Entering the Fall Season of Astrophotography

milky way sky

To wrap up the late summer season, I photographed the North America Nebula in Cygnus using my Explore Scientific ED80 refractor telescope. The image includes nearly 3 hours of total exposure time using a stock DSLR camera (Canon EOS Rebel XSi).

The North America Nebula is a fantastic beginner astrophotography target because it is large, bright, and full of hydrogen gas. 

North American Nebula imaged from my backyard in Niagara with Canon DSLR
The North America Nebula in Cygnus

The image is a stack of 50 x 180-second frames. Dark frames were used for calibration (to remove hot pixels and reduce noise), and the final image was processed in Adobe Photoshop. The equatorial telescope mount used for this image was a Celestron CG-5, and I used a small autoguiding system to improve tracking performance. 

The following image was captured from a relatively dark sky site (Bortle 5), and the Milky Way core is visible. I would consider this to be a nightscape image, as it includes a simple foreground element along with a starry night sky. 

This is a combination of data (4 sub-exposures of 20-seconds each) from a  friend’s backyard in Jordan, Ontario. The skies were much darker in Jordan, as seen in the photo below:

The Milky Way clearly visable in the southwest
Milky Way from Jordan, Ontario

I also took a shot at imaging Messier 78 (One of my favorite reflection nebulas in the sky) over the past few weeks. This can be a difficult subject to photograph, as it requires a healthy amount of exposure time to do justice.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I framed it up in my telescope, because it is way off.  The final image is a crop of a much larger area of the night sky.

I won’t post the details of this one because I plan on just starting again from scratch. This will be my new project for November this year.

M78 – Reflection Nebula in Orion

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