Nebulae

Welcome to the Nebulae image page. Here you’ll access some of my pictures.

 


Object: M27, the Dumbbell Nebula

M27 detailDescription:The Dumbbell is one (if not the one) of the brightest planetary nebula in our skies. Its the result of the death of a star, now a white dwarf at the center, more or less the same way our Sun will do. It’s in Vulpecula constellation.

Technical data and processing: The Dumbbell radiates mainly in the OIII región, which is blue-green in the visible spectrum. For that reason, one must be very careful during processing in getting the most out of the B and G subs. On the other hand, as it is quite a bright object, I didn’t

M27need much exposure time (1.200 seconds through each filter). In processing, I used deconvolution, protecting the stars and the background with masks (in fact, building the masks got most of my attention and processing time). Guiding during exposures was very good.

We can compare this M27 with a former one by me, using the same equipment a year ago. It’s night and day, being the main improvements guiding and processing techniques and knowledge:

M27 comparison

This is the tech data sheet:

slide-M27

 

 

 

 

 

 


Object: IC410, the Tadpole Nebula

IC410Description:The name of this nebula comes from the two odd figures at upper left. This is an emission object, and it seems that the strong wind of the star cluster inside the nebula is the culprit of the tadpole tails.

Technical data and processing: I imaged with RGB and H-alpha filter. As usual, I combined the H-alpha and R to create a synthetic R channel. This way, we take advantage of the H-alpha detail, and at the same time we assure a correct color balance. I also used deconvolution, and noise reduction.

This is the tech data sheet:

slide-IC410

 

 

 

 

 

 


Object: M20, the Trifid Nebula

 

Trifid HRGBDescription:The Trifid is a remarkable, spectacular object! It glows because the stars that shine inside it, and  it owes its name to the three-lobe configuration seen throught the telescopes. It’s in Sagittarius, and it’s about 5.000 light years from us.

Technical data: 2015/07/24. Meade LX-200 8″ at F7.7, QSI-583WSG with Astrodon LRGB filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. Subs are: five 500 seconds through H-alpha, and five 300 seconds through R,G and B filters, everything binned 2X2. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight. Flats where taken and applied. I created a “synthetic” L & R channels by combining original H-alpha & R subs. Deconvolution was applied to the final L layer to enhance details.

This is the pure H-alpha image (combining the 5 subs and applying deconvolution):

Trifid H-alpha


Object: the Helix Nebula


helixDescription
:The Helix nebula is one of the biggest planetaries. It’s pretty close to us, at 680 light years away. The intense blue color inside this nebula is due to excited Oxigen atoms.

Technical data: this object never gets very high over the horizon at my latitude, so it’s a very noisy target. The solution is good skies and a lot of light frames to improve the signal to noise ratio. For this image I couldn’t get many subs, and the object sets very quickly. While processing, I aggresively used noise reduction routines, while protecting the nebula. Finally, a bit of noise reduction was also applied to the nebula, to have a smother result. The stars were reduced with morphological transformations.

slide-Helix

 

 

 

 

 

 


Object: Rosette Nebula


Rosetta signedDescription
:The Rosette is a fascinating object in the winter sky. A huge region of HII, embedding the NGC2244 open cluster, which is believed to have been formed there. It lies about 5.200 light years from here.

Technical data: 2017/01/24. TS 80mm APO refractor at F4.7. QSI-583WSG with Astrodon LRGB filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. Subs are 5-minute exposures for each one of the filters: 3 subs for L, and 4 subs each for R,G and B. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight. A clear and transpatent sky turned cloudy in the middle of the imaging session, and I only achieved few noise-free subs. Unfortunately I needed to combine all the subs becasuse the night got totally covered. For this reason this image has much more noise than desired. A reason to try again as soon as I can.

This is a cropped version:

Rosetta cropped signed

 

 

 

 

 

And this is the technical data sheet:

slide Rosette

 

 

 

 

 

 


Object: M42

M42Description:The famous Orion Nebula is a huge star nursery, some 1.300 light years away. It’s a very bright object, visible naked eye very easily. But this brightness is its main challenge, as normally the nebula core gets burned and the details are lost. So, for this image I used a technique called High Dymanic Range.

Technical data: the HDR technique combines short and long exposure images, so that the core doesn’t get burned. The trick here is being sure that the short exposure frames capture the details inside the nebula, and that the long exposure ones get the most out of the fine details surrounding the brightest part. For this reason, I used my H-alpha filter as the Luminance channel, with exposures of 500 seconds. And for the core, I used 60 seconds for the H-alpha, and only 30 seconds for the RGB. As this object is too big for my configuration, I pictured it as a mosaic of two pieces. And in the processing work, I used the HDRComposition tool of PixInsight to combine the short and long exposure images, and also a touch of Deconvolution, to sharpen the nebula details.

As a comparison, you can see the result of the core processed as usual (on the left), and processed with the HDR technique (at the right). The core part has been fully uncovered, and it’s not burned at all.

comparativa nucli M42

You can also take a look at the Technical Data sheet.

slide-M42

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also imaged this babe with my new and faster setup. Its larger FOV was perfect for framing it with its surrounding.

Technical data: 2017/01/14. TS 80mm APO refractor at F4.7. QSI-583WSG with Astrodon LRGB filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. Subs are three 5-minute exposures for each one of the filters. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.

M42 signed

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a cropped version:

M42 cropped signed

 

 

 

 

And this is the technical data sheet:

slide M42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Object: IC405, the Flaming Star Nebula


IC405Description
:This nebula named after AE Aurigae, the hot star which dominated the field. This blue star strongly ionizes the gas with its powerfull radiation. Also it casts its intense blue light on the dust inside the nebula, which gives the whole thing this spectacular blue hue. What we see here is only a small portion of the nebula complex. It is about 1.500 light years ago, in the constellation of Auriga.

Technical data: 2012/03/10. Meade LX-200 8″ at F7.7, QSI-583WSG with Astrodon RGB and H-alpha filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. Both the luminance and the R layer are built with a synthetic “R” component which mixes H-alfa and R. Subs are: five 700-second through H-alpha, and four 500-second each through R, G, and B filter (all binned 2×2). Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.


 Object: The Cone Nebula


ConeDescription
:This emission nebula is about 2.600 light years ago, in the constellation of Monoceros. It’s strange shape is due to an absortion nebula in front of a light, emitting one.

Technical data: 2012/02/11. Meade LX-200R 8″ at F7.7, QSI-583WSG, thru Astrodon RGB and H-alpha filters, guiding with the Meade DSI Pro. 4 subs of 700 seconds, binned 2×2, trhu H-alpha filter, and 3, 400 seconds, binned 2×2, thru RGB each. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with Pixinsight.


 Object: Sharpless 2-101, the Tulip Nebula


Tulip NebulaDescription
:This emission nebula is about 6.000 light years ago, in the constellation of Cygnus. I’s very close, visually, to the micro-quasar Cygnus X-1, a suspected black hole. The region surrounding this nebula is rich in Milky Way stars, which adds to the object beauty.

Technical data: 2011/10/08. Meade LX-200 8″ at F7.7, QSI-583WSG with Astrodon RGB and H-alpha filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. The luminance layer is build with 50% of a sysnthetic R, composed of R and H-alpha. This synthetic R is also used instead of the normal R to form the RGB component. Subs are: 5 subs, 700-second each through H-alpha, and 3 subs, 500-second each through R, G and B (all binned 2X2). Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.


 Object: Sharpless 2-115


Sharpless 2-115Description
:This huge emission nebula lies in the constellation of Cygnus, quite close to Deneb. It shines because its ionized by some of the stars embeded in it. Other object to look for in this image is the open cluster Berkeley 90 (at the left off-center).

Technical data and processing: with a lot of signal, and a pretty good H-alpha set, processing this impressive nebula was a joy. As usual, I combined the H-alpha and R channels to create what I call a “synthetic R”. This combination is not straightforward, as one must take care of the differences bewteen the dynamic ranges of both channels beforecombining them, as the risk of not doing so is to loose the great detail captured by the H-alpha component.

Slide Sharpless 2-115

 

 

 

 

 

 


Object: Sharpless 2-132

Sharpless 2-132Description:This is another rather big emission nebula, in the constellation of Cepheus. This HII region is ionized by several powerful stars.

Technical data and processing:  I imaged this baby in a almost fullmoon night. The light gradient was big and nasty, as expected, and almost washed out the R, G and B subs. Fortunately, the H-alpha filter doesn’t get bothered by the moonlight, ans I was able to get quite detail in these subs. While processing, I tried to get rid of the gradient, using aggressive background neutralization tolos and also quite strong -and unacceptable in other cases- histogram adjustment. Finally, I combined the H-alpha with the R producing what I call a “synthetic R” channel.

I nevertheless imaged that night because I wanted to test my improved guiding.

slide-Sharpless 2-132

 

 

 

 

 

 


Object: M8, the Lagoon Nebula

M8Description:This is a well-known target for astrophotographers, due to its brightness and the remarkable detail it shows, even with modest equipment. It is embedded in the Milky Way dense part, in Sagitarius, about 5.000 light-years from us. It seems that this emission nebula is producing new stars. It contains also the open cluster NGC6530.

Technical data and processing: this image is, in fact, a two-piece mosaic, as the nebula is way too big for my FOV. With a lot of light, this object doesn’t really represent any trouble. While processing, I used wavelets to highlight the dark patches, which are remarkable. Due to its brightness, I simply used R, G and B filters (not the H-alpha one). As in other mosaics, I had to manage the seals that appeared when combining the mosaic parts. This special processing is explained in my article about mosaics.

Here it’s a deail of the nebula core:

M8 core detail

slide-M8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the new equipment, I framed, six years later, both the Lagoon and the Trifi inside the same field!

Technical data: 2016/08/07. TS 80mm APO refractor at F4.7. QSI-583WSG with Astrodon RGB filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. Subs are four 5-minute exposures for each one of the filters. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.

M8 and M20 signed

 

 

 

 

 

This is the cropped version:

M8 and M20 cropped signed

 

 

 

 

And this is the technical detail:

M20 i M8 slide

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Object: IC5146, the Cocoon Nebula


cocoonDescription
:This nebula is located in Cygnus, at 4,000 light years away. It is a fine imaging object, with interesting detail inside. It is surrounded by a dark nebula, which one can see looking for dark patches which hide the rich star background. It’s also surrounded by faint nebulosity which created a tinny light gradient.

Technical data and processing: this object happened to be a quite easy target. Due to technical problems (I simply forgot to put the antidew cap, so after a while the LX corrector plate was out of service!), that night I only could capture 2 R frames, 1 G frame, and 2 B frames (no H-alpha). I expected to find a lot of noise, but even though noise was indeed there, I was able to process it remarkably well. The details inside the Cocoon are evident, and the dark nebula around it can also be seen quite easily. I wonder what the result had been with a lot more signal!

Slide Cocoon

 

 

 

 

 

Then it came my new equipment, the 80mm APO refractor. With it, the dark nebula surrounding the Cocoon (Barnard 168) was clearly showed.

Cocoon signedTechnical data: 2016/08/18. TS 80mm APO refractor at F4.7. QSI-583WSG with Astrodon LRGB filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. Subs are 7 5-minute exposures for each filter. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsigh.

This is the tech slide for it:

cocoon slide

 

 

 

 

 

 


Object: NGC7000, the North America Nebula (portion)


North America v4Description
:This nebula is very wide, and its gas emits under the radiation of a star. It’s not clear which one is responsible for this emission, but some sources sign Deneb as the one.

Technical data: 2011/07/15. Meade LX-200 8″ at F7.7, QSI-583WSG with Astrodon RGB and H-alpha filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. Subs are: five 700-seconds and binned 2X2 through H-alpha, and three 300-seconds and binned 3X3 through R, G and B filters. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.

Six years later, and with a new equipment (the 80mm TS refractor) and its huge field I imaged the North America together with the Pelican, in H-alpha filter while the Moon shone almost full.

Technical data: 2016/08/18. TS 80mm APO refractor at F4.7. QSI-583WSG with Astrodon H-alpha filter, guiding with the DSI Pro. Subs are ten 10-minute exposures. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.

North America Halfa signed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the tech detail:

north america slide

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the amazing guiding precision of the setup, with its almost 3 arcsec/pixel. This accounts for the fine detail recorded in the picture. Processing used deconvolution, with a strong star mask as a protection.


Object: Veil Nebula


Veil H1200 R1200 G600 B1200Description
: This nebula is a remnant of a “recent” supernova explosion, about 5.000 or 8.000 years ago. It is a wide-field object, with some different sections. This one is the western section, easily recognized because there is a 4-magnitude star near the center. Watch the delicate filemants and structure of this beautiful nebula.

Technical data: 2010/08/04. Meade LX-200 8″ at F7.7, QSI-583WSG with Astrodon RGB and H-alpha filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. The luminance layer is build with 50% of the H-alpha image. Subs are: one 10-minute and two 5-minute for each one of the filters. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.

This one is a 6-frame mosaic, trying to cover the whole Western Veil Nebula. It’s my first mosaic.

Veil_western

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this one is a fragment of the Eastern Veil, in a 3-frame mosaic.

Veil_eastern

Technical data and processing: You can read the processing detail in my article about mosaics.

The challenging part is to balance the dynamic range of both the background and the nebula parts between frames in the mosaic.

In my case, I has to deal also with light gradients from the Moon.

Processing has included creating a synthetic R channel, with the data coming from the H-alpha and the regular R channel.

 

Slide Eastern Veil

Slide Western Veil

 

 

 

 

 

 

And about 6 years later, with my new portable system, the Western Veil:

Technical data: 2016/08/04. TS 80mm APO refractor at F4.7. QSI-583WSG with Astrodon LRGB filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. Subs are four 5-minute exposures for each one of the filters. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.

Veil signed

 

 

 

 

 

And this is a cropped version of the image:

Veil cropped signed

 

 

 

 

 

The technical information is as follows:

Veil TS slide

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the Eastern Veil:

Technical data: 2016/08/06. TS 80mm APO refractor at F4.7. QSI-583WSG with Astrodon LRGB filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. Subs are four 5-minute exposures for each one of the filters. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.

Veil east signed

 

 

 

 

 

This is a cropped version:

Veil east cropped signed

 

 

 

 

And the technical information. As it can be seen in the comparison in the tech slide, a huge improvement is achieved by processing with deconvolution only the L component and not the composite image. The L component has a lot more detail than the RGB ones, and processing it alone enhances the final result without including in the deconvolution much noise. This processing technique was also used in the Western Veil above.

veil east TS slide

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Object: NGC6888, the Crescent Nebula


crescent signedDescription
:This nebula is the remnant of what was a red supergiant which lost its outter layers. Now the star, still 30 times more massive than our Sun, is very hot, and creating a very powerfull stellar wind which is pushing the nebula ahead. This star is near the end of its life, and will end up as a supernova explosion. It’s 5.000 light years from here.

Technical data: Meade LX-200R 8″ at F.7.7. QSI-583WSG, thru Astrodon RGB and H-alpha filters, guiding with the Meade DSI Pro. H-alpha and R blending. Subs of 600 seconds, binned 2X2 (5 subs for H-Alpha, and 3 sub s for RGB). Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.

crescent slide

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Object: the Horsehead Nebula

 

horsehead v2Description: This is one of the most famous nebulas! In Orion, it’s basically a dark nebula whose profile appears drawed in front of an emission nebula. This is the kind of deep sky object which I could see in text books when I was a child: those remarkable pictures of Monte Palomar. Now, these objects are at reach of modest amateur scopes!

Technical data and processing: I remember, when I was a boy, I promised myself that the very day I was able to see the Horsehead with my scope I would retire from my hobby. Of course, I have withdrawn this promise, as my current equipment has nothing to do with the rudimentary telescopes I built at that time!

Although the Horsehead is not an esay target, I suceeded haveing a decent result, taking into account that it was not a moonless night and that I didn’t use flats! I has to deal with strong gradients in the image, but I has collected enough light to have a strong signal ratio. As usual, I combined the H-alpha and R channels into a synthetic red.

horsehead big 2

 

 

 

 

Slide Horsehead

 

 

 

 

 

I tried it again with my new setup, taking advantage of its wider FOV.

Hosehead cropped signed

 

 

 

 

 

Technical data: 2017/02/25. TS 80mm APO refractor at F4.7. QSI-583WSG with Astrodon LRGB filters, guiding with the DSI Pro. Subs are four 5-minute exposures for each one of the filters. Adquired with Maxim/DL, registered with DeepSkyStacker, and processed with PixInsight.

This is the technical data sheet:

slide horsehead

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Object: M97, the Owl Nebula

M97Description: We captured this amazing object with the 150-cm telescope at Sierra Nevada. The Owl is a planetary nebula, the rest of a sun-like star, at about 2,000 light years from here. It is a beautiful object indeed, and imaging it with narrowband filters is a must. In this case, H-alpha, OIII and SII narrowband filters were used.

Technical data and processing: The whole processing was done with narrowband subs. This was the first time I processed such an image. I decided the H-alpha in the R channel, the OIII in the B, and the SII in the G one. Some 7,200 seconds worth of light were collected, and you can see the details in the technical sheet below. Although that night a bright Moon was high in the sky, that wasn’t an issue thanks to narrowband. Processing involved a smooth deconvolution for the nebula, and balancing channels.

M97

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slide-M97