Sadr Region in Cygnus
Backyard astrophotography notes…
I combined the data I captured last weekend with another 3 hours worth taken on Friday, August 21st from my backyard in St. Catharines. It was a refreshingly cool summer night, and the stars seemed to be a little brighter from what must have been a better level of “transparency” due to a lack of moisture in the air. (No dew on the telescope all night!) Because Cygnus is now directly overhead for the majority of the night, I am able to set everything up on the porch, rather than the middle of the lawn. I could get used to that!
IC 1318 – 58 light frames in total
There is some very interesting nebulosity surrounding the star, Gamma Cygni. Sadr, the stars traditional name, has 12 times the mass of our Sun and about 150 times our Sun’s radius! What a monster! What a supergiant! IC 1318 is considered to be the diffuse emission nebula surrounding Sadr, or Gamma Cygni.
The telescope used to capture the Sadr Region image above:
I think that this image turned out okay. I had some issues with framing, and I may have chewed up the stars a little too much in processing. I will often trade more detail in the nebulae for a smaller, crunchier stars. I just try to view the image as a whole, and not judge it to critically while zoomed in. I feel that with better equipment, I may be able to achieve better results.
Update: Wide Field Image
The image above was captured in July 2017 using a Canon Xsi/450D and a Canon EF 300mm F/4L lens. The camera was mounted to an iOptron SkyGuider Pro mount to track the night sky.
Summer Imaging Comes to a Close
When I think of astrophotography in the summer, I think of the all of the gorgeous nebulae and stars in Sagittarius and Scorpius. The Southern treats that only stay up long enough to image for 3 short months. Being late August, those days are already gone. I won’t visit the Lagoon Nebula, Trifid and Eagle Nebula again until next spring.
Late August also shows us a preview of what the Fall and Winter constellations await us in the early morning hours. I watched the mighty Orion rise from my driveway at 4:00am. The shifting of the constellations in our night sky is a beautiful way to witness the seasons change.
Time for an upgrade?
My current astrophotography camera (Canon Xsi/450D) has been through countless outdoor all-nighters. I fear that the shutter actuation count is very high, (I’ll check eventually) and that a “shutter-explosion” is imminent. Not to mention the constant manual cleaning of the sensor, and the fact that I took the entire thing apart to modify it!
I plan to look into an entry level CMOS astronomy camera soon and to transition away from my aging Canon.
Sadr Region (IC 1318) – Photo Details
Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Synscan
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro II and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: Orion Mini 50mm
Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Modified)
Total Exposure: 3 Hours, 52 Minutes (58 x 240 seconds)
Processing Software: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop CC
Support Files: 30 darks
IC 1318 – The Butterfly Nebula
Just below Sadr, lies IC 1318, the Butterfly Nebula. Although it may look like two nebulae, it is actually catalogued as one, with a central dark dust lane running through it. The nebulae on each side are the butterfly’s wings.
The following image was captured using a William Optics FLT 132 refractor, and a ZWO ASI294MC-Pro CMOS camera. An STC Astro Duo-Narrowband filter (Ha + OIII) was used to isolate the intense hydrogen and oxygen gas that this nebula is comprised of.
IC 1318 – The Butterfly Nebula
This photo includes just over 6 hours worth of total integrated exposure time from my backyard in the city.