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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Supernova Remnant Simeis 147, new data added

 I have made a new version of my NASA APOD and National Geographic Image of the Week photo. Simeis 147 is a large and very dim supernova remnant in constellation Taurus.

I combined an old data with a new data, with different optics and camera, together.
As a result I have more details, vivid colors and better overall signal in the new photo. An
older photo is from 2011 and the new photo from 2020. Total exposure time in this new composition is over 45 hours.

Simeis 147 SNR
Click for a large image, 1700 x 1200 pixels

Image is in mapped colors, from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulphur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen

An Experimental Starless Version

Actual filaments of the supernova remnant can be seen better in this starless version.

A Closeup

Photo in Visual palette


Simeis 147 (sharpless 240), is a very faint and large supernova remnant in constellation Taurus at distance of ~3000 light years. It's constantly expanding at speed of 1000 km/second but due the size of it, we can't see any movement in it. This SN spans over 160 light years and the apparent scale in the sky is about three degrees (Moon has an apparent size of 30" = 0,5 degrees).  Explosion took place approximately 30.000 years ago  and left behind a  pulsar (Neutron star). The pulsar has recently identified.

How long it'll takes to this supernova remnant to expand 1% large when the diameter is 160 light years and it expands at speed of 1000 km/second.
Answer is ~480 years.
 (1% of diameter 160/100= 16, as kilometers ~151.372.800.000.00, = Y, km,
1000 km/second is ~315.360.000.00, = Z, kilometers/year.
So, X x Z = Y and  X=Z/Y,    X = 480 years with given values)


This artwork belongs to my VISION Series, the image is made out of my original photo of starless Simeis 147 supernova remnant.

Every single element in Vision series photos are from my original astronomical photos. I have been using the Overlapping Lightning Method (Multi Exposure Method) to create my Vision series photographs. By this method the forms and structures in astronomical object get multiplied, they are now forming a new visual dimension beyond our physical universe.

Technical Details

Photo from 2020

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

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, 15 x 1200 s, binned 1x1 = 5 h
O-III, 24x 600 s, binned 2x2 = 4 h
S-II, 1 x 12 x 600 s. binned 2x2 = 2 h

Photo from 2011

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
Levels, curves and color combine in PS CS3.

Optics, Canon EF 200mm camera lens at f1.8
Camera, QHY9
Guiding, Meade LX200 GPS 12" and a Lodestar guider
Image Scale, ~5 arcseconds/pixel

H-alpha 34x900s, Binned 1x1
H-alpha 14x1800s, Binned 1x1
H-alpha  42x1200s, binned 1x1
Total exposure time for Hydrogen alpha is 26h

O-III & S-II channels are from an older image,  exposure time 8h

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Viral Nebula Rocks

IC1396 converted to 3D animation, very first of its kind
NOW on SuperRare

I turned my photo of IC1396 to a 3d-model at 2012 to show that it’s actually a three-dimensional volume floating in three-dimensional space. This artwork is not just a guess work, it’s based on scientific data about the structure of emission nebulae and real distance information. 

This animation went viral and it was published by several news media and major websites globally at 2012, links after the photos

Location, Constellation Cepheus at distance of about 3000 light years
IC 1396 spans about three degrees of sky (Full Moon has diameter of 0,5 degrees)
I took the photo and made the model at 2012, exposure time 15 hours. 
Time used for the collecting scientific data, 3D-model and animation way too much.

Original photo used for the animation
My original photo of emission nebula IC1396

Rotating Nebula in media

SLATE by Phill Plait 
Best Astronomy Images of 2012: 

Jaw-dropping rotating 3D nebula

Amazing Astrophotography Lets You See Nebulae in 3D

WIRED by Nadia Drake,
New Dimension: Nebulas Are Even More Amazing in 3-D

HUFFINGTON POST by Ryan Grenoble,
Nebula IC 1396, Animated In 3D By Finnish Astrophotographer J-P Metsavainio, Is Astounding

PETAPIXEL, Michael Zhang 
Amazing Animated GIFs Capture Nebulae in 3D Using Artificial Parallax

This animation was selected to a Moving the Still exhibition in Miami Art Week 2012

How the 3D-model is made

My Moleskine notebook pages from 2008, I planned how to convert nebulae to 3D

For as long as I have captured images of celestial objects, I have always seen hem three-dimensionally in my head. The scientific information makes my inner visions much more accurate, and the 3-D technique I have developed enables me to share those beautiful visions with others.

How accurate my 3-D-visions are depending on how much information I have and how well I implement it.

The final 3-D-image is always an appraised simulation of reality based on known scientific facts, deduction, and some artistic creativity.

After I have collected all the necessary scientific information about my target, I start my 3-D conversion from stars. Usually there is a recognizable star cluster which is responsible for ionizing the nebula. We don’t need to know its absolute location since we know its relative location. Stars ionizing the nebula have to be very close to the nebula structure itself. I usually divide up the rest of the stars by their apparent brightness, which can then be used as an indicator of their distances, brighter being closer. If true star distances are available, I use them, but most of the time my rule of thumb is sufficient. By using a scientific estimate of the distance of the Milky Way object, I can locate the correct number of stars in front of it and behind it.

Emission nebulae are not lit up directly by starlight; they are usually way too large for that. Rather, stellar radiation ionizes elements within the gas cloud and the nebula itself is glowing light, the principle is very much the same as in fluorescent tubes. The thickness of the nebula can be estimated from its brightness, since the whole volume of gas is glowing, brighter means thicker.

By this means, forms of the nebula can be turned to a real 3-D shape. Nebulae are also more or less transparent, so we can see both sides of it at the same time, and this makes model-making a little easier since not much is hidden.

The local stellar wind, from the star cluster inside the nebula, shapes the nebula by blowing away the gas around the star cluster. The stellar wind usually forms a kind of cavity in the nebulosity. The same stellar wind also initiates the further collapse of the gas cloud and the birth of the second generation of stars in the nebula. The collapsing gas can resist the stellar wind and produces pillar like formations which must point to a cluster.

Ionized oxygen (O-III) glows with a bluish light, and since oxygen needs a lot of energy to ionize it, this can only be achieved relatively close to the star cluster in the nebula. I use this information to position the O-III area (the bluish glow) at the correct distance relative to the heart of the nebula.

Many other small indicators can be found by carefully studying the image itself. For example, if there is a dark nebula in the image, it must be located in front of the emission one, otherwise we couldn’t see it at all.

Using the known data in this way I build a kind of skeleton model of the nebula. Then the artistic part is mixed with the scientific and logical elements, and after that the rest is very much like creating a sculpture on a cosmic scale

3D-model without textures

Monday, September 13, 2021

Beyond the astronomical photography

NOTE. Vision series artworks are soon to be sold as NFT  @SuperRare

 I’m an astrophotographer but first of all I’m a visual artist, as an artist, I’m dazzled by all the forms I’m able to capture in my photos of cosmic objects, nebulae, supernova remnants, galaxies, etc. Colors from ionized elements are connected to the shapes and textures, they form a physical reality around us.

I’m telling a story with my photos, and many times my artworks are also personal notes. The Vision series of photos are forming visual notes about shapes, structures, textures, and colors I have seen and captured during my couple of decades-long journey as an astronomical nature photographer.

Every single element in Vision series photos are from my original astronomical photos. I have been using the Overlapping Lightning Method (Multi Exposure Method) to create my Vision series photographs. By this method the forms and structures in astronomical object get multiplied, they are now forming a new visual dimension beyond our physical universe.

The photographic method I'm using was fashionable back in the 1920s among avant-gardists and surrealistic photographers.  At the time the work was done in a darkroom, I’m using about the same technique but instead of a darkroom, I’m using digital image processing.

The original photo is rotated, moved, and/or mirrored as I like, and then multiple layers stacked back together so that the original brightness is maintained. For this task, I use Photoshop and various astronomical stacking methods and applications.

Few samples of my Vision Series, the original astronomical photo I used to create them at end of the page.

Visions of Veil
Please, click for a large image 

Visions  of Veil series is based on my original photo

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Milky Way, 12 years, 1250 hours of exposures and 125 x 22 degrees of sky THIS IS A PERMANENT POST, NEW POSTS ARE AFTER THIS POST

You can buy prints by using the contact form at right

It took nearly twelve years to collect enough data for this high resolution gigapixel class mosaic image of the Milky Way.  Total exposure time used is around 1250 hours between 2009 and 2021.

" I can hear music in this composition, from the high sounds of sparcs and bubbles at left  all the way to a deep and massive sounds at right."

The final photo is about 100 000 pixels wide, it has 234 individual mosaic panels stitched together and 1,7 gigapixels. (Click for a large image) All the frames used are marked in this image. Since many of sub-images and mosaics are independent artworks it leads to a very complex mosaic structure. 

From Taurus to Cygnus
Click for a large image, it's really worth it! (7000 x 1300 pixels)

Image in mapped colors from the light emitted by an ionized elements, hydrogen = green, sulfur = red and oxygen = blue. NOTE, the apparent size of the Moon in a lower left corner. NOTE 2, there are two 1:1 scale enlargements from the full size original at both ends of the image

NEW, A HD-video from Germany shows my photo in full glory
(Video in Germany but images are the international language)

Close ups form the parts of the Grande Mosaic
Taurus side of the mosaic,

A closeup from large panorama to show the overall resolution
Click for a large image

The California Nebula, NGC 1499, can be seen at bottom left of the large mosaic image.
There are about 20 million individual stars visible in the whole mosaic image.

Orientation and details
Click for a large image

Imaging info

Image spans 125 x 22 degrees of  the Milky About 20 million individual stars are visible in my photo!

It took almost twelve years to finalize this mosaic image. The reason for a long time period is naturally the size of the mosaic and the fact, that image is very deep. Another reason is that I have soht most of the mosaic frames as an individual compositions and publish them as independent artworks. That leads to a kind of complex image set witch is partly overlapping with a lots of unimaged areas between and around frames. I have shot the missing data now and then during the years and last year I was able to publish many sub mosaic images as I got them ready first.

My processing workflow is very constant so very little tweaking was needed between the mosaic frames. Total exposure time is over 1250 hours. Some of the frames has more exposure time, than others. There are some extremely dim objects clearly visible in this composition, like a extremely dim supernova remnant W63, the Cygnus Shell. It lays about six degrees up from North America nebula and it can be seen as a pale blue ring. I spent about 100 hours for this SNR alone. An other large and faint supernova remnant in Cygnus can be seen at near right edge of the image. G65.5+5.7 is as large as more famous Veil nebula. There are over 60 exposure hours for this SNR alone.  (Veil SNR is just outside of the mosaic area for compositional reasons but can be seen in "Detail" image above.) 

The Mosaic Work, technical info

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.

I took my current toolset as a base tool since it has a relatively high resolution combined to a very large field of view. Also it collects photons very quickly since it's undersampled and I can have very dim background nebulosity visible in very short time (many times 30 min frame is enough)

I do all my mosaic work under the PhotoShop, Matching the separate panels by using stars as an indicator is kind of straight forward work. My processing has become so constant, that very little tweaking is needed between separate frames, just some minor levels, curves and color balance. 

I have used lots of longer focal length sub-frames in my mosaic to boost details. (See the mosaic map at top of the page) To match them with shorter focal length shots I developed a new method.

Firstly I upscale the short focal length frames about 25% to have more room for high resolution images.Then I match the high res photo to a mosaic by using the stars as an indicator. After that I remove all the tiny stars from the high res image. Next I separate stars from low res photo and merge the starless high res data to a starless low res frame. And finally I place the removed low res stars back at top of everything with zero data lost. Usually there are some optical distortions and it's seen especially in a star field. Now all my stars are coming from a same optical setup and I don't have any problems with distortions. (I'm using the same star removal technique as in my Tone Mapping Workflow)

Closeups from large panorama to show the overall resolution
Click for a large image

Image in mapped colors from the light emitted by an ionized elements, hydrogen = green, sulfur = red and oxygen = blue. 

A 1:3 resolution close up from the photo above
Click for a large image,

A closeup from the main image shows the Sharpless 124 at up and the Cocoon nebula with a dark gas stream at bottom.

From Bubble to Cave Nebula
Image info,

The tulip nebula area
The Tulip Nebula, Sh2-101, can be seen at center right, there is also a black hole Cygnus X-1
The blog post with technical details can be seen here,

The supernova remnant G65.3+5.7

My Observatory,

Not an igloo, this is reality of astro photographing in Finland