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I really enjoy shooting the dark stuff, particularly if it's got some reflection nebulosity in it. This one is a little tough though. 5.5 hours is barely enough for this faint dark cloud. The form of it looks like a swimming penguin to me. DeHt5 is a very faint red and blue planetary nebula thats barely on the bottom of the frame. I should have rotated my camera a bit more and got that in there better.

Scope: Vixen ED103S with WO Flat 4 0.8x FR/FF
Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G with GoTo
Guiding: Meade DSI Pro and PHD Guiding
Guide Scope: ATM 60mm f/4.1 Achromat
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D (Modified / Peltier Cooled to 34F)
Special Settings: None
ISO: 800
Exposure: 5 hours 30 minutes (66 x 300s)
Processing Software: Acquired in Nebulosity with High Dither, Calibration and Stacking in Deep Sky Stacker, Levels/Curves/Enhancements in Photoshop
Support Files: 40 flats, 40 bias, 12 darks

  • Currently 5/5 stars.

Views: 211


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Comment by Trevor Woodrow on March 10, 2012 at 9:50am

Incredible Neil. That is really all I can say. I really apprecaite your putting in the details and answering questions about your work. You give the rest of us something to shoot for. Well done.

Comment by Emil Kolbert on March 9, 2012 at 10:23am

looks really good, to good I should say! Nice work Neil, keep them coming!

Comment by Al McAdam on March 8, 2012 at 5:37pm

Neil, Someday I would like to come close to what you do, the images are great. I am just starting after 3 years of fumbling. I would like to ask about the support files: Do you take the flats at a reduced iso say 100 or 200? How long would you take them ie. the same length of time as the lights or is that necessary? Why do you only take 12 darks? Thanks in advance for answering. If it isn't too much trouble can you send it to my email

Comment by M.C. on September 28, 2011 at 10:16pm
Man! That is one radical shot! Love it!
Comment by Neil Heacock on September 15, 2011 at 5:40am
On the size of the field, it's about 2.5 degrees diagonal. 1.2 x 3 or so. It's an 800mm focal length reduced by .8x so it's about 640mm or something with the DSLR chip.

Comment by Neil Heacock on September 15, 2011 at 5:37am
Thanks for the comments guys. "Almost perfect"... LOL. I agree, but I wonder what truly perfect is.. Ivan's shot no doubt.

Regarding the sky, I only shoot these dark lanes in a Bortle 1 and 2 sky. I can tell you that they require very dark skies to get them decent. We're talking about 5.5 hours in ultra dark sky on this one (a Bortle 1 location with zero light pollution) and that's all I got. Granted it's pretty good, but from my Bortle 3 and 5 sites (5 is my house) I wouldn't have had such results.

I can't really comment on if an LPS type filter would be beneficial because I don't have one and I've never used one. I can't say 100% for sure, but I think Jerry Lodriguss who uses one extensively would say that it would be a benefit.

Comment by Derek Baker on September 15, 2011 at 4:59am
Really really nice Neil ! I'm interested in your answer to Raymond's questions.

BTW, what is the size of this field. Even though you wish you had rotated the frame to get the planetary in there better, I do like the framing.


Comment by Mark Roberts on September 14, 2011 at 8:15am
Nice job on a hard target, well done Neil.
Comment by Raymond Kneip on September 14, 2011 at 2:11am
A very good looking image; almost perfect! What would you say should be the minimum sky quality/darkness to take images of dark nebulaes? Can LP-filters help?
Comment by Conor on September 10, 2011 at 6:16am
Excellent contrast between the dust and the surrounding sky. You do nice work, sir.

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