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NGC 7380 – Wizard Nebula

The Wizard Nebula is a collection of interstellar gas surrounding the open star cluster, NGC 7380.  While impossible to observe this deep sky object visually from my backyard, it is well within reach of my current astrophotography equipment.

This nebula is located in the constellation Cepheus, which makes it a great deep sky astrophotography target for late summer, and fall.  It is a rather faint nebula, meaning that short exposures will not show much if any details.

Canon Rebel Xsi/450D DSLR camera

The Canon EOS Rebel Xsi used for the photo below

The Wizard Nebula

IN the summer of 2014, I photographed this object using a Canon Rebel Xsi DSLR Camera (450D).  The camera was “astro-modified” by removing the stock IR cut filter. I used this video tutorial to modify the camera myself.

Here is my photo of the Wizard Nebula using a modified DSLR:

The Wizard Nebula with a modified DSLR

The Wizard Nebula using a modified DSLR Camera

The image has a wide field of view due to the focal length (480mm) of the refractor telescope used. I’ve even cropped the frame to about 50% for the view you see above.

This is not an easy nebula to photograph, as it took me a whopping 7 hours of total exposure time to bring out the details in this image.  The complete details of this image can be located further down this page.

I later re-visited the Wizard Nebula using a larger telescope, and more sensitive deep sky imaging camera.  If that wasn’t enough, additional narrowband data was added to further increase the details in this object.

Here is NGC 7380 using the Altair Hypercam 183C:

wizard nebula

The version above is my latest rendition of the Wizard Nebula in HaRGB.  By combining narrowband data (especially h-alpha) you can really boost the details of your deep sky images. The method used for creating the HaRGB composite can be found here: Combine Ha with RGB in Photoshop

The true color portion of the image was shot using a simple light pollution filter, the Explore Scientific 2″ UCH Filter.  While the H-Alpha details were acquired using an Astronomik 12nm Ha Filter threaded into my field flattener.

The Astrophotography Kit used for the image above:

Astrophotography Setup

The equipment seen here includes an autoguiding setup to allow for longer exposures.  The camera is controlled using a software called Astro Photography Tool.  This setup is what I normally use when photographing objects in space from my backyard.  Here is a look at a more portable deep sky astrophotography kit.


The Wizard Nebula – DSLR (2014)

Photographed over multiple nights: August 17, August 25

Total Exposure Time: 7 Hours, 15 Minutes (87 x 5 Minute Subs @ ISO 1600)
Mount: Skywatcher HEQ-5 Pro Synscan
Camera: Modified Canon Xsi
Telescope: Explore Scientific ED80 Triplet Apo

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

The Wizard Nebula – HaRGB (2017)

Total Exposure Time: 3 Hours, 41 Minutes
Mount: Skywatcher HEQ-5 Pro Synscan
Camera: Altair Hypercam 183C
Telescope: Explore Scientific ED102 CF

Guided with PHD2 Guiding
Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker
Processed in Adobe Photoshop CC

Located in Cepheus

I’ve also heard this nebula referred to as the Flying Horse nebula. Do you see it?

NGC 7380 Star Chart - Find the Wizard Nebula in Cepheus