• Amir

Skywatcher Esprit 120ED Super APO Triplet ZWO ASI1600mm-Cool

Chroma HA 3nm - 380x300 Chroma OIII 3nm - 39x300 Chroma SII 3nm - 40x300

Total exposure time: 38.25 hours

After month of wildfire smoke, it's back to imaging. I started imaging the Wizard nebula before the smoke intervened and already had a lot of Ha (Hydrogen filter) exposure. When the smoke finally went away, of course the moon was out and full.. which meant more Ha exposures. I ended up with a whopping 380x300s exposures with the Ha filter which made the main luminance of this image very clean. This is one of my favorite captures. The Wizard Nebula looks very dynamic and looks like it's in motion. It's a stunning composition with the Hubble palette of colors, with the Oxygen (blues) flowing out away from the nebula.

Mars is almost at opposition... and it's been a long time since it's been so large in the sky. Naturally.. this is something I can't miss, like many other astrophotographers. There is a cost though: sleep. Mars is now appearing high in the night sky around 1-3 am. Oof.. that is brutal for a dad with two young kids. So I set my alarm and woke up at 1:45am, went out and lined everything up and started imaging. Mars looked fantastic and the seeing was excellent (a rarity in Northern California).

After about 2 hours of capture, went back to bed. The next morning, it felt like a truck had run over me. I got some nice images out.. but I'm not doing that again. I have a lot of respect for those who can do this night after night. It takes some getting used to. As for me, I'm mainly a deep sky imager. This also means my deep sky imaging rig is way more advanced than my planetary imaging rig. I set my deep sky imaging rig up at sunset, and turn it on, find my target, and let the automation take care of everything else. I go to sleep at a normal time and wake up with enough energy to deal with the various crises :D

  • Amir

Many of the pictures of nebula you see, including from Hubble are taken using narrowband filters. This means they capture a very narrow spectrum of light, and are assigned to color channels in order to clearly show the formation and general material composition for scientific purposes. The "Hubble" palette for example, is accomplished by gathering light with a Hydrogen-alpha filter, a Sulpher-II filter and an Oxygen-III filter.

But what would this amazing nebula look like if you traveled there with a spacecraft? Or had amazingly sensitive vision with a huge telescope?

By simply capturing light with an RGB camera, or using Red, Green and Blue filter we can find out.

For the Pelican nebula, a target rich with Hydrogen, the image would be predominantly red, since that is the wavelength it emits when ionized by a nearby star.

This is what you'd see:

Now you can see why astronomers gather data in narrowband filters. It tells us much more of the story.