Located within the Constellation of Cassiopeia, the Heart Nebula is one of my favorite objects in the sky to photograph. It's simply a stunning collection of gas and dust sculpted by stellar winds of new stars.

My capture above was taken with the Hubble palette which consisted of using Ha, SII and OIII filters. At the center right is the very core of the Heart Nebula, also called Melotte 15. A small collection of new stars which are partly responsible for the shape of this nebula. The length of the nebula in this photo is roughly 50 light years, and the nebula is 2700 lights years from Earth.

A total of 22.5 hours of exposure (mostly HA) over 5 nights. More stats below:

Skywatcher Esprit 120ED Super APO Triplet ZWO ASI1600mm-Cool Orion Atlas EQ-G Guiding telescopes: Orion ST80 Guiding cameras :ZWO ASI224MC Software: Adobe Photoshop 2020 , PixInsight 1.8 , DeepSkyStacker (DSS) Deek Sky Stacker 4.2.0, Starnet++ Chroma SHO 1.25" mounted Sesto Senso 2 Electronic Focuser

Chroma HA 3nm - 191x300 Chroma OIII 3nm - 29x300 Chroma SII 3nm - 52x300

Finally, for the nerds, a video below which shows all the frames in sequence

  • 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