Western Veil Nebula from Marfa

The Big Bend region of Texas has some of the darkest skies in North America. Perfect for a dim subtle target like the Western Veil Nebula (NGC 6960) with the Witch's Broom adjacent to 52 Cygni at the bottom. These filamentary nebula are remnants of a super nova explosion from over 5000 years ago. The Veil nebula is about 2600 light years distant. The dark skies allowed true color broadband imaging which also captures the density of stars in the Cygnus region of the Milky Way. I used a William Optics Redcat 250/51mm f/4.9 Petzval refracting telescope, Baader UV/IR cut filter, and ZWO ASI533 MC Pro cooled camera on a Sky-Watcher AZ EQ5 Pro mount. Imaging was controlled with a ZWO ASIAIR Pro astrophotography controller. This was my first use of multi star tracking with the ASIAIR and performance was excellent even with my tiny 120mm guiding scope. Image data taken 2021-06-11 from 07:30 to 10:30 UT with 3 hours of total exposure.

The extreme heat wave had daytime temperatures over 100F during the day and still in the mid 90s when the clouds cleared for my setup at midnight. As a result I imaged at -5C to keep the camera cooler unstrained.

59 of 67 3 minute exposure images were calibrated with a master dark, stacked, and processed in Pixinsight. Additional noise reduction was done using Topaz DeNoise, with final crop and exposure in Photoshop.

Content created: 2021-06-13




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