NGC7293 ‘Helix Nebula’

This is NGC7293 ‘Helix Nebula’, taken from my backyard (again) on the 11th October 2013.  With a 44% illuminated moon high in the sky I wasn’t actually planning on shooting this nebula on that night, particularly as the moon was so high and bright in the sky.  A quick look at Stellarium showed that the helix Nebula was to be right above me, with its photons having to travel through the least amount of Earth’s atmosphere I thought I’d give it a go anyway.

I wasn’t expecting too much from only a few hours of data capturing as this 7.6 magnitude nebula typically required a lot of data.  A cursory 5 minute test exposure yielded just a faint smudge, so I continued.. 😉

This image is made up of the following sub-exposures:

– 16 x 1m
– 26 x 2m
– 6 x 5m
– 2 x 10m

Total: 118m

This image has very heavy cropping considering it only takes up a small part of the image sensor through the Orion ED80T CF.  Further to that I needed to do a lot more dithering to avoid the streaky artefacts across the image.  It didn’t help that I had no dark or flat calibration frames (I so wish I had a tec cooled CCD!).

Imaging Camera: Canon 550D (unmodified)
Imaging Scope: Orion ED80T CF
Guide Scope: Orion 80mm
Guide Camera: Orion Starshoot Autoguider
Mount: HEQ5 GOTO
– Astronomik CLS Clip In filter
– Orion Field Flattener

Guiding via PHD
Image capturing via Nebulosity3
Stacking and pre-processing via PixInsight
Minor curve adjustments via Aperture3

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