Camera: Canon T3i/600D modified
Lens: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
Focal Length: 200mm
f/3.2
Mount: iOptron SkyGuider Pro on a Manfrotto Tripod
Filter: none
Autoguiding: none
Exposure: 51 x 60s, 32 x 60s, 75 x 30s
ISO: 1600
Processing: Photoshop, PixInsight, Lightroom
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/
http://astroquest1.blogspot.com/

Moon in conjunction with Jupiter 2019

Moon in conjunction with Jupiter from Booth Park! Image is a combination of a short exposure 1/400 sec. for the moon and 2 sec. for Jupiter and its four Galilean moons. Shot taken with a 200mm lens.

Moon and jupiter
Location: Home Monroe, CT
Date: 8-9-19
Camera: Canon T3i/600D modified
Lens: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
Focal Length: 200mm
RGB f/4.0
Mount: iOptron SkyGuider Pro on a Manfrotto Tripod
Filter: Astronomik OWB Clip-in
Autoguiding: none
Exposure: 1 x 1/400s,  1 x 2s
ISO: 400
Processing: Photoshop, Lightroom
https://kurtzeppetello.smugmug.com/
http://astroquest1.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Antares Region From Wyoming - 11 min with 50mm Lens

I was shooting more than just the Milky Way while on vacation.  Well, it is a bit noisy, but for only eleven minutes I am happy, besides it is better than anything I would get back home.  I have always wanted to do this area but it is very difficult in southwestern Connecticut as it it low and in the direction of light pollution headquarters (NYC).  Of course I would have liked to get more data but there were clouds moving in and out.

Using the 50mm lens (nifty fifty) results in a very wide field which in turn leads to many neat objects.  The large white object on the left is Jupiter and I had to tone it done a bit.  Antares is the large yellow star located on the lower left side. Approximately 550 light-years it is the 15th brightest star in the night sky gives of a yellow glow although it is a red supergiant.  If it were placed where our sun is it would reach well past the orbit of Mar.  It is actually a binary star system with a small hot star and the red supergiant.

Other highlights of this region include M4, Alniyat, Rho Ophiuchi Nebula (IC 4604), dark dust clouds, the Blue Horsehead Nebula (IC 4592).  M4 is a globular cluster ~7200 ly away located just to the right of Antares.  To the left of M4 reddish nebulosity surrounds the pulsating variable star Alniyat.  Above Antares and Alniyat is the blue Rho Ophiuchi Nebula.  All of the gas and dust in the area is known as the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex and includes the dark streaks which are large cool clouds of dust and gas.  Other nebula within this complex are IC 4601, IC 4603, and IC 4605.  Lastly, located in the center of the image is the Blue Horsehead Nebula spanning about 40 ly approximately 400 ly away.

Processing was a bit tough mainly trying to reduce the noise.  I normally would not post it until more noise was reduced but there is only so much you could do with so little time. I also highly saturated it in order to bring out the colors.

Antares Region
Location: Yellowstone National Park, WY
Date: 7-25-19
Camera: Canon T3i/600D modified
Lens: Canon 50mm f/1.8
Focal Length: 50mm
f/3.2
Mount: iOptron SkyGuider Pro on a Manfrotto Tripod
Filter: none
Autoguiding: none
Exposure: 22 x 30s
ISO: 1600
Processing: Photoshop, PixInsight