All my images below are free to use for anything covered by a Creative Commons CC-BY license, which is pretty much everything, commercial or non-commercial.

If you're looking for my old Astro Journal (more than 5 years ago) with my Equipment and Astro Automation pages: https://SaltwaterWitch.com/astronomy

     AstroBin

Some of my gear:

Posted November 24, 2018

Tangled clouds in Cygnus

There's a lot going on in this detailed look at one tiny section of the vast network of interstellar dust and clouds of hydrogen in the constellation Cygnus, including the open star clusters NGC 6871, NGC 6883 and a handful of dark nebulae including Barnard 147 (LDN 853, the pointy dark channel of dust a little left of center), B146, LDN 856, 858. Notes: 28 x 8-minute exposures, almost four hours of data in hydrogen-alpha (Antlia 3nm Ha Pro filter), William Optics GT81 Apochromatic refractor 382mm FL at f/4.7, ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro mono camera cooled to -10C.

Cygnus Composite - I combined images from two different scopes, all the data for the wide field view (left) came from my William Optics GT81, and I captured the data for the Tulip Nebula (Sh2-101, right) with the Apertura 8"/203mm Newtonian.

Posted November 4, 2022

Narrowband Boogeyman in Orion

Sure, we're a few days late for halloween, but check out the creepiness of the dark molecular cloud LDN1622, the "Boogeyman Nebula" about 500 lightyears away in the constellation Orion, along with a bright lumpy backdrop of nebulosity lit from above by the variable star 56 Orionis. LDN1621 is the dark nebula to the left of the Boogeyman, and the reflection nebula VdB 62 is just to the right. The uneven cloudiness at the top right is a small section of Barnard's Loop (Sh2-276), which may give you an indication of LDN1622's location, on the other side of the Loop from M78, about halfway up one side of Orion. Notes: 36 x 8-minute exposures, almost five hours of data in hydrogen-alpha (Antlia 3nm Ha Pro filter), William Optics GT81 Apochromatic refractor 382mm FL at f/4.7, ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro mono camera cooled to -10C.

Posted November 4, 2022

M78 in RGB

I swapped out the narrowband EFW with the RGB+Ha filters, and ran through RGB for Messier 78 (NGC 2068), a reflection nebula in Orion. I also experimented with 2x2 binning with the ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro mono camera, and it taking the resolution from 0.98 arcseconds/pixel to 1.96" / pixel worked pretty well.

Posted October 30, 2022

Astro setup last week

Well, we had a good run of clear night skies last week, and here we are heading toward the new moon, and it's going to rain for three or four days. Anyway, it was great while it lasted. Taking very long exposure images with a telescope, and by long exposure I'm talking the shutter open 5 minutes for each frame. Every image I captured over the last five clear nights has been through this 8 inch Newtonian scope (8 inch primary mirror (203mm) inside the tube where the gold foil cap covers the end, the secondary mirror is where the camera connects to the focuser, toward the top of the scope). And I ran every night's imaging session with the ZWO ASIAir controller.

Posted October 24, 2022

A few more from this run of clear October skies

A few more processed (to some degree) images from the data I have gathered over the last five clear nights. Gear notes: I captured all the data for these in my backyard with an Apertura 800mm f/4 Newtonian OTA, ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro mono camera, Antlia 3nm filters, ZWO ASI290M OAG, on the Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount with the ZWO ASIAir Plus controller.

The core of the Heart Nebula (IC 1805) in Ha+OIII with the star cluster, Melotte 15 surrounding coils and branches of interstellar dust and gas.

Here's the Tulip Nebula (Sharpless 101) in Ha + OIII, a very energetic HII region about 6000 lightyears away in the constellation Cygnus.

The Jellyfish Nebula (IC 443, Sharpless 248) in hydrogen-alpha. IC 443 is a (Sh2-248)) is a supernova remnant about 5000 lightyears away in the constellation Gemini. Trailing off, out of frame top left, is the HII region Sharpless 249. There's ongoing research to determine if these two interact, but they probably do not. SH2-249 is most likely further away than the IC 443 supernova remnant. [https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1984A%26A...140..395D]

Posted October 23, 2022

M42 up close in Ha

The Orion, De Mairin and Running Man Nebulas (M42, M43, NGC 1977) in narrowband hydrogen-alpha. 36 x 300-second exposures, Newtonian 800mm @ f/4.  

Posted October 22, 2022

The Rosette in Ha

The Rosette Nebula (Sh2-275, Caldwell 49) is an HII region and star forming complex in the constellation Monoceros, about 5,200 lightyears away and about 130 lightyears across. The dark chain of interstellar gasses and dust along the bottom is punctuated with Bok Globules, dense regions of star formation. The open cluster of massive blue stars in the center (NGC 2244) are responsible for ionizing the surrounding hydrogen, oxygen, and other gasses; bathed in the intense radiation from these stars, the clouds themselves emit light. These giant stars originally formed out of the nebula and they're now in the process of hollowing out the cloud structure and creating the bubbles of ionization visible around the nebula's core.

Posted October 21, 2022

The Elephant's Trunk in Ha

IC1396A, the Elephant's Trunk Nebula, is a twisted towering structure of interstellar gas and dust, back-lit and ionized by the intense radiation of the massive star just above it (HD 206267, HR 8281). The nebula's mix of organic and geometric shapes rimmed in light makes it stand out amid the eerie streams and swirls of dark nebulae and the backdrop clouds of ionized hydrogen that make up the expansive IC1396 HII region in the constellation Cepheus. The Elephant's Trunk is about 2,400 lightyears away and towers about 25 lightyears, or almost 150 trillion miles top to bottom (236 trillion kilometers). Imaging notes: 30 x 300-second subs in Ha, stacked in DSS. Apertura 800mm f/4 Newtonian OTA, ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro mono camera, Antlia 3nm Ha filter, ZWO ASI290M OAG, on the Sky-Watcher EQ6R-Pro mount with the ZWO ASIAir Plus controller.

Posted October 20, 2022