This is IC 1805, also known as the Heart Nebula. This is a large nebula about 7500 light-years away from us.
The nebula shines bright red due to all the hydrogen gas excited by the nearby stars. The center of the nebula has a cluster of stars that contribute to this as well. The other significant part of this nebula is NGC896, also known as the Fish Head Nebula.
I captured this early October in incredible light-polluted skies in my apartment complex. Bonus smoke from the nearby railyard!
I took the 33 frames at 300 seconds each and stacked them using WBPP in PixInishgt. I also integrated 50 dark, 50 flats, and 50 dark flats into this image as well.
The following processes were performed in PixInsight:
- Dynamic Background Extraction
- Photometric Color Calibration
- MultiScale Linear Transform X2 on Luminance and Chrominance
- Histogram Transformation
- Curves Transformation (X2 with a range mask. Inverted mask for the background and then non inverted for the target)
- Color Saturation
- Curves Transformation (X2 with a second range mask. Inverted mask for the background and then non inverted for the target)
- Morphological Transformation (Generated StarMask using default settings)
- Local Histogram Equalization (Performed with a range mask)
Once I found what I liked, I saved the files and went to Photoshop. I played around with the levels, vibrance, and saturation a bit. I then ran Topaz AI DeNoise. This is an amazing plugin that works like magic.
With this target, I also tried something new. I made a time-lapse of the stacking and processing flow. I may try and do more of these.
If anyone is curious, here are the full-res versions of the images.
Here you can see the area of the sky in Cassiopeia imaged.
- Telescope: Explore Scientific ED127 f7.5 Air-Spaced Triplet Apochromatic Refractor
- Camera: ASI2600MC Pro
- Guide Scope: Orion ST80
- Guide Camera: ASI290MM Mini. Dithering every image at 1 pixel each time.
- Mount: iOptron CEM60
- Software: NINA for image acquisition. PixInsight is used for stacking and editing. Imported to Photoshop for final touchup and watermarking.
- Other Accessories: AstroZap Dew Heater, Starizona ApexED 0.65 Focal Reducer/Field Flattener, MoonLite CFL 2.5″ Focuser w/ High Res Stepper Motor & V3 Controller, Pegasus Astro Power Box Advance
- Filters: Optolong L-eNhance 2″
- Exposure Time: 2 hour 45 minutes (33 x 300 seconds) -20°C.
- Exposure Start: 22:24
- Date: October 8, 2020
- Location: Raritan, NJ, United States
- Temperature: 43°F/6°C
- Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 8
- Astrometry.net job: 3929706
- Avg. Moon age: 20.72 Days
- Avg. Moon phase: 65.01%
- RA center: 2h 32′ 35″
- DEC center: +61° 27′ 38″
- Orientation: 325.093 degrees
- Field radius: 1.297 degrees
- Magnitude: 6.50
- Resolution: 3556 x 2330