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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Cygnus project, ten years and 500 hours, the grande finale!

Total exposure time is way over 600 hours shot between 2010 and 2020. Some areas of this mosaic panorama required more exposure time than others. There are two large supernova remnants in this mosaic. both are large, diffused and very dim. I have used about 150 hours of exposures for them alone! There are hardly any deep and large enough photos around showing them well. 

I have started this imaging project back at 2010. My aim was make a highish resolution mosaic covering the constellation Cygnus. Work like that takes time and patience, especially since I have worked so, that many of the individual sub mosaics or frames can be published as an individual artworks. Here is a poster format presentation about all of longer focal length images used for this mosaic beside actual panels,

As a result I have now a huge 37 panel (And 58 long focal length sub-panel) mosaic panorama covering 28 x 18 degrees of sky.  I have collected photons way over 500 hours during past ten years for this photo. The full size mosaic image has a size of about 25.000 x 15.000 pixels.

A photo of five million stars*

Great Mosaic of Cygnus (2010-2020)
28x18 degrees, 37 + 58 panels and over 600 hours of exposure time

The full size photo is worth to see!  (2700 x 1700 pixels)

An apparent size of the Moon is marked as a scale at bottom left on the picture frame. 
This is a large area of sky! (28 x 18 degrees) Image is in mapped colours, from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulphur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.  NOTE, the horizontal version at end of the page!
* I actually counted the stars and in this field of view there are little over five million individual stars

Three supernova remnants, two Wolf Rayet stars and a black hole
Please, click the image for full resolution

Some closeups from the large mosaic image to show the resolution
You should click the images to see them in full glory, it's worth the effort!

North America and the Pelican Nebula

NOTE, image is reduced to 2000 x 1300 pixels from 6000 x 4000 pixels.

The Central Cygnus

Original size in mosaic image is 5000 x 2500 pixels

The supernova remnant G65.3+5.7 at top of the mosaic image

More info about this image here,

A closeup from the supernova remnant G65.3+5.7
The noise is not a noise, just a massive amount of stars

The starfield in this part of Milky Way is extremely dense, blog post about this SNR can be seen here,

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,

Cirrus of Cygnus

Blog post about this photo


Evolution of the mosaic between 2010 and 2020
Click for a large image

Mosaic panels in chronological order

Here is an updated image about individual panels shot for this large mosaic image.
There are 37 base panels with shorter focal length tools (200mm f2.8 Tokina and 200mm f1.8 Canon) There is also 59 sub-panels used, they are shot with my old 12" Meade and 11" Celestron Edge scopes.
NOTE I recalculated the total exposure time and it's actually way over 600 hours.
Here is a poster format presentation and a list all of longer focal length images used for this mosaic beside the actual panels,


Three supernova remnants, two Wolf Rayet stars and a black hole

In the orientation image above, there are three large supernova remnants visible, first the Cygnus Shell W63 , bluish ring at upper left quarter, secondly the large SNR G65.3+5.7 at utmost right and finally the third is a brighter SNR, the Veil nebula just outside of field of view at bottom center. (Image is partly overlapping with large mosaic  but I didn't want to include it yet due to artistic composition.)

Beside three supernova remnants there are two Wolf Rayet stars with outer shell formations. NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula at center of the image and the WR 134, it can be seen as a blue arch just right from the Crescent Nebula, near the Tulip nebula.

Next to the Tulip Nebula lays a Black hole Cygnus X-1, it's marked in small closeup image of the Tulip Neula at center right in orientation image above. 

Constellation Cygnus is an endless source of celestial wonders, both scientifically and aesthetically. For me, as an visual artist, this are of night sky is very inspiring There are endless amount of  amazing shapes and structures, I can spend rest of my life just shooting images from this treasury.

The smaller 18 panel version of this mosaic from a year 2013

My beautiful wife Anna as a scale at front of the framed copy of the Cygnus mosaic version from 2013.

A funny anecdote 

About a week ago I showed this new mosaic image to my wife Anna. She is an art teacher and I value her opinions very highly. We talked about the composition of the new photo and I asked if she knows where the black hole (Cygnus X-1) locates isn constellation Swan. She doesn't even blink when she pointed her finger on the exactly right spot in the large mosaic! Even though she is interested about astronomy, I was stunned. I asked how she know about the location of the black hole so well ?
The answer was;  "If you think about the swanI just pointed out the anatomically correct location"

The Black Hole of a Swan
Click for a large image (2700 x 1700 pixels)

The anatomically correct location of the Black Hole of the Swan

Equipments used

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.


Anonymous said...

simply OMG. amazing. reading your description, I feel the passion, the dedication, looking at your photos you made me excited, reading what you write, you made me excited for the second time. thanks for this.

Matteo M.

Ronny said...

Amazing, truly inspirational, and helpful in my next choice
I have been wanting a telescope for fifty years and have just started researching which to buy, a damn big job, being on a pension I have to make every penny count. So far my decision is to get a 12" dobsodian first and then save for a computerised mount, and from seeing your work I think I'm right. Anything smaller would bore me too soon, I say bore rather than leave me unfulfilled because I think no matter the size I would wish for something bigger.
Best wishes and happy Chinese new year (it's just two days ago).

Arjun Haarith said...

Omg, this is beyond words. Truly inspirational!!
Each of the images are so beautiful and intricate that I could sit hours together and admire at them.

The quality is top class!! Thanks for sharing 😊🙏

Neil Strong said...

Thank you. What you have done will inspire many city dwellers to look up to the night sky and admire the beauty of the universe. We use to keep our head down and eye focusing to a small plate of glass on a smart phone!

Unknown said...

U did an unbelievable job , i love these amazing pictures, thank you for sharing 🙌🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

edrovar said...

Verdaderamente fabuloso y una gran contribución para la ciencia......y para el arte. Agradecido

Anonymous said...

You certainly have a tremendous talent and lots of patience to have put all this together. Congratulations on a really great job!!!