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Sunday, August 31, 2014

NGC 281 The Pac Man Nebula

NGC 281 The Pac Man Nebula is a HII region roughly 9500 light-years away located in the constellation of Cassiopeia.  The constellation of Cassiopeia is well known for it's "W" shape seen in the northern skies. The location of the Pac Man is designated by the circle in these photos:

I first imaged NGC 281 in January 2012 shortly after starting astrophotography. I found out soon enough that a modified camera was needed to pick up the HII regions. This image was taken with a unmodified Canon T3i and Orion ST-80T refractor telescope. 10 frames were taken, 2 minutes each

My next attempt was in Sept 2012, this time with a modified camera and special narrowband filters. This image consists of 6 frames 10 minutes each taken through each of these filters (Ha,OIII,SII) for a total of  3 hours. The modified camera was a Canon T3 and the filters were Astronomik clip-ins. 2 telescopes were used and the results combined, an Orion ST-80T & Orion ED102T CF:

Shortly after this image, I decided to get a camera dedicated for astrophotography, a QHY9M mono CCD . One of my first test images was of the Pac Man. This image was 3 test frames taken with a Ha filter, 20 minutes each. The telescope used was my Orion ED102T CF refractor. The 3 images were combined with the previous Canon T3 image seen above. The new image was used as a luminance layer and the T3 image provided the color.

Last week I decided to revisit the Pac Man with my newest gear, a 11" Celestron EdgeHD SCT telescope and QHY23M CCD camera. This image is a comparison of a previous image and the newest version seen on the right:

This new image was taken on August 28 & 29,2014......finally some clear skies!!! It consists of 3 frames 10 minutes each taken through each narrowband filter, 1.5 hours total exposure. Also I added Red,Green & Blue filtered images for better star colors. 6 frames 2 minutes each through each color filter for an additional 36 minutes

This is a picture of my mobile observatory :)