Looking at Cygnus

Milky Way season has officially begun and that means we get to start observing and photographing beautiful nebulae. One of the most popular regions that gets looked at towards the end of Spring and the start of Summer is the constellation Cygnus. Famous constellations that include The North American Nebula, The Veil, the Crescent Nebula, and more can be found in this constellation. So far, I have been able to capture the North American and Pelican Nebulae together, which is close to the bright star Deneb, as well as the Sadr Region which includes the Crescent Nebula. Deneb and Sadr make up the two brightest stars in the Swan constellation, and around both of them is a lot of beautiful nebulae and stellar dust.

Above is the Sadr and its surrounding sky which features such Nebula like the Crescent. This area is full of rich Ha and comes out beautifully. The shot above is a total of 3 hours and 50 min integration time in one session.

Here we have the North American and Pelican Nebulae which are near the star Deneb. This is one of my favorite nebula in the night sky period. Previously, I posted these images processed as a simulated SHO. This shot is a total of 3 hours and 35 minutes integration time in one session.

I shot both of these targets with a Canon EOS Ra through the Radian Raptor 61 using and Optolong L-eNhanced filter. This is the second time I have been able to use the Raptor for what I intended it for and will be will be writing something on it soon!

Clear Skies!

North American Nebula – SHO (Simulated)

A miracle happened, I finally got some clear skies on a weekend night when the moon was not up or bright. It just so happened that Milky Way “season” has just begun so I was finally able to put my new scope – the Radian Raptor 61 – through its paces and image something I have been waiting to image since last November – The North American Nebula (NGC 7000).

Image 1 – Starless
Image 2 – Negative
Image 3 – Inverted
Image 4 – Final Process

45 x 240s
7 x 300s
(3 hours, 35 min total integration)
20 darks, 25 flats, 25 dark flats, & 50 biases
800 ISO – Bortle 8
Radian Raptor 61
Canon EOS Ra
Optolong L-eNhanced Filter
Sky Watcher EQ6-R Pro
ZWO 30mm f4 MiniScope (guide)
ZWO ASI224MC (guide)

Imaging Notes:
I felt like the focus was a little soft. I realized this about 3/4 of the way through the session and decided to roll with it and keep my fingers crossed it would end up alright.
I was able to get 3 hours and 35 minutes of total integration – essentially from the moment it rose above the trees to the East until the ambient light from the pending sun rise began to wash out the nebula.

Processing Notes:
Stacked and channels separated in Astro Pixel Processor –
– Extracted Ha & Oiii, simulated Sii with Ha-Oiii Mono
Processed in Photoshop

North American Nebula – NGC 7000

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


Cygnus with the North American Nebula
Cygnus with the North American Nebula

Canon EOS 350D, 30s exp. 1600 iso, f.18mm, apt. 5.6 – Sprewell Bluff, just outside of Thomaston, GA USA

The North American Nebula can be seen as a reddish smudge in the lower left corner of the constellation

More Constellations – Sprewell Bluff – Thomaston, GA (07/01/08)

Here is some more pictures from July 1 when I was out at Sprewell Bluff. In this batch, I have one of my favorite constellations – Coma Berenices, as well as one of my more favorite shots of late, Saturn, Mars and Regulus. Also included are some of Cygnus, Lyra and more.

Again, all pictures taken with the same specifications as mentioned in previous posts.

Constellations, cont. – Thomaston, GA

Here is the first batch of pictures I took this morning (July 1, 2008 ) from around 1:30am to 3:00am. All pictures are taken with a Canon EOS 350D, focal length of 18mm, exp. 30s, and iso 1600.

Also, all pictures have been edited in Paint Shop Pro.

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