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IC 1805 - Heart Nebula

IC1805 – The Heart Nebula

Photographed on: September 23, 2015

Telescope: Explore Scientific ED80 with WO Flat III 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Sky-watcher HEQ-5 Pro
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro II and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: Orion Mini 50mm
Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Modified)
ISO: 800
Total Exposure: 2 Hours, 15 Minutes (27 x 300 seconds)
Processing Software: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop CC
Support Files: 15 dark frames

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


Photographing this nebula from the backyard

This deep-sky object is a popular target for backyard astrophotographers.  There are countless amazing images online, many are wide-field shots including the nearby Soul Nebula.  However, similar to emission nebulae like the California nebula, this target is extremely faint, and needs a lot of exposure time to really do it justice.  Imaging the Heart nebula from a light polluted backyard in the city will necessitate even more quality exposure time to stretch the details of the nebula from the heavy gradients and noise that us backyard astronomers are familiar with.

At just over 2 hours, you can begin to see some of the intensely beautiful red colors of this emission nebula. This can be a difficult object to frame properly because it is almost completely invisible until you bring the photo into Photoshop for a curves adjustment.  The use of reference images and framing of stars is helpful.  I should also mention that this object is very large, almost the width of 5 full-moons!  If your telescope has a long focal length, you may need to build your photo as a mosaic, or use a camera lens to capture the entire nebula.  My recently ordered Hydrogen-alpha (Ha) filter from Astronomik should really come in handy when I am ready to dedicate some more time to this romantic deep-sky object!