Crescent Nebula in Hydrogen Alpha – 23/09/2018

NGC6888 – The Crescent Nebula in Cygnus

This image was a nice side effect of an evening put aside to get plate solving working. Turns out that (for once), getting the plate solving sorted was so quick and easy that I decided to go for a target afterwards.  This is the result.  Due to the presence of a fairly bright moon, I went for the NGC6888 – the Crescent Nebula, in Hydrogen Alpha.  Imaging in Ha means that you can still carry on capturing the photos, even in the otherwise challenging conditions of the fuller phases of the moon. Trying to image in LRGB or even OIII in those cases just results in a washed out, low contrast image that is usually more or less unusable.  Ha, however, can be used to image, even during a full moon.  There’s still an impact on the image, but as long as you stay as far away from the moon as possible (60 degrees I believe is the point where it begins to interfere a bit), then it means that those wonderful clear moon lit nights we seem to get a lot are not wasted where imaging is concerned.

This is one object that, despite it being a popular target, I’ve never properly captured before.  Very happy to have got a lot of nice fine detail in this supernova remnant.

Capture and Processing Information

  • Camera – Atik 314L Mono
  • Exposure – Ha – 3hr 10mins of 5-min subs
  • Filters – Astronomik 12nm Ha Filter
  • Telescope – Altair Starwave 102ED f/7
  • Mount  – Skywatcher HEQ5 with Rowan Belt Mod
  • Guidescope – Off-axis
  • Guidecam – SX Lodestar
  • Guide Software – PHD2
  • Capture Software – APT
  • Stacking and Initial Processing – MaximDL
  • Post-Processing – Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC.

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