8/21/2011 IC 5070 The Pelican Nebula in Hubble palette

22 August 2011

Hello Everyone,

Some nice clear August skies have made it possible to do some great narrowband imaging, and today I have finished processing what took four nights of imaging to record.  With over 11 hours of total exposure time, it is my most extensive attempt at narrowband imaging to date.  In fact, I’m pretty certain it is the longest amount of total exposure time I’ve ever put into a single target.

The image below is that of the ionization wavefront region of the Pelican Nebula.  Also known as IC 5070 it is an active star forming region that has been extensively studied (click here for wikipedia page).

You may recall that I previously imaged this region in 2008 from the dark skies of the Table Mountain star party using a modified digital SLR camera.  You can see that earlier image here.  When compared to the detail and color of today’s image the benefits of the narrowband technique becomes clear.  Imaging that was once only possible at remote locations can now be surpassed from light-polluted downtown Seattle.

In addition to the using new hardware, I have also spent many hours studying online tutorials on the topic of image processing.  Tutorials that I have found useful include those by Astrodon Imaging, Misti Mountain Observatory and a few others.  These techniques have enabled me to maximize the already great narrowband dataset.

IC 5070 – The Pelican Nebula
LRGB image using Ha for Luminance, SII for Red, OIII for Blue and Ha for Green
7 exposures of SII, with 20 minute subs each
13 exposures of OIII, with 20 minute subs each
13 exposures of Ha, with 20 minute subs each
Imaging scope:  Astro-Tech AT10RC  Ritchey Chrétien at f/6.7 (native f/8)
Focal reducer:  Astro Physics CCDT67 focal reducer
Imaging camera:  QSI 583wsg monochrome
Guide camera:  Starlight Xpress Lodestar
Capture and stacking in Maxim DL
All other processing in Photoshop