M27 – The Dumbbell Nebula (New Astronomy Gear)

On the night of July 29, 2017 I imaged Messier object 27, or M27, also known as the Dumbbell Nebula. M27 is a planetary nebula, which is an expanding shell of ionized gas being ejected from a star. The Dumbbell nebula can be found in the constellation Vulpecula, and was the first planetary nebula discovered on July 12, 1764 by Charles Messier. From our viewpoint here on Earth we view this object along its equatorial plane, perhaps if we saw it from one of its poles it may look more like M57, the Ring Nebula. Fortunately we see it at an angle that allows us to see both its North and South poles.

M27 is approximately 1.25 thousand light years away (being a planetary nebula it is hard to measure exact distance, so this is just an average) at a magnitude of 7.4. The central star, which is the star that forms this nebula, is a magnitude 13.5 and is an extremely hot blueish subdwarf dwarf star with a temperature of 85,000 Kelvin (84,726.85 Celsius, or 152,540.33 Fahrenheit). Going with a distance of 1200 light years that would mean that the luminosity of this nebula is around 100 times brighter than our own Sun.

M27, the Dumbbell Nebula in Vulpecula

This image of M27 was taken with a non-modified Canon T3i, at ISO 800, and 8×5 minute exposures. I had taken 19 images total, but guiding errors resulted in elongated stars which I threw out in order to get the best quality I could. I used a Celestron 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope on a CG-5 mount. Autoguiding with an Orion Starshoot Autoguider and a 50mm guidescope. I do plan on increasing the magnification of the guidescope to get better autoguiding. This is approximately 75x magnification, compared to the roughly 25x magnification I had previously imaged of M27 object with my 6″ Newtonian.

All editing done in Pixinsight. This is the first time in a while that I have used Pixinsight for editing, so I’m still trying to get the hang of it. 

NGC 2023 – Horsehead and Flame Nebulae 01-06-16

That was a tough processing challenge working through all that light pollution to reveal the Horsehead and Flame nebulae. This is the best I could produce with my minimal knowledge of Pixinsight, switching between Harry’s Astroshed tutorials and scavenging online for other tips and tricks to editing DSLR images in PixInsight. I’m pretty pleased with this as it is hard to pull out much detail after removing light pollution without adding too much of that blotchy grainy noise in the background.

NGC 2023 – Horsehead and Flame Nebulae 01-06-16

Taken from a light polluted zone (red Bortle scale)
Telescope: Omni XLT 150
Mount: CG-5
Orion Starshoot Autoguider
Guiding in Linux with Lin_Guider
Modded Canon 350D

42 images at 5 minutes a piece. With 30 Flats, 30 Bias, and 40 Dark frames.

Straight out of the camera single image.

NGC 7023 – The Iris Nebula

In the constellation of Cepheus during the fall months you can find NGC 7023. The Iris Nebula is a large reflection nebula with an apparent magnitude of 6.8. This nebula is lit by the bright star SAO 19158 at a magnitude of 7. It lies in the Milky Way about 1300 light years away from our solar system, and has a radius of 3 light years making it 6 light years across.

Location of NGC 7023

Location of NGC 7023

Through the eyepiece of my 6” telescope from my light polluted skies this nebula was not visible. Upon further magnification of the central star it started to appear a bit fuzzy. In the field of view there was the one bright central star and multiple dim stars scattered lightly through the field.

NGC 7023 taken on 07-18-14

Taken on the night of July 18, 2014. This image consists of 22 images at 300 seconds each, 17 flat frames, and 18 dark frames. Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and post processing done in Photoshop.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150
CG-5 Advanced Series Go-To
PHD Autoguiding
Orion Starshoot Autoguider
Modified Canon 350D

NGC 281 – The Pacman Nebula

Within the constellation Cassiopeia at a distance of 9,200 light years from earth is NGC 281. This nebula is in the Perseus arm of our Milky Way galaxy and includes the star cluster IC 1590 which is formed from around 279 individual stars in and about the cluster. Due to the darker nebulous regions of the cluster it has been dubbed the Pacman Nebula after the video game character. Discovered in 1883 by E. E. Barnard who described it as a “large faint nebula.”

Location of NGC 281 in Cassiopeia.

Location of NGC 281 in Cassiopeia.

In a clear dark sky you should be able to spot this nebula with an amateur telescope. From my backyard I couldn’t make out the nebula no matter how dark adapted my eyes were.

NGC 281 – The Pacman Nebula 08-01-2014

This image of composed of 23@300 second light frames, 13 flat frames, and 25 dark frames. Stacking done in deep sky stacker and post processing done in Photoshop.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150
CG-5 Advanced Series Go-To
PHD autoguiding
Orion Starshoot autoguider
Modified Canon 350D

IC 5070 – The Pelican Nebula

IC 5070 lies closely to the nebula NGC 7000 in the constellation, Cygnus. This large emission nebula looks like a pelican to some viewers which gives it its name, The Pelican Nebula. The Pelican lies close to the star Deneb, about 1800 light years from our solar system, and the dark space splitting IC 5070 and NGC 7000 is actually a dark nebula. The Pelican Nebula is an active star forming region that is highly studied due to it’s evolving gas clouds.

This nebula has an apparent magnitude of 8.0, but due to its large size it was not visible in my telescope from my back yard. I had to use the camera to try to center it the best I could for imaging.

IC 5070 – The Pelican Nebula 06-27-2014

This is 17 images at 5 minutes a piece, 22 dark frames, 22 flat frames, and 22 bias frames. Stacked in deep sky stacker and post processing in Photoshop. I personally don’t see a pelican in this nebula whether it’s my picture or one of the others out there online, but either way this is a huge and beautiful nebula.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150
CG-5 Advanced Series Go-To
PHD autoguiding
Orion Starshoot autoguider
Modified Canon 350D