Last fall, in October, I finally got a telescope for nebula photography along with a mount that would enable me to track for long exposure. My first targets I attempted included both the North American Nebula in the Cygnus constellation and the Andromeda Galaxy. Both of these came out “okay” but I was never really happy with my results. Partially, this was due to me being new and also partially due to me not having certain filters that would help me get a better image. Instead of putting a good focus on trying to process what I had really well, I did quick and dirty processes to get something out.
In November of 2020, I took my last real images of the North American Nebula. The first 60 or so where before a meridian flip and the last 40 or so where after. I did not rotate my scope and because of my inexperience I assumed I was stuck stacking and processing both sets separately. I later realized, while doing some Orion Nebula stacks, that Deep Sky Stacker would auto rotate the images while stacking, but I had completely forgotten about my NGC 7000 data, that was until a week or so ago.
I went back, found my data and stacked. This gave me 99 exposures at 120s – just over 3 1/4 hours. I then took it into Photoshop and processed and my results where a lot better then the original I did. This was in part due to the additional data, but also from what I have learned as I continue to grow in the area of processing.
The North American Nebula, along with a lot of other neat targets, are begin to rise really late (or early depending on how you look at things) and I will soon be able to go after these targets with some different equipment and filters then before. As I did with the Rosette Nebula in January, I am planning on going after this as my next real project. I don’t know how much time I am planning on getting with it, but I plan on going after as much as I can without neglecting some other interesting targets over the late Spring / Summer.
99 x 120s
20 darks; 50 flats, dark flats & biases
ISO 800 – Bortle 8
Meade Series 6000 80mm Triplet APO
Canon EOS Ra
Sky Watcher EQ6-R Pro
ZWO 30mm f4 MiniScope (guide)
ZWO ASI224MC (guide)
No filter, no flattener