A Rosette by any other name . . .

Caldwell 49 is one of the objects in my catalog of images that I’ve wanted to capture for a good long while.  It is absolutely massive and generally lends itself well to grab and go wide field imaging.  Polar alignment is less critical than at high f/ratio and field rotation is thus less obvious.  I still strive for zero rotation and translation and in this case I got that.  I only got to capture 35 minutes of data before it disappeared behind a tree so there is still much to be desired.  Another attempt at this will be made next year.

Caldwell 49 2016-03-13

Caldwell 49

7 x 5 minutes

Celestron Advanced VX mount

AstroTech AT65EDQ APO quadruplet

Orion StarShoot Pro v2 CCD


Site: Albany, Texas – Fort Griffin State Historic Site – 2016/03/13

(C) 2016 Tim Schuh

M103 and M1, the addiction renewed

M1, the Crab Nebula.  M103, the Christmas Tree Cluster.  Two of my favorite objects.  I’ve imaged the M103 cluster several times before but it remains one of my favorites.  The obvious grouping of this open cluster gives it a triangular shape and the varied color remind many Westerners of a Christmas Tree.   Given that it reaches its highest point in the winter months that naming is fairly obvious.


The Crab Nebula is an object that has eluded me for many years.  The star exploded about 7,500 years ago but we only saw the light in 1054 AD as recorded by Chinese astronomers.  Capturing the excited Hydrogen ribbons running through the gas cloud has always been difficult for me but I finally got it with 5 hours of data on a nearly perfect night in the middle of the work week.  Thank goodness for automagically guiding telescopes and mounts that don’t need constant tinkering!


M103 taken October 10, 2015.  32 frames of 5 minutes.

M1 taken October 13, 2015.  150 frames of 2 minutes.

Both with a Celestron EdgeHD 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain, Celestron 0.7x focal reducer, Orion StarShoot Pro v2 CCD camera, Hutech IDAS-LPS light pollution filter.




A Dumbbell at last

Finally got some good data on M27 after years of missed attempts.  I collected this data from the back yard in Allen, TX.  Camera was a Canon T2i with the IR cut filter removed and a custom white balance on a Celestron EdgeHD 8″ guided with a Meade DSI Pro in an Orion MiniGuider.  86 Subexposures of 90 seconds each.



Messier 2, 2013-07-05

Messier 2 taken on 5 July 2013 from Copper Breaks State Park outside of Vernon, Texas.  Shot with a Celestron Edge HD 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain mounted on a Celestron Advanced VX.
60 subframes of 60 seconds unguided

M2 2013-07-05 Copper Breaks State Park, Texas

Messier 2 from Copper Breaks State Park outside of Vernon, TX.


Through the Soup: Messier 27 on a humid night over a brightly lit city


M27 on 2013-06-18

M27 on 2013-06-18

Messier 27, the Dumbbell Nebula, taken from suburban Dallas on a night with 80% – 90% humidity with the object in the light dome of a massive shopping complex just a mile away.  Yes, you can practice astrophotography in the city!  This image was built from 41 minutes worth of 60 second sub-exposures stacked one on top of the other with some other frames to subtract various forms of noise.

At an average estimated distance of 1,250 light years this planetary nebula is relatively close.  Several thousand years ago the parent start ejected its coronal mass and collapsed into the white dwarf in the center of the nebula.  This is the same fate our star will have some 6 billion years from now.  M27 has a visual brightness of magnitude 7.4 which makes it visible as a grey hourglass shape in small (80mm refractors, 114mm reflectors) telescopes at moderate magnifications.  The central star itself does not emit very much visible light so what we’re seeing is gasses that are excited by infrared or x-ray radiation.  Hydrogen Alpha glows red and doubly ionized Oxygen (O-III) glows green.  These colors aren’t detectable by the human eye but through the magic of technology we can pull that color out.

C49 2013-03-14

Caldwell 49, the Rosette Nebula, shot from Ft. Griffin State Historical Area near Albany, TX on March 14, 2013.  Two hours of 5 minute subs.

  • Meade LXD 75
  • Meade SN6 (C49-2013-03-14-tschuhsloppy focuser, out of focus in the corners)
  • Canon 20D
  • Baader MPCC
  • Hutech IDAS-LPS (forgot to take it off)