April 2024


Aurora Borealis

The icy sky at night

Paddles cut the water

In a long and hurried flight...


Die ersten Zeilen von POCAHONTAS, a song by Neil Young....



Es war eine spektakuläre Nacht in Sommarøy, auf dem Wohnmobilstellplatz am Ende der Welt, am Polarkreis, erst steil hoch, dann zügig bremsen... :-) Dieser Platz ist eine Sensation. Und das Polarlicht war eine Sensation. D850 und Z6 im Einsatz. 20mm + 14-30mm.... kann ich nur empfehlen... also alles... Equipment und location... :-)



NGC 4435 - The Eyes Galaxies

This is not a very good picture - had a lot of trouble gathering footage. Used my 2600 mono cam, and struggled with clouds coming in. Three nights - and still only about 80 frames (180s) for L-RGB... I am probably coming back to this target. Every time I see the famous pictures of hundreds of galaxies, shot by the James Webb telescope, I am deeply impressed.: Looking back in time about 13.5 billion years... This is why I really like The Eyes Galaxies and the Markarian Chain... Fewer galaxies to see, of course, but hey - still many! Linear Fast Reverse + TSA 120 + ASI 2600MM pro. 



Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks. Took the footage for this picture outside of Schondorf. The comet is already pretty low over the horizon, direction northwest (end of march), so I had to find a spot with few light pollution. From my garden I cannot see the comet. Used my Skywatcher GTI mount and the Takahashi FS 60 Q with ZWO 2600MC pro. This is an integrated picture, 10 x 120s. PixInsight & Photoshop. 

The Moon.


My first attempt with my go-to-lightweight setup Takahashi FS-60Q + ZWO Asi 174 mono mini & EFW. Needed  some time to find the backfocus, but now it works pretty good... For his first version I shot around one minute video for each channel: L/R(G/G/B  I used Autostakkert! to stack the frames; 50%. Did a great job, easy to handle, give it a try! 

NGC 2237 The Rosette Nebula


Got it, finally. Please welcome the result of seven nights of imaging. It was cold, warm, windy, and cold again, with clouds crawling in and moving out. It was annoying, in a way, but complaining is useless, it is part of the story, and let`s face it: I like it. So this time I ended up with a couple of hundred frames, summing up to about 26 hours of exposure time. And I think it was worth it. The main image shows the straight (and classic) SHO (Hubble palette) combination. SII = Red, Ha = Green, OIII = Blue. The stars are RGB-stars.


The Rosette Nebula is a huge emission nebula, some 5.000 lightyears away from my backyard. It is a very popular DSO target; and I am one of its fans. Like many professional astronomers as well: NGC 2237 is under investigation and  observation, because it is kind of a star cradle. New stars are born in the middle of that gigantic gas-filled region, and scientists learn a lot from that about the star formation processes.


You can either start observing, make notes and come to your own conclusions in about one or two million years. Or just check the internet about those processes, or read (for example) one of the very interesting and entertaining books of Neil deGrasse Tyson. Anyway - it is fascinating, and it happens under our eyes, right now. And not so far away. 5.000 lightyears is nothing.



I shot Ha, OIII and SII in narrowband and RGB as well, all with my ZWO Asi 2600MM mono camera, using Antlia filters. I ended up with six images that I did combine in different ways. The main picture above is a straight HSO-combination.


This one (left) is a special HSO combination method based on pixel math developed by thecoldestnights.com. I use the very handy Pixinsight Foraxx plugin scrip. It shows great colors with powerful blue tones. It is, like the other HSO, a false color image, though.

Not as impressive, from an artistic point of view, might be the RGB-only image. It shows the most realistic colors, though, because it shows only light that has been captured through the  R, G and B broadband filters. 


So this - to the left - is my broadband version of NGC 2237, whereas above you see two narrowband (3nm) versions.


They all have their own look and background and story. It is up to the creator or the viewer to decide which one might be the "best".


One more thing...



                                                                                                                                         ... the isolated Ha/OIII/SII monochrome channels...




People are usually not very interested in those images. They are only in-between-stages-of-development-pictures. No stars (they have been removed to make processing easier), no color, one channel only, hooray! I like monochrome pictures a lot, and I wanted to show how the three channels look like before they are being combined to an RGB image. 


Here we go. The three most common emission lines. Ha (1 - 656nm) - Sulfur II (2 - 673nm) - Oxygen III (3 - 501nm)

All captured through a filter with a "3nm-small door", that allows only photons of the defined, very specific wavelength to pass to the sensor.  So what you see is the signal of the gas that is being ionized by the surrounding young, bright stars. 


More details about the equipment and the exposure time of my NGC 2237 images are available on my Astrobin site. You are most welcome to visit the page.  https://www.astrobin.com/lqzn1e/B/ 

California Nebula - aka NGC 1499


 This was one of the first DSO that I captured after I started astrophotography back in 2020 with a Canon 6Da and a Nikon 300mm lens. Since then, I have come back to the California Nebula a couple of times. Very impressive DSO!  This is my latest approach from november 2023.  

NGC 1499 is a huge hydrogen emission region that lies in the constellation of Perseus, some 1.000 lightyears away from my backyard. I appreciate that. Why? It is a perfect distance, because this way it fits the FL (350mm) of my TS Apo 71 Q in combination with the ASI 2600 MM Pro. :-)

I tried different ways to develop the footage, and this picture I like best. Nice color and nice details. I might gather more data, but first of all it should stop snowing. And then again - there are so many exiting targets - maybe I will wait until next year.


You can find more details on my Astrobin account. https://www.astrobin.com/61cevs/

Barnard 150/LDN 1082 (Seahorse Nebula) & NGC 6946 (Fireworks Galaxy) & NGC 6939 (Open Cluster)


Barnard 150, also known as LDN 1082 or Seahorse Nebula, is a dark molecular cloud of dust in Cepeus constellation. (Wikipedia) I wanted to capture this one including the nearby Fireworks Galaxy and the Open Cluster NGC 6939. Though they are all in the same frame, the distance to earth is way different. The Seahorse is only about 1200 lightyears away, while the Fireworks Galaxy measures about 21 MILLION lightyears. If you want to witness a supernova: NGC 6946 might be a good target, since ten supernovae have been registrated there during the last 100 years.

I might add more frames when weather clears up to improve star color and faint nebulosity. This is what I like about widefield framing: It may not show a lot of detail, but you get a great bunch of different objects in a nice starfield. And, by the way, the TS APO71Q is a really nice scope for astrophotography.350mm FL, easy to handle, great optics and usable with full frame DSLRs.

Below the main picture you find the annotated frame (left) and a diffferently developped version. 

WR-134 Wolf Rayet Bubble in Cygnus



Here we have the Wolf-Rayet bubble in Cygnus. Very impressive ring-like emission nebula, „blown by the intense radiation and fast wind from the star“ (Wikipedia). This star is a Wolf-Rayet star, located in the constellation of Cygnus and called WR-134. „Due to a temperature over 63,000 K it is 400,000 times as luminous as the sun“ (Wikipedia). You can easily find it, it is the brightest white star more or less in the middle of the blue nebula. Total exposure time is around ten hours. I posted more details and a high res picture of this peculiar DSO on Astrobin. 



down & left: This one has been developed to the Hubble palette, also in PixInsight, but with the ForaxxUtility, thanks to Paulyman Astro and TheColdestNights.com. 


down & right: The OIII Channel only. Very impressive, I like!


IC 410 The Tadpoles



I like the Tadpoles, and I like the music of Neil Young… Nearly missed his 78th birthday on November, 12th.  Happy birthday! Keep on rocking like a hurricane, old man! 


The two pictures below show different versions of the same footage. 


The left one is much more colorful, due to the dynamic combination of Ha, SII and OIII using the ForaxxPaletteUtility in PixInsight, created by Paulyman Astro. Thanks for that - and thanks to The Coldest Nights, where this way of developing the Hubble Palette hast been explained first - as far as I know. https://thecoldestnights.com/2020/06/pixinsight-dynamic-narrowband-combinations-with-pixelmath/ 


The black & white one is the Ha-channel only. I love that one because the two "little" tadpoles can be seen so good...

IC 405 The Flaming Star Nebula



The Flaming Star Nebula. Imaged this one nearly two years ago with my former ASI 294MM Pro. Re-edited it with PixInsight, which I did not use back then. IC 405 is a huge emission & reflection nebula in Auriga some 1.500 lightyears from earth. I really like the way it looks and the fantastic red colors from Ha and SII. Plan for this winter is taking a wide field image of the Flaming Star Nebula and the nearby Tadpoles. For details please check my Astrobin account. https://astrob.in/lnl1zu/0/


Sadr region - mosaic



Nebulae, star cluster, galaxies: They all look impressive, and I really love to capture them with appropriate focal lengths to show details and color. Wide field astrophotography, to me, has it`s own attraction; and I like those wide field pictures a lot. 

The picture above shows my first attempt in producing a wide filed mosaic. I chose the Sadr region (constellation swan) not only because it shows dust, color, stars and nebulae (e.g. the Crescent Nebula) but also because it was pretty high in the night sky and good to capture from my place. I wanted to keep things easy in the beginning. :-) Used my very first scope, the TSApo 71 Q & Nikon Z6a. It is a three-frame-pano, put together in PixInsight and finished in Photoshop. Total exposure time: 75 minutes. (3x25frames à 60s)

MilkyWay @ RautOakFestival 2023



Loud and hot - and @night no clouds: I took some MilkyWayShots @ The Raut Oak Underground Music Fest. This one was shot with the Nikon Z6a and the 14-30mm f/4 S-line lens, taken @ 14mm. 12 x 10s. I love the red Hydrogen-areas, though it was kind of hard to separate the tree from the sky… Do you like it? And please do not say: NO!!! :-) Enjoy day & night…

IC 1396 Elephant Trunk Nebula



This is one fascinating deep sky object! It was the first I was imaging when I got a mono camera and narrowband filters. Looks so cool in the Hubble palette…I re-visited IC 1396 now with my Esprit 100ED, and because of clouds only managed to get hold of Ha and OIII- photons…but… I am working on it. It is an area, where new stars are being born. My recent picture is in HOO, developped in PI, with the Oxygen blue rescued, thanks to Cuiv, the lazy Geek (thanks again!) - I like. Tonight clouds are kind of disappearing, so I might gather enough SII-photons for the Hubble palette. What I did. The result are a few different Hubble palette pictures. Which one do you like best? To me, te picture below on the right looks very nice...