NGC 7293 The Helix Nebula

NGC7293 The Helix Nebula.

NGC 7293 also known as the Helix Nebula or The God’s Eye is a fairly large planetary nebula in the constellation of Aquarius.

The Helix is about 700 light-years away and is the closest planetary nebula to us.

NGC 7293 was discovered in 1823 by Karl Ludwig Harding.

This was captured at Cherry Springs State Park, an International Dark Sky site in Pennsylvania, US. I was able to get about 40 frames at 300 seconds each, out of which I only used 32.

Processing Info

I stacked the 32 light frames along with 40 dark and 40 flat frames in PixInsight

The following processes were performed in PixInsight:

  • Dynamic Crop
  • Automatic Background Extraction
  • Background Neutralization
  • Photometric Color Calibration
  • MultiScale Linear Transform
  • Histogram Transformation
  • LRGB Combination
  • Curves Transformation (X2 with a 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, and ran Topaz AI DeNoise. This is an amazing plugin that works like magic.

The area of the sky in AquariusHere you can see the area of the sky in Aquarius imaged.

Acquisition Data

  • Telescope: Explore Scientific ED127 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 used for stacking and editing. Imported to Photoshop for final touchup and watermarking
  • Other Accessories: AstroZap Dew Heater, Explore Scientific 2″ Field Flattener, MoonLite CFL 2.5″ Focuser, High Res Stepper Motor, V3 Controller, Pegasus Astro Power Box Advance
  • Filters: Optolong L-Pro 2″
  • Exposure Time: 2 hours 40 minutes (32 x 300 seconds) -10°C, 100gain, bin 1×1
  • Exposure Start: 01:17
  • Date: August 15, 2020
  • Location: Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania, USA
  • GPS Coordinates: Lat. 41.6628445, Long. -77.8230494
  • Temperature: 64°F/17.7°C
  • Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 2
  • job: 3914598
  • Avg. Moon age: 25.72 Days
  • Avg. Moon phase: 15.54%
  • RA center: 22h 29′ 38″
  • DEC center: -20° 50′ 13″
  • Orientation: 293.677 degrees
  • Field radius: 0.773 degrees
  • Magnitude: 7.6
  • Resolution: 3720 x 2330