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astronomik 12nm

Astrophotography with a 12nm ha filter

|Narrowband|2 Comments

With the aid of an Astronomik 12nm Ha filter, I can capture deep-sky images more often than ever before.  With both the h-alpha clip version for my Canon DSLR and the 2″ CCD round mounted version for the 183C, I collect photons in every moon phase.

Despite the bright 80% illuminated moon on Saturday night – I was able to capture some incredible deep sky photos of the Wizard Nebula and Bubble Nebula in narrowband h-alpha and OIII wavelengths from my city backyard.

The 2″ Astronomik round mounted versions thread into my Altair Lightwave 0.8x field flattener/reducer – which I unite with my Explore Scientific ED102 refractor.

Deep sky astrophotography telescope

My deep sky astrophotography setup

Astrophotography with a 12nm ha filter

My current one-shot color CMOS camera performs exceptionally well with narrowband filters. Sure, a camera with a mono sensor with TEC would blow it out of the water – but I like to push my current gear to its full potential.

My current astrophotography camera (183C)

After a very warm start to fall, the reality of a Canadian October night set in as the temperature plummeted to 4 degrees Celcius on Saturday night.

Who needs internal cooling when it’s freezing outside? It really is a great time of year for DSLR astrophotography – as your sensor can return to a more suitable temperature for long exposure imaging.


I hope you have enjoyed spending some more time with me in the backyard (and the garage). Please subscribe to the AstroBackyard YouTube Channel for more.

The Wizard Nebula in Cassiopeia shines brightly through a 12nm ha filter. The detail is evident in a single 210-second exposure with a gain setting of 60% on the 183C.

Single H-ALpha Image Frame in DSS

A single 210-second exposure of the Wizard Nebula in H-Alpha

I have added the additional light in hydrogen alpha to existing ha and RGB data. The HaRGB composition method continues to produce incredible results from my light polluted backyard.

Tutorial: Create a HaRGB composite in Photoshop

The following photo is the result of over (5) hours worth of 210-second exposures using the Astronomik 12nm ha filter with one-shot color camera.

Wizard Nebula using a 12nm Ha Filter

The Wizard Nebula using an Astronomik 12nm Ha Filter

Photo Details:

Exposure: 4 Hours, 54 Minutes (84 frames)

Hypercam 183C (Gain 60%, Bin 2 x 2)

Astronomik 12nm Ha Filter

For a look at the clip-DSLR version of this filter in action, have a look at my results using it with a camera lens instead of a telescope.

Bringing all of the data together

Then, I combined the images shot in Ha with my color version of the image – shot through an Explore Scientific UHC filter [ link to OTA product page]. This creates a composite version of the NGC 7380 that uses the grayscale H-Alpha image as a luminance layer.

Wizard Nebula in HaRGB

The Wizard Nebula in Ha + RGB

Next up is NGC 7635 – the Bubble Nebula. This is just the beginning of a full narrowband project that will include OIII and SII. This project will likely carry on through the month of October – as I will need to wait for New Moon to capture the broadband color images.

With Saturdays imaging season, I the project is off to a great start.

The Bubble Nebula in Ha

Bubble Nebula with a 12nm Ha Filter

NGC 7635 – The Bubble Nebula in Ha

Photo Details:

Exposure: 3 Hours, 33 Minutes (61 frames)

Hypercam 183C (Gain 60%, Bin 2 x 2)

Astronomik 12nm Ha Filter

At this point, I have also collected images using the Astronomik 12nm OIII filter as well.  Another cold clear night in the backyard yeilded over 4 hours worth of total exposure time on my project.  The details of the Bubble Nebula in OIII are less dramatic than the h-alpha, but a necessary stage in my narrowband project.

The Bubble Nebula in OIII

Bubble Nebula using an Astronomik 12nm OIII filter

The Bubble Nebula in OIII

Photo Details:

Exposure: 4 Hours, 43 Minutes (81 frames)

Hypercam 183C (Gain 60%, Bin 2 x 2)

Astronomik 12nm OIII Filter

Final Thoughts

I hope that you have enjoyed seeing my progress into narrowband deep sky astrophotography with the use of filters.  The color CMOS sensor camera I am using is not ideal for this type of photography, but it certainly gets the job done with a little patience.

Ha Filter Astrophotography

I look forward to completing my narrowband project on the Bubble Nebula this month and will be sure to share my results.

With that being said, I am happy to announce the arrival of a Mono Camera as early as late October.  This is a brand new astrophotography camera at an entry-level price point.  Until next time, clear skies!

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