RBA Premium Astrophotography

Messier 8, The Lagoon Nebula

Posted: May 31st, 2008

Original size & wider field: 4272x2848

May 31st, 2008, 12am to 2am PST

Exposure: 5 x 5 minutes
Focal: 540mmm, f/5.4

Imaging Scope: NP101is
Camera:Canon 450D Stock (unmodified)
Guide camera: StarShootAutoGuider
Guide scope: Orion Short 80mm
Mount: Takahashi EM-400

Middle of Highway 198, Kings County, CA
Transparency: Excellent

Stacking: DeepSkyStacker
Processing: PixInsight

Rogelio Bernal Andreo

Tired of getting crappy and foggy skies around where I live (this includes all the usual sites I go to do astrophotography such as Henry Coe State Park, Montebello or Fremont Peak), I decided to drive over 100 miles to reach a "gray" area, in the middle of California Highway 198. Indeed, all I did was to drive all the way down there, park on a turnout, and setup right there, next to the highway - BTW I will never ever do that again :-)

Anyway, I decided to take a break from the spring galaxies (certainly NOT having been done a good job) and go for the famous Lagoon nebula that was already starting to show up in the horizon (still very low, but the good skies helped with that a bit).

I was very impressed with the behavior of the UN-modified Canon 450D. Considering it's only 5x5 minutes exposures, the amount of H-Alpha that was gathered was very impressive for an unmodified DSLR.

After processing it I knew I was looking at the best picture I had taken so far. Not only the image was revealing for an unmodified DSLR, but I also think I did the best processing work on the image I had ever done until then. This time I only used PixInsight for processing. A bit more work in general, but I did learn a lot in the process. The nebula is gorgeous (for an unmodified DSRL), but I especially liked the final aspect of the stars. A bit noisy if you look at the original size image, but do bear in mind that I used no darks during calibration (and I cannot generate them now because I no longer have a unmodified (nor modified) 450D.

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