Horsehead Nebula (IC 434)

It is a now a good time to image and visually observe the Orion Nebula since it can now be found in the Eastern sky.  For those with binoculars, Orion is an easy target. The Horsehead Nebula is located just to the south of the star Alnitak, which is the star that is farthest east on Orion’s Belt. I have always been fascinated by this one, but alas it is rare to run into anyone who has actually visually observed this nebula through the eyepiece of an amateur scope. So far I have taken about 16 half hour exposures (8 hours)through 3nm H-Alpha and OIII filters made by Astrodon. The scope is an Astro-Physics 130mm refractor. The camera is a QSI 690wsg camera with an eight position filter wheel. The camera chip is cooled to -10 degrees Centigrade. The photo was processed with Maxim DL, Photoshop CS6, and Pixinsight.


NGC 896 – A nebula in the Constellation Cassiopeia


NGC 896 is the brightest part of the Heart Nebula and is about 7500 light years from earth. This is a narrowband image taken with the Astro-Physics 130mm Starfire telescope which is composed of 12 one hour exposures and 12 thirty minute exposures through a combination of H-Alpha, O3, and S2 Astrodon filters.


The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust located in the constellation Cepheus at a distance of 2400 light years. This is a two panel mosaic composed of five 60 minute exposures (5 hours) taken through the Astro-Physics 130mm f6.3 Starfire Refractor with a .75 focal reducer and an Astrodon 3nm H-Alpha filter.

IC 1396



It has been difficult to find enough imaging time between the rainy weather days to complete this project. Of course, you never are really finished since you can always add more images to the stack. This image was composed by stacking 15 thirty minute H-Alpha images, 4 sixty minute H-Alpha images, and 8 thirty minute Oxygen images and then massaging the data in Maxim DL, Pixinsight, and Photoshop. To be honest, I discarded as many images as I kept due to one thing or another. The total integration (imaging) time for the images that were used was 15.5 hours.


Happy Halloween! In this version of the Wizard Nebula I increased the sub-exposures from 15 minutes to 30 minutes which required guiding.  I then stacked 11 images.  This increased the resolution substantially.

The wizard nebula is a cloud of interstellar gas and dust that lies about 8000 light-years from us. In a telescope you would probably only see the cluster of stars and not the nebula itself since it is very faint.