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North America Nebula

NGC 7000 – North America Nebula

Date Photographed: September 27, 2014

Total Exposure Time: 2 Hours, 45 Minutes (35 x 5 Minute Subs @ ISO 1600)
Mount: Skywatcher HEQ-5 Pro Synscan
Camera: Modified Canon Xsi (450D)
Telescope: Explore Scientific ED80 Triplet Apo

Guided with PHD Guiding
Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
Processed in Adobe Photoshop CC

Astrophotography Tutorial: How I Process My Astronomy Photos


The Dark Skies of Rock Point Provincial Park

I photographed this colorful nebula while camping at Rock Point Provincial Park in Southern Ontario. My fiance Ashley and I booked a last minute camping trip to enjoy the end of summer, and were rewarded for this decision with unseasonably warm weather for late September.  I made sure to reserve a campsite with a large window of sky, as most sites were surrounded by tall trees.  It was an exceptionally clear night, and I let my telescope and camera run while we sat by the fire. I chose to image NGC 7000 – The North America Nebula because it was almost directly overhead, free of any trees and atmospheric conditions.

Learning Astrophotography

This image did not happen overnight

I have imaged this nebula many times before, and my astrophotography skills improved each year.  The timeline below shows my progress on NGC 7000 over the years.

learning astrophotography

My astrophotography progression with the North America Nebula

Astronomy Camping under Dark Skies

Rock Point Provincial Park is located on the North shore of Lake Erie, which makes observations looking south quite remarkable. The lake provides miles of light-pollution free space to help you see more stars than you can count. If you are staying at the park for astronomy purposes, I would recommend getting a non-electrical site, at the edge of the park.  During the middle of summer, this park can get quite busy with people partying and lighting up the sky.

Astronomy Camping

Ashley and I sitting around the campfire at Rock Point Provincial Park


I have also stayed at Selkirk Provincial Park for some astronomy camping, and you can read my blog post about it. This is another great place in Ontario to set up your tent and enjoy the starry night sky with your family and friends.  It is also along the shore of Lake Erie, providing dark skies to the south with less light pollution than most areas of Southern Ontario.  For the photo below, Ashley climbed to the top of the on-site observation deck, and pointed her Canon 70D due-south for this breathtaking shot of the late summer Milky Way.


Milky Way astrophotography image by Ashley Northcotte