Sadr Region

•July 7, 2021 • Comments Off on Sadr Region

High above the northern summer sky is the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. Also known as the Northern Cross, the bright star at the center is Sadr (Gamma Cygnii). Sadr is approximately 1,800 light years away from the Milky Way and far behind it, at about 4,900 light years is an emission nebula that is ionized by the radiation of nearby stars. The visible part of the nebula is an HII region that is more than 100 light years across. While the nebula is referred to the Sadr Nebula, they are far apart and not related in any way other than being in the same line of site.

Sadr is a large bright star of magnitude 2.23 with 12 solar masses and 150 times the Sun’s radius. Sadr is about 33,000 times more luminous than the Sun.

The data for this image was captured with the Takahashi 10cm f/3.6 telescope at the IC Astronomy Observatory with Hydrogen Alpha, S2, and Oxygen3 filtration. The image was processed with Pixinsight and Photoshop.


Antennae Galaxies

•July 4, 2021 • Comments Off on Antennae Galaxies

Designated NGC4038/NGC4039, this object is what happens when two galaxies come within contact range of each other. The name is due to the two long tails of stars and dust, which has been ejected as a result of the collision. The name refers to the resmblance of two insect antennae. The galaxies are about 45 million light-years from the Milky Way.

According to the article on the Wikipedia, “Within 400 million years, the Antennae’s nuclei will collide and become a single core with stars, gas, and dust around it. Observations land simulations of colliding galaxies suggest that the Antennae Galaxies will eventually form and elliptical galaxy.”

The image data was captured with the Planewave CDK24 telescope at the El Sauce Observatory in Chili through the website Data was captured with luminance, red, green, and blue filters. The image was processed using Pixinsight, Photoshop, Luminar, and Topaz Denoise AI.

Rim Nebula

•July 1, 2021 • 1 Comment

The Rim Nebula, catelogued as NGC 6188 in the constellation Ara, is illuminated by the open star cluster NGC 6193. This is a star-forming region and the complex texture of the gas and dust clouds are sculpted by massive, young stars that have “recently” formed within the last few million years. The data was captured with the Planewave CDK24 telescope in the El Sauce Observatory in Chile and downloaded from the website

The image was processed in my studio using Pixinsight and Photoshop with noise reduction from Topaz and color enhancement from Luminar AI.

Gabriela Mistral Nebula

•June 9, 2021 • Comments Off on Gabriela Mistral Nebula

Known as the “Gabriela Mistral Nebula”, it is a combination of the open cluster NGC 3324 and the emission nebula IC 2599, located in the Carina constellation. The object is northwest from the Carina Nebula shown in a previous post and is associated with the Carina Nebula. The name refers to Gabriela Mistral, the Chilean Nobel Prize winner for literature.

It is described as a “cosmic cloud” sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from the hot young stars in the NGC 3324 cluster. It is located about 7,500 light-years from Earth and is about 35 light-years across.

The image above  was processed from a data set captured by Nik Szymanek using the Planewave CDK24 telescope operated by the web site in the El Sauce Observatory in Chile. The images were filtered for hydrogen alpha, sulphur 3, and oxygen 2 emissions and processed using Pixinsight and Photoshop.

As a contrast, the image below was processed from a data set captured through with the Plane Wave CDK 17 Dall-Kirkham telescope operated by It is located at the observatory of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile in Lad Dehesa, Chile.

This image was captured using luminance, red, green, and blue filters and processed with Pixinsight and Photoshop. This filtration usually results in more realistic colors. For example, the hydrogen gas around this object is rendered red, which is the color we would see if we viewed the object directly in a large telescope that gathered enough light for our eyes to respond.

Astrophoto Juried into Photo21

•June 7, 2021 • 2 Comments

I am excited to have my image of the “Statue of Liberty” nebula accepted into the Photo21 juried photography exhibit sponsored by the Berkeley Arts Council. The exhibit will be on display June 3 – July3, 2021, at the Berkeley Art Works in Martinsburg.

Star Nursery

•June 6, 2021 • 2 Comments

At a distance of about 460 light-years, the cloud of gas and dust around the star Rho Ophiuchi is one of the closest star-forming regions to our Solar System. The cloud fills an area of sky 4.5×6.5 degrees.

The data was captured with three different observations using the Takahashi FSQ-106ED 10-cm telescope at Heaven’s Mirror Observatory in Australia over the website.

The images were captured through red, green, and blue filters plus a clear “luminance” filter. After downloading he raw data, I combined the images using Pixinsight, Photoshop, and Luminar 4 to produce the color image.

The Triffid and Lagoon Nebulas

•June 6, 2021 • Comments Off on The Triffid and Lagoon Nebulas

This wide field image of two of the famous Messier objects was captured with the Takahashi FSQ-106ED Telescope in the Heaven’s Mirror Observatory in Yass, New South Wales, in Australia.

These nebulosities float in a vast sea of stars in the Sagittarius region of the Milky Way.

The image was processed using Pixinsight and Photoshop from data from three separate observations with the 10 centimeter telescope. The final image was cropped to bring the objects a bit closer and balance the composition.

One of the interesting parts of the process was to remove the stars from the image so that the background nebulosity of dust and gas can be edited and refined without changing the pinpoint rendering of the stars.

These are two objects in the Messier Catalog.The Triffid Nebula above left is catalogued as Messier 20 and the larger Lagoon nebula is catalogued as Messier 8. In the nineteenth century, Charles Messier catalogued over 100 objects that he found while he was hunting for comets. He catalogued these objects as objects that were not comets.

What’s left when a star explodes

•May 1, 2021 • Comments Off on What’s left when a star explodes

The Vela supernova remnant is what was left over when a star exploded some 11,000 – 12,300 years ago in the constellation Vela in the southern sky. This supernova remnant is one of the closest known to us. In 1968, astronomers at the University of Sydney determined that the Vela pulsar was identified as associated with the remnant and thus was direct observational evidence that supernovae form neutron stars.

My take on the Vela SNR was to take advantage of the combined excellent datasets by Ian Horarth in both RGB (Red-Green-Blue) and HOO (Hydrogen Alpha-Oxygen 3 narrowband filters). The two datasets were downloaded from from their “Pro Dataset” library.

After combining the data and star aligning all of the images and building the integrated the sub-master images, I started by combining an LRGB combination, in this case the Alpha sub-master serving as the luminance component. Then, using the NBRGB (Narrow-Band, Red, Green Blue) Combination script I built the HRGB+H+O+O image.

The end result is the result of a variety of tweaks in Photoshop, including the new raw enhance feature that essential quadruples the resolution of an image. Although the effect is not as dramatic as you might expect, I think it is a useful process.

Astrophotography Presentation for Jefferson County Photo Club via Zoom

•April 8, 2021 • 1 Comment
NGC 5128, also designated Centaurus A.

I will be giving a presentation via Zoom for the Jefferson County Photography Club on Tuesday, April 13 at 7:00pm. See below for the link to join the meeting. It’s a free event sponsored by JCPC. You do not have to be a JCPC member.

I will discuss Astrophotography using remotely controlled telescopes. I will talk about Data acquisition, file formats, and the general workflow for combining filtered greyscale images to color. I will demonstrate the basic workflow on images and provide information about the different websites where remote telescope imaging is available.

The Eagle Nebula, including the “Pillars of Creation”

I will be demonstrating Pixinsight, a specialized software for processing scientific images, primarily, but not exclusively, astrophotos.

Here is the Zoom link for those who wish to join the meeting:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 927 688 5983

Passcode: 3NSVzX

Trifid Nebula

•February 14, 2021 • Comments Off on Trifid Nebula

The Trifid Nebula is an HII region in a star-forming region in Sagittarius. Designated M20 after discovery by Charles Messier on June 5, 1764. Messier identified over 100 objects that he classified as “not” comets. An avid comet hunter, he wanted to identify and catalog objects that resembled comets but were not, in fact comets but were distractions from comet hunting.

The original data for this image was captured by astrophotographer Peter Jenkins and was offered by the website as a “pro data set” for processing.

The data consists of 6×180 second exposures each using luminance, red, green, and blue from the Planewave CDK24 telescope at the El Sauce Observatory in Chile.  I processed the raw images in my studio using Pixinsight and Photoshop.

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