Heart Nebula | IC 1805

This month has been… a challenge. Between not having clear skies, Covid-19 running through the family (myself, my wife, my seven children and other family members) and then personally getting worse and ending up in the hospital right before Christmas with Covid/Pneumonia, it has simply been a month that in a lot of ways I’d like to forget. However, I was blessed to be able to recover enough to be home for Christmas and while I was in the hospital, several items that I had been waiting for came in (Optolong L-eNhanced filter for one) and then I saw I would have clear skies on 12/26. I did everything I could to help boost my strength – still weak, tired, etc, and I was able to set up and get a little time in on the Heart Nebula which is located in the constellation Cassiopeia. I had gathered data twice before on this target with mixed results – once with no filter and then once again with my reducer and Orion SkyGlow Broadband light pollution filter. This time though I was armed with the Optolong L-eNhanced and I love the results, even if I wasn’t able to get as much time on target as I wanted.

Statistics and Gear:

Meade Series 6000 80mm Triplet APO
Sky Watcher EQ6-R Pro Mount
Canon EOS Ra
Astro-Tech 0.8 Reducer / Field Flattener
OptoLong L-eNhanced Filter (2″)
ZWO 30mm f4 MiniScope (guide)
ZWO ASI224MC (guide

28 x 180s light frames at 800 ISO
20 dark frames (180s at 800 ISO)
50 flat frames (10s at 800 ISO)
50 dark flat frames (10s at 800 ISO)
50 bias frames (1/8000 at 800 ISO)

Guiding with PHD2 and captured in APT. Stacked in DSS with processing in Photoshop, Topaz and StarNet++

Yes, you read that right, 10 second flats…. used AV mod on the Ra, filter was in and I had my light panel real low with a doubled up handkerchief for light diffusion and it seemed to work out okay. I also took some at 1.3″ just in case, but I did not end up using them. I might run the whole process through Siril for the heck of it just to see and if I do I will probably use the lower exposed flats.

Now, these two are a combination of my data from 12/26 and data I also took on 11/26. The difference is on 11/26 I took 59 exposures at 150s with the Orion SkyGlow Broadband Light Pollution filter. Combining all the data gave me just under 4 hours worth of data

28 x 180s (12/26) – L-eNhanced
59 x 150s (11/26) – Orion Skyglow Broadband LP
(231.5 min integration / 3.85 hours)
Darks (20 / 15)
Flats (50 / 50)
Dark Flats (50 / 50)
Biases (50 / 50)

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