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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Sharpless 114, the Flying Dragon Nebula

 While shooting more frames for my great mosaic of Cygnus I shot a set of frames for the Sharpless 114 (Sh2-114) , the Flying Dragon Nebula. Part of the image was used for the mosaic but the dragon part was out of the field of view.
I decided to make an individual image out of it since it's not a very well known object and it's beautiful too. I have shot the Sh2-114 with a longer focal length instrumen back in 2015

The Flying Dragon
Click for a large image

Photo is in natural colors combined from narrowband channels. An ionized hydrogen, H-alpha, is emitting deep red light and it's dominating the color scheme.

A closeup
Click for a large image

Photo is in natural colors combined from narrowband channels. An ionized hydrogen, H-alpha, is emitting deep red light and it's dominating the color scheme.

An older long focal length version
Click for a large image

Photo is in natural colors combined from narrowband channels. An ionized hydrogen, H-alpha, is emitting deep red light and it's dominating the color scheme.


Sh2-114 is a complex and unusual HII emission nebula. Its complex, wispy structure is likely the result of winds from hot, massive stars interacting with the magnetic fields in the interstellar medium. But very little is known about it. (Source,

Click for a large image

Sharpless 114 can be seen at lower left corner, field of view is framed.

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

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

Exposure time

H-alpha, 15 x 1200 s, binned 1x1 = 5 h
O-III, 1x 1200 s, binned 2x2 = 20 min.
S-II, 1 x 1200 s. binned 2x2 = 20 min.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Cygnus project, ten years and 400 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 400 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.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Cirrus of Cygnus and the supernova remnant W63

 The dim are in the Western Cygnus is very much overlooked, the reason must be the there are so many brighter and well known astronomical objects just nearby.

Hydrogen filaments in the image are about thousand light years long, the blue ring in the image is a rarely seen dim and large supernova remnant, the ring structure is seen only in light of an ionized oxygen (O-III)

I haven't seen any photos focusing to this area beside my older shots of it. This new composition is reprocessed and more data is added, specially in O-III channel. This image is a part of new unpublished mosaic image, it'll cover the whole Cygnus complex. 

Image is shot with several instruments between 2010 and 2020, Original frames from 2010-2013 are shot with canon EF 200mm f1.8 camera lens and QHY9 astro camera with Baader narrowband filter set. Additional wilde filed frames are shot with Tokina AT-x 300mm f2.8 camera lens and Apogee Alta U16 astro camera and Astrodon narrowband filters. Many details in the image are sot with Celestron Edge 11" telescope and an old Meade LX 200 GPS 12". total exposure time is around 150 hours. I gave the name "Cirrus of Cygnus" since this gas formation remains me about Cirrus clouds.

Cirrus of Cygnus
You should click the image to see it in full resolution, it's worth it! (3000 x 1250 pixels)

A mapped color image from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen. Note, there is a size of the moon marked in lower left corner as a scale.

click the image to see it in full resolution

It does look like a Cirrus cloud

An older long focal length photo of the supernova remnant
G82.2+5.3 W63 the "Cygnus shell"

click the image to see it in full resolution

Image is in mapped colours, from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulphur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen. This mosaic image of twelve individual panels covers about four degrees of sky vertically.

More info about this photo here,

Friday, December 4, 2020

Cassiopeia mosaic gets larger, now up to Cepheus

 I started this imaging project at Spring season 2020m now I have shot more frames for this active region of the sky. At center of the photo lays the Bubble and cave nebula At lower left locates the Cederblad 214 and just few degrees to right from it lays the supernova remnant CTB1, it can be seen as a thin ring like formation. The Wizard nebula can be seen at upper right corner of the image. Note. there is a moon as a scale at a lower left corner of the image. This is a large area of space and I I have now join this mosaic image to a large one from 2012. I will continue this mosaic soon!

There is an interesting looking dim and large circular formation at center left, there is a bright star at almost center of it. Could this be an uncataloged supernova remnant?

Total exposure time is now around 150 hours, if older exposures are included. with my current wide field imaging system build around the Tokina AT-x 300 mm f2.8 camera optics.  Astro Don 50x50 mm square  narrowband filters, 5nm H-alpha, 3nm O-III and 3nm S-II. Camera is a massive Apogee Alta U16.

This mosaic has now twenty individual frame stitched seamlessly together, 

From cassiopeia to cepheus
Click for a much large image, it's worth it! (1400 x 2200 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.

Click for a much large image

Previous version of the mosaic
Click for a much large image

Start of this imaging project at this year
Click for a large image

Image info,