Astro Blog

Jose Bellas's Astronomy Blog.

NGC 1333 - A Reflection Nebula in Perseus

I found a little time this week and processed an object we got about 8 hours of time on.

This was especially hard to process. I'm not completely satisfied with the results but I'm still going to call it done and move on to the next.

Here it is:

NGC 1333 - A Reflection Nebula

Thank you for looking and as always comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Clear skies...

The Witch Head Mosaic.

One of the things I am a huge fan of is widefield astrophotography. I love seeing all of the interaction and really just the sheer size of some of these objects. Getting those widefield shots sometimes calls for mosaics.

Mosaics are a combination of smaller images put together to create a larger one.

Since getting the observatory mosaics are something we really wanted to try our hand at and since getting the observatory we have gathered data for simple 2 panel mosaics all the way up to a 9 panel mosaic of the constellation Orion.

Processing and assembling the mosaics is something I have never had much success doing and with the lack of time lately something I really can't sit to learn and do.

So with that said we reached out to my good friend Albert Barr to help Jim and I with the pre-processing of all that data.

We may have bitten off more than we could chew with the 9 panel but the 2 panels are much more manageable.

Here I present to you the first image of that collaboration, The Witch Head Nebula:

IC 2118 - The Witch Head Nebula and Rigel

The Witch Head Nebula is illuminated by the near by star Rigel who dominates the right side of the image. Our camera/scope can only fit The Witch Head in one frame so more than one image was necessary in order to illustrate the Witch Head basking in the light of Rigel.

I wanted to thank Albert for his help it is really appreciated.

Thanks for looking.


Long time no process. :-(

I haven't had time to process any images since late last year, which in and on itself is quite depressing. The observatory on the other hand has been collecting data like a busy little bee. I now have a healthy back log of data to keep me occupied throughout my old age.

Earlier this month we collected some data on the Iris Nebula (NGC 7023). I have never imaged this before and I think it is a beautiful object so I decided to set up some runs on the observatory. Over the course of a few nights between dodging clouds and the moon we were able to collect about 16 hours worth of data on the Iris.

My observatory partner Jim Wood was nice enough to give me a kick in the butt by doing the stacking and combining of the data (pre-processing) and sending me the masters (thanks Jim).

Although I felt like I forgot almost everything in this huge hiatus from processing I think the image still came out well enough to post.

Here it is:

NGC 7023 - The Iris Nebula

I know it probably could have come out better but I am tired from a long day at work so I'm just going to call it a day.

I hope I can post more soon.

Thanks for looking. :-)

Second image for the weekend.

After my last blog post I had some extra time and had a turn at processing another image from the Sharpless catalog, this time it was SH2-171.

Like my last post this image is also processed in the popular HST palette.

This image was also taken using our observatory that is located at Stellar Skies, LLC. in Central Texas. The data for this image was acquired in late October and early November.

Here it is:

SH2-171 in the HST palette.

Narrowband images like this one as much art as they are science.

I hope you enjoy my interpretation of SH2-171.

Processed another image.

I got a little time and processed another image this weekend. I decided to process an image from the Sharpless catalog that we gathered data on in October and early November.

It is an image of SH2-108:

SH2-108 in the HST palette.

This image was composed using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) palette which is a false color method of producing a picture. This is also often referred to as narrowband imaging because only a narrow part of the visible electromagnetic spectrum is used.

The data is acquired using three different emission line filters, this means that each filter is tuned to allow only the light from a particular element through. In the case of this image the filters used allow Hydrogen-Alpha, Oxygen III, and Sulfur II to pass through.

The data from these three filters is then assigned to a color channel (Red, Green, and Blue) in order to make a color image.

There are many different ways to do this and process the data to achieve a particular look or result. I prefer the HST palette for my narrowband images and I often use variants of Bob Franke's technique to achieve an image I find visually pleasing.

One of the advantages of narrowband imaging is that you can gather data even when the moon is up and at its brightest. Since you are not imaging in the entire visual spectrum the moonlight does not interfere as much.

I still have a lot of data to process as the observatory has been working very well. A lot of it is narrowband so there will be many more posts like this one in the future.

Thanks for looking.