The second object in this list of the 15 best Astrophotography targets to photograph in Summer is the most impressive globular cluster in the northern hemisphere. It is visible with the naked eye if you are in a very dark zone away from light pollution, as a tiny blurry patch in the sky. The cluster becomes more visible using a pair of binoculars or any telescope. Photographing Messier 13 is not difficult but can be a little tricky.
The cluster is so bright and compact that you will have no problem revealing it on your camera with any length of exposure. What you need to avoid though, is to launch a series of photos with exposures that are too long. Globular clusters, especially this one, have so many very bright stars that are each extremely close to each other that taking very long exposures will most likely overexpose the object as a whole, resulting in a "blown out" cluster.
You also need to make sure that your guiding is perfect! A little bit of drifting or even wind will ruin the entire image. Just try to imagine thousands of stars very close to each other We suggest doing 30 seconds of exposure for globular clusters.
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Did you know? M13 has been targeted in November to send a message to potential extraterrestrial civilizations. It will take 25, years to get there, and the same amount of time for an eventual response. Our photograph of M Constellation: Sagittarius. The Trifid Nebula, and the stars that burn within its gases are probably some of the youngest in our galaxy. Two red and blue areas, often called "lobes", show the gas surrounding the birth of new burning stars.
Using an unmodified DSLR camera, getting the red Hydrogen Alpha gases is kind of a challenge, although the reds really starts to be more obvious after about 3 hours of exposure under a sky that is not too light polluted. You can see in our image below that the final result is pretty decent even by using an old unmodified t3i Canon DSLR camera.
If you have a Hydrogen Alpha filter clip-on for DSLR cameras, like the one we used to capture Barnard's Loop in our 8th Episode of Galactic Hunter, you could probably make a great impact on your image by adding one or two hours of it to your regular RGB channels. Messier 20 is located in Sagittarius, very close to M8, the Lagoon Nebula.
Both M20 and M8 are great wide field targets for either small telescopes or just camera lenses. Depending on what instrument you are using, both of these beautiful nebulae should be able to fit in your frame without the need to create a mosaic. If you're like us, and are working hard towards capturing all the Messier objects, you'll also be happy to know that the open cluster M21 is very close to the Trifid Nebula can you spot it on our image?
Look to the bottom right! The Omega nebula also often called the Swan Nebula , is home to stars and is one of the brightest and most massive star forming regions in our galaxy. M17 is located in Sagittarius, really close to other great nebulae like the Eagle Nebula M16 , the Trifid Nebula M20 and the Lagoon Nebula M8 , so make sure you are aiming at the right target! Messier 17 is easily visible through wide telescopes and binoculars. Although very difficult, the nebula can also be spotted with the naked eye by keen observers under very dark skies far from light pollution. Being a bright diffuse nebula, M17 is very similar to the Orion nebula, but is seen edge-on rather than face-on.
It is also about three to four times farther from Earth than Messier Photographing the nebula is one of our goals for this Summer, and we will add our image of this target as soon as we capture it! The bright core of M17 seems very easy to show off, the challenge mostly lies in getting as much of the faint outer gases as possible. Another great nebula for Summer Astrophotography! The Lagoon Nebula is a large, colorful and bright cloud of gas that rises with the Milky Way in the constellation of Sagittarius yes, again!
M8 can easily be photographed with an unmodified DSLR camera, and does not require a lot of exposure time to look nice. In the heart of Messier 8 is the Hourglass Nebula , illuminated by the bright star Herschel 36 bottom right. The Hubble Space Telescope captured this deep part of the Lagoon Nebula, as seen on the right, and this really shows the different chemical elements interacting with each other.
Each of the faint "tornadoes" in the center of this image are about half a light-year long.
You can also capture this target wide field, either using a small telescope or attaching a lens of any size to your DSLR camera instead. The image below is the result of 2 hours of total exposure using a Canon t3i and our 8" Orion Astrograph telescope. We did not use any filter for this and our camera is not modified for Astrophotography, so the colors in this image are mostly blues and reds. Using an Ha Clip-on filter or a modified camera, you can expect the nebula to look much more red and pink, with small hints of blues.
You may notice an open cluster of stars within the Lagoon Nebula. That cluster, NGC , is unavoidable as it sits just in front of M8. We think it really gives a little extra beauty to the overall image. See our photograph of M8. NGC 4. IC 8. Constellation: Cygnus. Despite being very large, you will not be able to spot them with the naked eye, as their gases are spread out and quite dim.
However, a pair of binoculars or small telescope e. For better results, the use of an UHC filter is recommended when looking at the target through a telescope, but you will not be able to see any shapes or details until taking a long exposure shot with a camera. Located in the Summer constellation of the swan, Cygnus, both of these objects are just perfect for small telescopes, or just camera lenses. The North America ' x ' and the Pelican nebula 60' x 50' are HUGE and should fit very nicely together in the same frame depending on the focal length of the lens you use.
The North America nebula left - taken by Ryan Jones is more than four times the size of the moon, and looks like the North American continent. The Pelican nebula right - taken by Alexandre Steen is relatively smaller and fainter, but is often framed next to the other for a more jaw-dropping image.
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These two large emission nebulae are separated by a wall of dark nebulosity. Both targets will appear completely red if using a DSLR camera. It is advised to have an Astro-modified camera or a Hydrogen Alpha filter to really get the most out of these objects. Magnitude: 9. Messier 75 is the most centrally concentrated globular cluster in the entire Messier catalogue, counting about , stars.
This object is rather small when observing it through most telescopes, and you should not expect to see much more than a fuzzy ball of light with a bright center.
This is not really due to its size, but rather its distance. M75 is located 47, light years away from the Milky Way's galactic center, in the constellation of Sagittarius. It is the second most distant Messier globular cluster, right after M54 which isn't located inside our galaxy. Messier 75 looks great in photograph and, despite its apparent size, can reveal lots of details. Simply make sure to not overexpose your image and get a good guiding graph before attempting to capture it. Magnitude: 7. Constellation: Vulpecula.
The Dumbbell Nebula was the first planetary object discovered by Charles Messier in , and it is today a very easy target to photograph for beginners. Messier 27 is the second brightest planetary nebula, and large enough to be visible with binoculars and small telescopes. Due to its high surface brightness, a telescope will yield lots of details in the gases of the nebula, and you may even recognize the shape of a dumbbell! How do you locate the Dumbbell Nebula? Messier 27 can be found inside the famous Summer Triangle composed of the bright stars Altair, Deneb, and Vega , in the constellation of Vulpecula.
Star hop from Altair and head down towards Deneb in a straight line. You will land on M27 about one-third of the way there. Also note that an open cluster, NGC containing just about 30 stars lies just a couple degrees west of the nebula. We chose to do 6 minutes of exposure for each of the frames.
Preview images without disturbing the camera
This is pretty long as we now often do 3 minutes for most targets, but we were hoping that doubling the exposure time for each individual frames would help bring out the red "X" shape inside the nebula. This is particularly difficult to obtain if using a DSLR that is not modified or does not have a Hydrogen Alpha clip-on filter. Magnitude: Varies. Constellation: Ophiuchus. At a distance of about light years only, Rho Ophiuchi is the closest stellar nursery to Earth, and can be found near the bright Orange star Antares.
Rho Ophiuchi is, in our opinion, the best wide field Astrophotography target to capture during the Summer season. This cloud complex is located in the constellation of Ophiuchus, very close to the brightest region of the Milky Way band. This target is huge, so let your telescope rest for the night and grab a 50mm lens instead.
All you need is a DSLR camera, an intervalometer, and a way to track the sky! You can either use your motorized mount that you usually use for your telescope, or a smaller device like the Omegon Mini Track for example!
Framing is very important for this target. We talk about this subject in depth in Episode 12 of Galactic Hunter if you're interested.
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If using a 50mm lens which we recommend , you should be able to frame both the entire Rho Ophiuchi complex and a bright part of the Milky Way band in your image. Make sure to take advantage of softwares like Stellarium, Sky Safari, or Astronomy. We are still working on getting a proper final image of Rho Ophiuchi and will upload our result once we capture it! In the meantime, here is one of our old attempts, sadly unfinished. Magnitude: 8. Constellation: Lyra. Messier 57 is a small planetary nebula in the constellation of Lyra. This object is surprisingly bright when observing it through a telescope's eyepiece, and really stands out against the darkness of space despite its very small size.
It is believed that our sun will expel gas in a similar shape when it dies. The Ring Nebula is not difficult to locate. It lies just 2, light-years away from Earth, just south of the very bright star Vega. Messier 57 is very easy to find, because it is located almost exactly in between the two bottom stars of Lyra, Sheliak and Sulafat.
Simply start from one of those two and make your way to the other in a straight line. You will spot your target just a little closer to Sheliak than in the true center. Want to know exactly how we obtained our image of the Ring Nebula? Check out Episode 2 of Galactic Hunter. In this video, you will see us venture into the desert on a hot June night, set up our equipment, talk more about our target and Our full Episode about M In short, M57 is a very good target for beginner astrophotographers, as it compensates for its small size by being very bright on camera, meaning you do not need to spend hours and hours on it to get beautiful results.
Click on the image to visit our full blog post about this object! Constellation: Scutum. At a distance of 6, light-years, Messier 11 is the farthest open cluster in the Messier catalog that can be seen with the naked eye. Its nickname, the Wild Duck Cluster , was given to it because the brightest stars in the cluster seem to form a triangle resembling a flock of ducks flying.
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Containing about 2, stars, Messier 11 is one of the most compact and star-rich clusters out there. We made the mistake of doing 6 minutes of exposure time for each shot, but we now know that we should have done much shorter exposure times, like 30 seconds instead. Notice that you can see dark interstellar lanes in several spots around the cluster. Make sure your tracking and guiding are perfect for this target, as with any cluster, or you will end up with a blurry mess. Thanks in advance Dave.
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Its is a free GUI front end It installs ffmpe, it is easy to convert files and also see the proper ffmpeg parameters: ffmpeg. I can't wait for a clear night to try it out! I was thinking about automating my C8 telescope with a raspberry pi and a camera, but I didn't know how to get it well remote controlled without meters of RS cable in my garden and not having to boot windows everytime since stellarium serial doesn't seem to work on mac.
That telescope server is working really well, I'm suprised. The DSLR focal length is fixed. Let me know how it works out. I'm still stuck under an overcast. I captured some additional video and experimented with some camera settings. This is what I hoped people would start getting out of that little camera. Can I ask roughly how many images were used for the stacking process? You're saying you want to also control your telescope with a web-interface. I'm looking forward to pretty much the same thing, maybe I can find some time to extend it's functionality.
Re: RaspberryPi Camera for Astrophotography Tue Jun 04, pm I can see the little planet thingy off to the right, but I pressume you were focussing on the dark matter in the middle of the frame? James Celestron C8. Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example Re: RaspberryPi Camera for Astrophotography Tue Jun 04, pm Careful jamesh, you might start getting lots of pester posts from people asking you to make the camera detect Dark Energy or Neutrinos Re: RaspberryPi Camera for Astrophotography Tue Jun 04, pm Ravenous wrote: Careful jamesh, you might start getting lots of pester posts from people asking you to make the camera detect Dark Energy or Neutrinos Re: RaspberryPi Camera for Astrophotography Tue Jun 04, pm I'd love to see whether you can actually capture stars with the Pi Camera, since they are quite a lot darker than planets like Saturn or the moon.
Maybe you can next time the weather allows 2nd magnitude stars should be very possible, with a 6 inch or bigger telescope possibly quite some magnitudes more. Maybe we can use the Pi Camera as a cheap autoguider Damn I want one of those nifty Pi cameras.. Nice to see James has the same telescope I have!
Re: RaspberryPi Camera for Astrophotography Tue Jun 04, pm jamesh wrote: I can see the little planet thingy off to the right, but I pressume you were focussing on the dark matter in the middle of the frame? I wonder what would happen if one would try focal astro photography of planets, without the lens and eyepiece.
Maybe the picture would be too noisy, tho, spreading the light across so many more pixels. I had originally ordered two cameras, one to take the lens off and one for normal operations, but because of the high demand my order was cut to one camera by element Understandable, but now I'm reluctant to mess around with the lens. Cheers HB. So what next?