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Monday, January 25, 2021

Lower's Nebula

 I originally shot this data at february 2016, this is a reprocessed version. Lower's Nebula is also known as Sharpless 261 (Sh2-261) and it located in constellation Orion at an estimated distance of about 3300 light years, This is not a bright object, especially the O-III signal is very weak. Seeing wasn't very good at the time.

Lower's Nebula (Sh2-261)
Click for a large image

Image is in mapped colors from an emission of  the ionized elements. Golden areas are from emission of sulfur and hydrogen, S-II and H-alpha, blueish areas are from ionized oxygen, O-III.

Image in visual spectrum
Click for a large image

Natural color scheme from the emission of an ionized elements, H-a, S-II and O-III. This is a very dim and diffused nebula, this image spans vertically about one degrees

Technical details

Processing work flow

Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
Color combine in PS CS3
Levels and curves in PS CS3.

Imaging optics
Celestron Edge HD 1100 @ f7 with 0,7 focal reducer for Edge HD 1100 telescope

10-micron 1000

Cameras and filters
Imaging camera Apogee Alta U16 and Apogee seven slot filter wheel
Guider camera, Lodestar x2 and SXV-AOL

Astrodon filter, 5nm H-alpha
Astrodon filter, 3nm O-III
Astrodon filter, 3nm S-II

Exposure times
H-alpha, 15 x 1200s = 5h
O-III, 6 x 1200s binned 4x4 = 2h min.
S-II, 6 x 1200s  binned 4x4 = 2h min.
Total 9h

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Mosaic image gets large, 400 hours and 41 panels

Nine years and over 350 hours of exposures, 41 panels and 31 high resolution sub-panels stitched together seamlessly. This mosaic image spans about 45 x 18 degrees of sky, the original resolution is 14.000 x 41.000 pixels.

Previous version of this mosaic image can be seen here,

From cassiopeia to Cepheus
Click for a full size image, it's really worth it! (3700 x 1400 pixels)

Image is in mapped colors from a light from the ionized elements, hydrogen = green, sulfur = red and oxygen = blue. NOTE, there is an image of the Moon at the same scale in lower left corner.
The heart and Soul nebulae are at upper left corner and the IC 1396 with the Elephant's Trunk Nebula at center right. There are many well known objects in this massive mosaic image including the Bubble and Cave Nebulae at just a little right from the center. 
There are about six million stars in this composition.

Click for a full size image

Evolution of the mosaic image between 2012 - 2021
Click for a full size image


I have used several optical configurations for this mosaic image during the years. Up to 2014 I was using an old Meade LX200 GPS 12" scope, QHY9 astrocam, Canon EF 200mm f1.8 camera optics and baader narrowband filter set. After 2014 I have had 10-micron 1000 equatorial mount, Apogee Alta U16 astro camera, Tokina AT-x 200mm f2.8 camera lens and the Astrodon 50mm square narrowband filter set. I have shot many details with a longer focal length, before 2014 by using Meade 12" scope with reducer and after 2014 Celestron EDGE 11" and reducer. Quider camera has been Lodestar and Lodestar II.

Some reduced size details from the full size mosaic image

Sharpless 132

IC 1396

Supernova remnant CTB1

Sharpless 124 and the Cocoon Nebula


From Bubble to Cave Nebula

Monday, January 11, 2021

First new photo for the Year 2021

 Between Cygnus and Cepheus, near the constellation Lacerta, locates the Sharpless 124 (Sh2-124) 
This emission nebula is kind of large and has a brighter formation at middle of it. There is some very dim O-III emission too, generally this emission nebula is not  a very easy target for imagers.
There are very few good phoptos of it around.

My wide field setup covers enough sky to capture both, the Cocoon Nebula (Sh2-125) and the Sharpless-124 in a same field of view. Data for the photo was shot at December 2020

Sharpless 124 and the Cocoon Nebula
Click for a large image

Cocoon Nebula can be seen at lower left corner, Sh2-124 at center. Photo in mapped colors, from the emission of ionized elements,R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen. (Known as Hubble Palette) 
NOTE, an apparent size of the Moon as a scale

A closeup
Click for a large image

The starfield is very densy in this part of  Milky Way

An older longer focal length photo
Click for a large image

Technical details

Processing workflow
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
Color combine in PS CS3
Levels and curves in PS CS3.

Imaging optics
Tokina AT-x 300mm f2.8 camera lens

10-micron 1000

Cameras and filters
Imaging camera Apogee Alta U16 and Apogee seven slot filter wheel
Guider camera, Lodestar x 2 and an old spotting scope of Meade LX200

Astrodon filters,
5nm H-alpha 3nm S-II and 3nm O-III

Total exposure time
H-alpha, 6 x 1200 s, binned 1x1 = 2 h
O-III, 3x 1200 s, binned 2x2 = 1h
S-II, 3x1200 s, binned 2x2 = 1h

H-alpha channel alone (Two hours)
Click for a large image

Thursday, December 31, 2020

All my photos from year 2020

The year 2020 has been interesting since I'm between the scopes at the moment. I converted my old Tokina At-x 300 mm f2.8 camera optics and paired it with the Apogee Alta U16 astro camera.
At first it looked like an impossible task since the back focus distance of Tokina lens was way too short for the camera. After some heavy handed modifications (including an angle grinder) I managed to marry those too junks of metal, glass and silicon together. Kind of Frankenstein's monster but worked!

Tokina 300mm f2.8 and Apogee Alta U16

After many years shooting with a long focal length instrument it was like a fresh air to work with wide field tool. 

All my photos from the year 2020
Click for a full size poster (2000 x 2800 pixels)

NOTE, images are not in scale to each other

There are some very rarely imaged objects in the the poster

Photo 11,

Supernova remnant Sh2-221 and a planetary nebula Sh2-216. There are very few images out of them, I haven't seen any other three band NB images from Sh2-221

43 hours of exposures was needed to reveal targets in full glory. There are very few images out there from Sh2-205 and even less from LBN 696.

Photo 12,

This is a very large dim and diffused supernova remnant in Cygnus, The dense starfield almost buries faint filament structures. Extremely few photos out there showing the whole SNR.
This SNR is part of the Cygnus mosaic (Image 21).

Photo 21,

A very commonly imaged target but this deep exposure reveals a very dim supernova remnant just above the "Tip of the Heart". SNR can be seen at eight o'clock position in the photo. 

Two massive panorama mosaics

This year I got ready two very large narrowband mosaic images. 
Material for them was collected during past ten years. 
The Great Mosaic of Cygnus covers now the whole constellation.
Second as large mosaic spans sky from Cassiopeia to Cepheus. 
Exposure time for both of then is over 800 Hours.


Cassiopeia to Cepheus

At 2020 we published a book about nebulae, "Cosmic Clouds 3D" We =  Brian May, David J Eicher and Me. It was a pleasure to work with talented people. The idea for the book came from Brian may, the legendary Queen guitarist and astrophysicist. At the moment the book is practically sold out.


  1. Sh2-124,
  2. Sh2--124 wide field
  3. Clouds of Cassiopeia,
  4. SNR CTB1
  5. Simeis 147
  6. Tulip nebula area,
  7. Sh2-205,
  8. NGC 1499,
  9. Sh2-132,
  10. Sh2-126,
  11. Sh2-216 & 221,
  12. SNR G65.3+5,7,
  13. IC 63 & NGC281,
  14. SNR IC443,
  15. Bubble to Cave,
  16. Cygnus,
  17. Sh2-114,
  18. IC 405 & 410,
  19. Cederblad 214,
  20. From CTB1 to Cave,
  21. IC 1805,
  22. IC 1396,
  23. Cassiopeia to Cepheus,
  24. Bubble to cave,
  25. Sh2-205 & LBN 696,