Category Archives: Deep-Sky Imaging

Kemble’s Cascade

Last night was a very rare night.  Clear, Moonless, and the Milky Way like I’ve never seen it before from the New Forest Observatory – magic 🙂

I used the 200mm Canon lens with the M26C OSC CCD on the mini-WASP array to capture Kemble’s Cascade.

31 subs at 5-minutes per sub with a 52mm IDAS filter on the front of the 72mm lens (so the diffraction spikes are artificial).

The whole of Delphinus

We’ve recently had  a few clear Moonless nights, rare events, great for imaging.

I piggy-backed a Canon 5D MkII DSLR and a Canon 200mm lens on the C11 and chose as my target the constellation Delphinus.  Reason – the imaging combo has a field of view of 10 x 7 degrees which will cover this small constellation.

29 sub exposures at 4-minutes per sub, ISO400 and f#4 were the parameters – below is the result 🙂

The Altair region in Aquila

I managed to get some imaging done a few nights ago.  Clear sky and no Moon 🙂  Used the south dome with the Canon 5D MkII and the Canon 200mm prime lens piggy-backed on the C11.  Captured the main stars of Aquila, Altair the bright one in the middle, Tarazed above it with the associated dark nebula Barnard’s “E”, and below Altair we have Alshain.  And all this with a stunning Milky Way background.

Amazing light panel for flats

A friend on one of the astronomy forums asked me if one of these would be any good for taking flats.

Any good??  They are utterly superb!!!!!!!!  AND they are CHEAP!!!!!!!!!  AND if you have a large aperture scope they are also available in A3 or A2 size as well (ALSO CHEAP!!!!!!!!!!!).

I don’t think these guys realise (yet) that there is a market out there for their product that almost certainly exceeds the market for light boxes for drawing 🙂 🙂

North America and Pelican nebulae

Using the Canon 200mm prime lens at f#4.5 and the M25C 6-Megapixel one shot colour CCD.  Only 6 x 15-minute subs for this one, clearly I need to get a LOT more data on this when it comes round again next year.  I have now moved the 200mm lens onto the top plate of the mini-WASP array and have fitted one of the 10-Megapixel M26C cameras to the back.  Just need to get the chip flattened to the lens and then I’ll be ready for the winter goodies – weather permitting.

A new era of deep-sky imaging at the New Forest Observatory

The Canon 200mm f#2.8 prime lens gives remarkable performance for astroimages across the whole diagonal of a full frame sensor.  I am using the lens with a Canon 5D MkII (unmodified) which means that I can capture star fields quite well, but not the faint red emission nebulosity – and I have a massive field of view of 10 x 6.8 degrees to play with (where the diameter of a full Moon is just half a degree).

I also have a huge portfolio of faint deep-sky objects captured using the Hyperstar III – so I am now in the happy position of being able to grab huge star fields in one go using the DSLR and then filling in any faint objects using Hyperstar III data – a process called compositing.

The image below is a 10 x 6.8 degree deep-sky image centred on the Cocoon nebula in Cygnus.  Towards upper right we have open cluster M39, towards lower left is open cluster NGC 7209, and towards upper right is a large open cluster NGC 7243.  Trailing behind the Cocoon nebula we have the highly impressive dark nebulosity Barnard 168, one of the most high-impact naked-eye nebulosities in the northern hemisphere.

The combination of the 200mm/Canon 5D MkII and Hyperstar III data is going to feature highly in forthcoming deep-sky images from the New Forest Observatory.