NGC 7000 with the William Optics SpaceCat 51 APO Refractor

October 16, 2019 - Reading time: 2 minutes

We finally had a clear night. The only problem was the moon rising around 8:30 pm. I still had an hour of darkness before that, and used it to run some tests with my new William Optics SpaceCat 51 APO Refractor (250mm FL, f/4.9). I was already impressed by the build quality and design characteristics of this extremely portable, wide-field scope. The edge-to-edge sharpness of the images I shot during some daylight testing astounded me. So I was not surprised that my first shots of nebulae with this small but versatile refractor were beautiful. William Yang and the team at William Optics continue to innovate, creating new and more capable telescopes, while advancing and adapting their existing product lines for new and more demanding uses (Have you seen the new Fluorostar 156? Holy Zeus doing jumping-jacks, that's a beautiful refractor). The SpaceCat 51 (the limited edition space grey version of the RedCat 51) is my third William Optics scope--I started with a GT81, and I'm certain there will be more as time goes by. 

Here's a stack of 10 subs of NGC 7000, North America Nebula in Cygnus, with a bit of the surrounding region including the Pelican Nebula. This is 10 x 240 second exposures stacked in DSS--no calibration frames, shot with a William Optics SpaceCat 51, ZWO ASI1600MM-Pro mono camera, and Astronomik 6nm Hydrogen-alpha filter. I'm using an Orion Thin Off-axis Guider and ZWO ASI120M-mini with this train, and guiding was spectacular. I didn't crop or do anything crazy with this stack, just normal processing in Photoshop CC 2019.

NGC 7000 (North America Nebula), IC 5070 (Pelican Nebula) and IC 5068 (lower right) are all part of the same HII region in the constellation Cygnus. NGC 7000 is about 1800 lightyears away in the Orion Arm of our the Milky Way. With this field of view, we can see over 140 trillion miles of clouds of interstellar ionized hydrogen, lit by the massive binary star HD 199579, located approximately where Chicago would be. The dark bands and filaments of dust in front of these vast glowing clouds (LDN 935, B 352, 356) help form the eponymous North America shape, blocking out a large region for the "Gulf of Mexico", running up the "East Coast" and across the "Northeast Passage".