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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

It's beautiful because it's true


My deepest motivation to keep doing this slow artform

Super Zoom to my photo, the Grand Mosaic of the Milky Way Revision 2

4K Super Zoom to my photo
Grand Mosaic of the Milky Way Revision 2

Super Zoom to the Milky Way, note, best to see in full screen

It took over 12 years to finalize this massive photo of Milky Way
Blog post with a zoomable image, please, have a look here:

  • Panorama spans 145 x 22 degrees of sky (Full Moon covers 0,5 degrees of sky)
  • Resolution 120.000 x 18.000 pixels
  • Photos has 2.2 gigapixels in it, the spatial resolution is equal to 8.8 gigapixel image from color camera since all the channels are in native resolution.
  • There are least nine confirmed supernova remnants in this panorama
  • About 25 million stars are visible in the photo
  • Distance to the nebulae in the image between 350 to 20.000 light years
  • Exposure time over 1500 hours between 2009 - 2021
  • 301 individual images are stitched together seamlessly 
  • It took about 12 years to finalize this photo
  • Narrowband image from light of ionized elements,    hydrogen = green, sulfur = red and oxygen = blue
  • Processing time for the whole panorama, way too large part of my life

Monday, February 14, 2022

Supernova remnant HB3 and the cosmic heart

 I have shot this target originally at January 14 2020 and it was the second light to my modified Tokina lens. Now I have reprocessed the data and I do like this result much better.

 new imaging system based on Tokina AT-x 300mm f2.8 camera lens.

The Heart Nebula, IC 1805
Please, click for a large image

Going very deep just in two hours! Image is in visual color palette from emission of an ionized hydrogen and oxygen. R=hydrogen, G=Oxygen and B=oxygen. I have made a starless version out of this image, it can be seen here,

IC 1805 in visual palette
Please, click for a large image

Supernova remnant

In this photo there is a large supernova remnant, marked as a white circle. I haven't seen any photos of it before. I must take more O-III exposures to see, if I'm able to pick up any signal from this supernova remnant. 

Radio image of the area shows mostly signal from OB6

SNR 132.7+1.3 at upper right. Source and more information,

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, 12 x 600 s, binned 1x1 = 2 h
O-III, 3x 600 s, binned 1x1 = 30 min..
S-II, 2x1200 s, binned 2x2 = 40 min.

INFO About undersampling etc

The CCD I'm using has kind of large pixels, 9 microns, so I'm undersampled, the image scale is almost 5 arc seconds / pixel. Undersampling is not a bad thing when my targets are large and dim nebula complexes. This system collects photons very fast!

I selected the Heart Nebula as a target since I have plenty of reference material for it. Another reason is interesting and rarely imaged area after the bright tip of the heart. There are some remnants of a supernova explosion. I was really thrilled, when I saw the final stack of 12 600s H-alpha light frames. (Equal to 2h of exposures) I never have seen so much background nebulae and details from this popular target.
Beside 2h of H-alpha (Light from an ionized hydrogen) I shot 30 min of O-IIII (Light from an ionized Oxygen) To be able to make an image in visual palette.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Cygnus Mosaic in Visual Colors

 Three Musketeers of Swan 

Deepest and most detailed image showing the whole constellation Cygnus ever taken

There are three large supernova remnants visible in this image. The Veil nebula is the most bright of them, other two are really dim and diffused. I spent about 200 exposure hours for those two alone to show them well. I call this trio to the Three musketeers. 

I like the new composition, it's very dynamic and shows the whole constellation Cygnus first time ever at this detail level and deepness. I haven't seen anything like this before. Image spans now 31 x 23 degrees of sky and has 118 individual frames in it. total exposure time is now around 700 hours and the resolution 20.000 x 25.500 pixels. Image it took over a decade to finalize this photo between 2010 and 2021.

The mapped color version  of this mosaic can be seen here,

Bang, Bang & Bang
Three large supernova remnants in the same field of view
Click for a large image

Image is in visual palette from emission of an ionized elements, hydrogen (H-alpha), sulfur (S-II) and oxygen (O-III). Red=Hydrogen + 33% sulfur, Green=oxygen and Blue=oxygen + 33% hydrogen to compensate otherwise missing H-beta emission.


Three Large Supernova Remnants
Click for a large image

Locations and names of the supernova remnants


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 middle left, secondly the large SNR G65.3+5.7 at upper right and the third is a brighter SNR, the Veil nebula at right edge of the image.

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

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.

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.