Tuesday, August 03, 2010

M17 Swan Nebula - First Attempt





Oh wow! What are these little lights in the sky above us?????

The heavens have opened up! No clouds anywhere last night, and a very still, clear sky hung overhead. I packed the car with my astrophotography gear and headed out to a quiet little observing spot towards the east. I don't go there too often, but it's a lot darker than the place I usually go to where I meet other astrobuddies.

Anyway, I imaged two objects last night, and M17 was one of them. I have never imaged this before, and took the opportunity to do a test run of it. The image above is just five two-minute exposures at ISO800 through my 80mm ED. Not too bad. You can see the primary shape of the nebula and some detail within. I need to go for longer exposures to bring out more of the extensive nebulosity found within this object. Be sure to click on it for the full size image.

Image details:

* Imaging Scope: Astrotelescopes 80mm ED Refractor
* Imaging Camera: Nikon D40
* Guiding Scope: William Optics 66mm Petzval Refractor
* Guiding Camera: Meade DSI-C
* Exposures: 5 * 2 minute lights, 4 * 2 minute darks
* ISO 800
* Aligned and Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
* Post-Processing in GIMP (contrast, saturation and unsharp mask)
* Noise reduction in Neat Image

3 comments:

Polaris B said...

Nice, Phil. I'm inspired to go after this one myself. Way to take advantage of the break in the clouds!

Phil said...

Thanks, mate. I'm not really happy with it and I think it's because I shot at ISO800, which made for a very grainy image. I really need to shoot at ISO400 max with my camera. Oh well.

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