Emission and Reflection Nebulae

Had a bit of an experimental evening last night. With the Full Moon blazing there was not much chance of any quality astrophotography but the sky was clear and you have to do what you have to do when the sky is clear! I came across the Sailboat Cluster whilst playing in Stellarium. I'm familiar with the Open Cluster and they're ok during a Full Moon but I didn't know about the Reflection Nebula and the Dark Nebula.

I have a NINA Sequence that has evolved into a useful tool but I usually carry out the unpark, auto focus, plate solve and slew to target manually before starting up the sequence. My new sequence now includes all these instructions too. Additionally, I added a trigger that is in the PHD2 Tools plugin that interrupts an exposure if the guiding is sub par. It doesn't improve the guiding but it does abort the lost guide star dodgy subs so it saves time and disc space.

In the end I got six hours of action from 18:30 01:30 and the new improved NINA sequence performed well. The cluster looks good but the image is a bit washed out by the Lunar light pollution and there's a visible grey nebula where the blue reflection nebula should be but the dark nebula is evident. There's a wicked gradient and I'm not sure if the corner problems are lack of calibration of lack of sky darkness!

The final stack is 37L, 19R, 15G, 18B all at 3 minutes. 4 hours 27 minutes. Processed in Pixinsight. I might have another go using only the first couple of hours of data while the Moon altitude was still low. 

Monkey Head Nebula

The Monkey Head Nebula 19/01/24




The Monkey Head Nebula is an H II Emission Nebula located in the constellation Orion surrounding the open star cluster Collinder 84. North is down.

My first LRGB image of 2024. Captured over 4 nights, the first 3 sessions ended prematurely due to -3°C temperatures causing equipment disconnections. After blinking out the guiding lost star dodgy frames I stacked 30 X L, 24 x R, 6 x G, 8 x B all at 3 minutes exposure. 3 hours 24 minutes integration.

NGC2175 is one of the January targets in TheSkySearchers.com Monthly Challenge.

The Fish Head Nebula

The Fish Head Nebula



The Fish Head is an Emission Nebula forming part of the larger Heart Nebula in Cassiopeia. 

Captured in LRGB from 22:00 till my guiding packed up! The light wind had become a bit too gusty. 13 luminance frames, 6 red frames, 6 green frames and 5 blue frames all at 300 seconds. 2.5 hours total integration. Darks, Flats and Dark Flats.

Pickering's Triangle

Supernova Remanent



This is Pickering's Triangle, a cloud of heated and ionized gas and dust, part of the Veil Supernova remanent in Cygnus. I've named the files NGC6979, this is close by but is incorrect! This part of the remanent never made it into any of the main catalogues. Captured over three nights 09, 11 and 13 September, each night from astronomical dusk until the humidity topped 95%. L x 29, R x 12, G x 13, B x 13 at 5 minutes each. 5.5 hours integration, my longest ever! Captured with NINA/PHD2. Processed in Pixinsight.

The image won the TSS APOD award for 17/09/23

Soul Nebula


25 x 360 seconds


Emission Nebula



Had to crop out the shadow of the OAG. And missed the target! IC1871 is at the bottom of the image.

Crescent Nebula

NGC 6888

Caldwell 27

Supervova Remnant



132 x 60 seconds

First session using the new ZWO OAG.

Crescent Nebula

NGC 6888

Caldwell 27

Supervova Remnant



18 x 240 seconds

Last time out using the 80mm guide scope.

Bubble Nebula

NGC 7635

Caldwell 11

H II Region Emission Nebula



45 x 300 seconds

Stopped when the neighbour's pear tree got in the way!

Fossil Footprint Nebula

NGC 1491

LBN 704

Bright Nebula



40 x 240 seconds

A Stellerium find.

Flame Nebula

NGC 2024


Emission Nebula



20 x 420 seconds

Full Moon bleaching the detail out of the image.

Bubble Nebula

NGC 7635

Caldwell 11

Planetary Nebula



This one was my favourite image for a while.

Iris Nebula

NGC 7023

Caldwell 4

Reflection Nebula



25 x 360 seconds

Best image to date! 3 hour imaging session. Good guiding at 0.58.

Cocoon Nebula

NGC 6960

Caldwell 19

Reflection/Emission Nebula



32 x 240 seconds

Very high humidity. Lots of hairdrier action.