StormEffects

Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti


NGC 2264

The Cone Nebula & Christmas Tree Cluster

The Fox Fur Region

Monoceros

Mouse Over the above image for deep sky object identification

Fox Fur Region    

The Cone Nebula visible at the base of the red emission nebula is just a small part of a vast star-forming region 2,600 light years distant in the constellation of Monoceros.  Nascent stars lie buried within the gas and dust forming the tip of this structure. Eventually their light and stellar winds will erode the gas and dust, and the new stars will burst forth and join their cosmic siblings. The red glow arises from clouds of hydrogen gas that are excited by the ultraviolet light of nearby hot young stars. 

Above the Cone Nebula near the center of the image is a loose triangular cluster of stars known as the Christmas Tree Cluster.  Interstellar dust reflects light from the bright new born stars in the cluster, creating the characteristic blue glow of a reflection nebula also near the center of this image. 

Just to the right of S-Mon (the brightest star in the image) is the richly-textured Fox-Fur Nebula (see inset photo above) which is an area of hydrogen gas actively sculpted by the powerful stellar winds and radiation of the nearby stars.

Mouse over the main image to locate the objects mentioned above.

IMAGE DETAILS:

  • Date & Location:  February 1st/2nd & 6/7, 2013 - StormEffects Observatory - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Night 1: breezy, average temperature 19F.  Night 2:  Calm, average temperature 25F

  • Sky Conditions:  N1: Clear-Above Average Transparency, Poor Seeing.  N2:  Clear-Average Transparency/Seeing

  • SQM-L: N1:  20:30 - 20:17 (Moonrise)  N2:  20:20 - 20:47

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is @ 540mm f5.4

  • Filter:  Hutech IDAS-LPS (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  Orion SSAG @ 5 second exposures

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500d) Hap Griffin modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  31 x 8 min (4 hours 8 min total) all at ISO 800

  • Calibration Frames:  None - sub freezing

  • Processing:  Images Plus 4.50b, PS CS6, GradientXTerminator, NIK filters  

  • Comments:  My goal was to bring out the fine details of this beautiful nebula complex, especially those of the Fox Fur nebula which I was unable to do for my previous two attempts at this target.  This goal was accomplished primarily by quadrupling the overall exposure time and utilizing more careful image processing techniques. 

 

Comparisons below from previous imaging sessions

       

IMAGE DETAILS - ABOVE LEFT:

  • Date & Location:  November 22, 2009 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind, 33F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with average transparency. 

  • Optics:  TeleVue TV60is Refractor (360mm -f/6) with field flattener.

  • Filter:  Hutech IDAS-LPS (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  Losmandy G-11 equatorial with Gemini V4

  • Guiding:  Orion Solitaire w/TeleVue NP101is

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500D) Hap Griffin Modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  65 min (3 x 12 min, 1 x 11 min, 1 x 10) @ ISO 800 (1 x 8 min) @ ISO 400 RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  In camera dark frame subtraction

  • Processing:  Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, NIK 

  • Comments:  This is a subject I would like to photograph again with higher magnification centered on the cone.

 

IMAGE DETAILS - ABOVE RIGHT:

  • Date & Location:  January 10, 2010 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind, 16F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with above average transparency. 

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor w/0.8x TeleVue reducer (432mm -f/4.3).

  • Filter:  Hutech IDAS-LPS (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  Losmandy G-11 equatorial with Gemini V4

  • Guiding:  Orion Solitaire w/TeleVue NP101is

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500D) Hap Griffin Modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  70 min (3 x 8 min, 3 x 9 min, 1 x 10) @ ISO 800

  • Calibration Frames:  No Camera Darks - 16F

  • Processing:  Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, Noel Carboni Tools, NIK 

  • Comments:  This is my second image and was captured at a slightly higher magnification, better sky conditions, and with a colder ambient temperature.  Colors are a bit more saturated and more detail can be seen in the Cone as well as the  FoxFur region above the blue nebulosity.

 

Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Home