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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

M16 Eagle Nebula Experiment

One of my favorite summer targets has been the  Eagle Nebula or Messier 16 (M16). This was one of the first targets I can remember seeing images of  from the Hubble Space Telescope, the "Pillars of Creation" Detailed information on the Eagle can be found on Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillars_of_Creation

Over the past 3 years I've imaged M16 with 4 different camera and 3 different telescopes, due to upgrades in gear. Since it's been mostly cloudy, yesterday I decided to collect and combine all my images into one .

My oldest image used was taken with 2 DSLR cameras and my Orion ED102T, Sept 2012


 Ha(Hydrogen-Alpha 7nm)- 8x600 iso 800 modified Canon T3
OIII(Oxygen III 7nm)-12x600 iso 800 Canon T3i
SII(Sulfur II 7nm)-11x600 iso 800 modified Canon T3

I really liked the color blend from this image, so I incorporated it into the new image.

In August 2013 I shot a few subframes with my Astro-Tech AT65EDQ and QHY9M camera.

Ha 2x30 minute                                                            OIII 2x30 min

 These frames were also used in yesterday's image



In May 2014, I had taken a close up image with my relatively new 11" Celestron EdgeHD and QHY23M camera.
This image consists of a single 10 minute image shot through 3 filters: Hydrogen-Alpha, Oxygen III and Sulfur II. This image makes up the "core" of the newest image.


On July 17,2014 I managed only 3- 10 minute frames taken through a red filter. Taken with the QHY23M & Astro-Tech AT65EDQ. This image was also used, to "tame" the final image




After combining the above 5 images using various techniques in Photoshop, this was the result:




And after cropping and tweaking even further, this is the final result



There's not a ton of data in this image, every year I seem to come up short due to weather. In a nutshell there is only 6 hours worth of images here, collected over 3 years. The individual subframes from each image were not stacked together, just blended in Photoshop CS6.
 I just hope to someday have a string of good weather and put together a good image of M16 using the same telescope & camera!
But I am pleased with this result, considering my first image of M16 taken Sept 16,2011:



I have a larger version of the new image on Astrobin, (still in .jpg format however) http://www.astrobin.com/full/110263/0/