Backyard Astro – Eagle Nebula

After a couple of weeks of cloudy nights, finally a break and a chance to try more things I’ve been reading and learning about. My original plan was to shoot more of the Rim Nebula however by the time the clouds had gone, it was to high for my liking and would require a meridian flip (repositioning the telescope from one side of the mount to the other). I’m not quite there yet to do this, it is simple, until you want to reline up exactly on a target you were imaging and keep taking photos. Then it’s more complicated.

Anyway, I checked stellarium and noticed the Eagle Nebula was coming up in the east. Sweet! It’s very easy to see how this Nebula got it’s name and at the very heart of it are the Pillars of God, made famous by the Hubble Telescope. These fingers of dust reach out like a hand and even with my wide field of view I can make them out at full zoom, very cool.

Imaging for this Nebula was fairly straight forward but I decided to take longer than normal exposures. 40 x 210 second photos to capture the Nebula, stacked together along with the noise reduction images of 15 darks, 29 Flats, 29 Bias frames. I stacked these together using Deepskystacker, and then process the final image in Photoshop.

A new technique I used this time was to run an inital copy of the stack through a free program called Starnet++. This simply program does a very good job of removing all of the stars from the photograph. This then lets me post process just the Nebula, without affecting the stars which usually lose their colour and bloat during my normal processing. I then combine that with just the original stars for a wonderful result.

Anyway, hopefully more clear nights on the horizon and many more targets to play with. This has been added to my Astro Gallery so be sure to check out the other photos there as well. Here it is, my first photograph of the Eagle Nebula :

Technical Information : Modified Canon 1100d. Skywatcher Evostar 72ed Telescope. Skywatcher HEQ5 Mount. ZWO 120mm-s Guide Camera and ZWO Mini Guide Scope. Dew heater strap. Acquisition Software : PHD2 for guiding. APT (Astro photography tool) for Imaging. Sharpcap for Polar alignment using guidescope.

Until next time, clear skies 🙂


2 Responses

  1. Incredibly stunning moment captured right there… Thank you so much, I had no idea of this nebula… Teaching this ole woman something new.

    1. Thank you for the wonderful comment Fran. I’m still only very new to all of this myself and discovering all these new deep space objects is an amazing experience that I’m glad I get to share with you.

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