NGC 5139 – Omega Centauri

NGC 5139 – Omega Centauri, the largest globular cluster of the night sky, but only visible from the southern hemisphere. Would it be a good target to test new gear?

My new gear

In July I bough a Canon T6i and a field flattener for my Long Perng S400M-C 66mm f/6 refractor . I was so excited with my new gear that I took some pictures, did a basic processing and then totally forgot to publish it.

The gear I shooted NGC 5139 - Omega Centauri: New Canon T6i and Field Flattener
The gear I shooted NGC 5139 – Omega Centauri: New Canon T6i and Field Flattener

I choose this one as my first test by two reasons. First one, I have already taken a picture of this globular cluster with my old Nikon D5000, and it would be a good comparison.

Second, this is an easy target, but this field full of stars is a good way to measure focus and focal plane correction. Besides, there are some faint galaxies around NGC 5139 that only a good exposure could solve.

The differences are huge. My Nikon D5000 have 12.3mp, and my new Canon T6i have 24mp. Twice the number of pixels. This mean that now I’m closer from the correct arcsec/pixel ratio for my telescope, but also means that my computer strugles a lot more to pre/pos process the images.

At the same time, now I can use almost all the field of view of the image, thanks to the field flattener.

The night didn’t help

I wanted to make at least 4 hours, with frames of 180 seconds. But I knew the clouds would came fast. Then I stayed with 60s frames.

My bortle 6 skies don’t wan’t to help, and my optolong L-Pro still didn’t arrived.

The results: NGC 5139 – Omega Centauri

Oh my, I love this giant!

NGC 5139 - Omega Centauri

Setup:

EXIF:

  • 88x60s
  • ISO 1600
  • DARKS: 100
  • FLAT: 50
  • BIAS: 150
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Cat’s Paw nebula – NGC 6334

NGC 6334, the Cat’s Paw nebula is a faint emission nebula on the constellation of Scorpio.

That’s finally my last capture before I get my DSLR modified for astrophotography.

My setup for astrophotography is slowly getting the way I want!

Of course, my ideia was to shot an emission nebula hard to capture with a stock camera. If everything ends right, soon I’ll post a version of this same target, with some quite similar exposure, but with an astromoded Canon T6i. Wish me luck!

Well… the Cat’s Paw nebula is a hard target for Bortle 6 skies and a stock DSLR. Almost 3 hours of exposure and I hardly got some nebulosity. I hope it will change soon, as soon my camera come back and my Optolong L-Pro arrive.

Here it is:

Cat's Paw Nebula - NGC 6334
Cat’s Paw Nebula – NGC 6334

Setup:

EXIF:

  • 87 x 120S
  • ISO 1600

My skies are getting worse

Well, when I was using my Nikon D5000, the light pollution was a problem, of course, but not a major one. I mean, I was using ISO 400, and 120s frames apear not too gray at the time.

As soon I as put my hands on my new Canon T6i, I saw the real problem. 120s subs with 1600 ISO are enough to let the frame almost white!

Look at this:

120s ISO 1600 SUB -  Cat's Paw Nebula - NGC 6334

This is one single frame with 120s of exposure time and 1600 ISO.

Optolong L-Pro Clip Filter on the way

To fix (or at least try) this issue, I bought a Optolong L-Pro Clip Filter. I’m in Brazil, and it’s coming from China, so… just imagine how long I’ll need to wait…

But don’t worry!

Canon T6i astromod on the way

Also, I just sent my new Canon T6i to be modified for astrophotography.

As you can imagine, I can’t even sleep.

As soon as I put my hands on the canon again I’ll try to shot the Cat’s Paw once more!

See you soon!

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Crux and Coalsack Nebula (C99)

The Crux constellation and the Coalsack Nebula (C99) are so close to each other that we can shot it through a 135mm and a cropped APS-C sensor.

And I finally did it! Let’s see how it ended.

The Crux constellation

The Crux constellation is probably the most known constellation of the southern hemisphere, and it’s easy to understand why. There are 4 stars, being the less brighter yet on magnitude 2.75, and disposed on a “cross” shape very easy to locate.

This constellation is full of surprises. Just to the left of the star called “Mimosa” (Beta Crucis) is the Jewel Box (NGC 4755), a beautiful, bright open cluster with stars of many colors.

The star Alfa Crucis, also known as “Magellanic Star”, is the brightest one, with 0,8 mag. This is also a multiple stelar system, with at least 3 stars.

The Coalsack Nebula (C99)

I don’t know why, but I just love dark nebulas. And the Coalsack is awesome! C99 is the biggest one seeing from earth, with dimensions of 7×5 degrees! It is HUGE!

I first discovered C99 a few years back, while I was on the firsts steps with astrophotography. I pointed my D5000 to the Crux with a tripod and toke some 15s shots. When I saw this huge shadow I couldn’t believe.

The picture itself

Shot it was pretty easy, to be fair. I started just after the sunset, but the first 4 frames was lost due to the INTENSE traffic of artificial sattelites. I should have thinking on that, right?

Then I made more 96 frames of 60 seconds with my D5000 and my Nikon 135mm f2.8 at f4.

This was the result:

Crux and Coalsack Nebula (C99)

Setup:

Nikon D5000
Nikon 135mm f2.8 AIs at f4
iOptron CEM25P

Exif:

96 x 60s ISO 400

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IC 2944 – Running Chicken Nebula with a stock DSLR

IC 2944, the running chicken nebula, is actually an open cluster with an associated emission nebula, rich in H-Alpha. This DSO is found in the constellation of Centaurus, close to NGC 3372, the Eta Carinae Nebula.

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Eta Carinae Nebula (NGC 3372) Close-Up

So, after shoting Eta Carinae Nebula (NGC 3372) with a wide angle lens, now it’s time to shot this target again, this time to inaugurate my new OTA with a close-up of those beautiful hydrogen clouds and giantic star clusters.

Not everyone knows, but Eta Carinae Nebula (NGC 3372) is four times larger than the Orion Nebula (Messier 42) and even brighter. Don’t misunderstand me. Messier 42 is incredible, but Eta Carinae is special. It is so complex, with a lot of star clusters, Hydrogen Alpha regions, dark clouds… and it’s huge! And the big red giant in its center? Speechless. This red giant totally deserves an dedicated post for its own.

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NGC 3115 (The Splindle Galaxy) – My first galaxy

I was thinking in not even publish this image here. Althougth I was happy because it was a galaxy after all, my first galaxy, I was disapointed with the results. NGC 3115 is a tiny little galaxy with just 7 arc minutes of aparent diameter.

But then I though: well, the main reason to mantein this blog is to keep an historic. Maybe this image could be important to the “Luiz” of the future to see it and compare with new photos of other galaxies and compare the results.

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My first true experience with DSO astrophotography

72 days since my CEM25P has arrived, and I got just 1 day with open skies. Guess when the skies were open? Yes, in a night with a bright 97% illuminated moon.

Well, f… it! I needed to try some long exposures. And so I did.

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