Cave Nebula (Caldwell 9)

Buy a Print The Cave Nebula is 2400 light-years distant in the constellation Cepheus.  It combines emission, reflection, and dark nebulosity in one striking image.  I had tried several times before to capture this object, but it never seemed to work until this attempt in September of 2013 at Goldendale, Washington (RGB data) and Wa-chur-ed Observatory (H-alpha data).  It is quite dim and requires quite long exposures, even for the RGB portion.  H-alpha data was captured later and added to enhance details in the red.  There are some fascinating small details in the image that are not easily seen in […]

Heart Nebula (IC1805)

Buy a Print This is a re-processing of an image originally captured in September of 2012.  That version was combined with a second frame to form the image of the Heart Nebula in natural color (see Heart Nebula).  While the earlier version is close to natural color (pretty much all red), this one uses false color to bring out more detail, separating the H-alpha, O-3, and S-2 regions. The Heart is an emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia and about 7,500 light years from Earth. It does look like a heart, sort of. I suspect that the neighboring Soul Nebula […]

Swan (or Omega) Nebula (M17)

Buy a Print The Swan or Omega Nebula is another emission nebula in Sagittarius, but a bit higher (further north) than the Lagoon and near the Eagle Nebula.  Like the Lagoon, it is very popular with visual observers because of its bright nebulosity and interesting shape.  Through a telescope you typically see just the brightest part of this image and it does look a bit like a swan. Scope: AT111EDT at f/5.6 Mount: AP Mach1 Camera: QSI683 Exposure: LRGB, 2.5 hrs total

Trifid Nebula (M20)

Buy a Print Very near the Lagoon Nebula is the Trifid Nebula (Messier 20).  The name comes from the apparent division into three lobes.  The Trifid also contains all three types of nebulosity:  The red is an emission nebula (mostly hydrogen), the blue area is a reflection nebula (dust reflecting light from nearby stars), and the dark areas all around it are “dark nebula” – dust that blocks the light from objects behind it. Captured at Pine Mountain Observatory near Bend, Oregon in RGB.  This image was captured after completing some scientific imaging with students Katie, Jaclyn, and Samara, who […]

Lagoon Nebula (M8)

Buy a Print The Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8) in Sagittarius is a popular target for visual observers because it has both bright nebulosity and a nice star cluster.  Unfortunately, for most people in North America it never gets very high in the sky, so views are often compromised by haze and light pollution. This RGB image was captured at Pine Mountain Observatory near Bend, Oregon.  Scope: AP Starfire 142 at f/7.5 Mount: AP Mach1 Camera: QSI 583wsg at –15C Exposure: LRGB, 1 hr 5 mins total

Propeller Nebula

Buy a Print This is a case where the name of a nebula is pretty obvious.  The propeller is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus.  It is one of the more mysterious objects of this type.  In particular, we don’t have a clue how it became this shape! This is a narrowband image, captured at Wa-chur-ed Observatory in Hydrogen-alpha, Oxygen-III, and Sulfur-II.  Such images are generally somewhat “false” in color and this one has been tweaked in non-traditional ways to bring out as much detail as possible. Scope: AP Starfire 142 at f/7.5 Mount: AP Mach1 Camera: QSI 583wsg […]

Tulip Nebula

Buy a Print The Tulip is a bit lost in the surrounding cloud of (mostly) hydrogen and dust, but I think you can see where the name comes from.  This is a narrowband image consisting of Hydrogen-alpha, Oxygen III, and Sulfur II emission lines. The Tulip Nebula is in the constellation Cygnus and about 6,000 lightyears from Earth.  The image was captured in May of 2013 at Wa-chur-ed Observatory. Scope: AP Starfire 142 at f/7.5 Mount: AP Mach1 Camera: QSI 583wsg at –15C

Antares Region

Buy a Print Antares is the bright star in the upper left.  This gorgeous region is unusual for its variety and richness of color, which is primarily star light reflected off dust.  The dark areas to the right of center and the complex area below it are known as the “Rho Ophiuchi” region, that being the name of the star that illuminates it.  The globular cluster just below Antares is M4. This is an LRGB image captured with a 200mm (FL) camera lens, so it is quite a large area. Antares is part of the constellation Scorpius, although many other […]

Eagle Nebula (M16)

Buy a Print The Eagle Nebula is the home of one of the best known of all astro images, the “Pillars of Creation” from the Hubble Space Telescope. The HST image is at much higher magnification than this and uses a color palette that shows the structure more clearly (although it is not color accurate). But you can make out at least 2 of the pillars near the bright center. Located in the constellation Serpens, M16 is about 7,000 light years from Earth. The image was captured at ITS in September of 2012 using a hydrogen-alpha filter.  Scope: AT111EDT at […]

Dumbbell Nebula (M27)

Buy a Print This image from August of 2013 replaces one from 2 years ealier, adding an S-2 plane and more exposure time. Although it is fairly small, the Dumbbell is bright and easily seen through a small telescope. Located in the constellation Vulpecula, it is about 1,400 light years from Earth. If you look at just the blue-green portion of the image you might see why it is called the “dumbbell”. That is how it appears through a telescope. Human vision shifts in color response with the brightness. Specifically, in dark conditions our eyes are much more sensitive to […]