Astrophotography Emission Nebula

Astrophoto: Monkey Head Nebula – Sharpless 252 – 03/21

At the end of March, the famous Monkey Head Nebula was my target. I took the photos from my backyard and stumbled over a lot of problems i had to solve and fix them in PixInsight.

Clear Sky Evenings

Monkey Head Nebula

Astrophoto NGC 2174 Monkey Head Nebula Clear Skies 10+11+12.
I had several problems in those 3 nights when i took the photos. my main problem was a drift caused by bad guiding scope alignment.

I tried later to process the old data with Affinity Photo. Crap Data stays crap data:

NGC 2174, Monkeyhead Nebula
3 Evenings of clear sky and a long way to go!

But most problems could be solved post processing with PixInsight.

My fist post processing results came very quick and lead to my v 1.0:

NGC 2174 in Version 1.0

At a closer look, i sow some ugly artifacts. Ugly Noise. My solution was to use the CANON Banding Reduction in every single light subframe and in the flat frames using Process Container and Image Container in PixInsight. The quality increase was huge:

Left: my old default Process, Right: CBR used in all lights and flats before integration

I had another problem beside the CB: Ugly stripes. Should also be a result of the drift problem. I tried to fix it using the Cosmetic Correction in PixInsight. Think its called Walking Noise Pattern.

Stripes, caused by drift problem.

Therefor i started working again on my post process using PixInsight.

Lessons Learnd:

  • Calibration in PHD2 helps a lot and improves guiding 🙂
  • I should not play around with my guide scope without optimizing the field of view of the guide scope and the main scope after re-attaching it.
  • PixInsight does not bring magic into play, but i could at least rescue my results and made me happy.
  • Full Moon nights are there to photography the Full Moon!

Technical Overview of Astrophoto NGC 2174 Monkey Head Nebula Clear Skies 10+11+12

TelescopeAPO, Entry-Class
Focal Length600mm
Aperture ratio7.5
Erecting Lense
MountGerman Equatorial, Class 5
Goto-ControlCartes du Ciel, (Open Source)
Mount ControlASCOM
Guiding Scope Focal Length162 mm
Guiding Camera Chip4.8mm x 3.6mm, 8bit
Guiding Camera Resolution1280×960
Guiding SoftwarePHD2, ASCOM Pulse
Dithering– (first time 12th, April 21)
CameraCANON EOS M100a
Camera ControliOS App CC&C
Photography Date29.-31.3.2021
Exposure-Time Lights87x180s
SensitivityISO 400
CalibrationframesFlats, Darks, Bias
Post Processing Date1.4.2021
Stacking, IntegrationPixInsight
Post Processing SoftwarePixInsight
Image Editing
Capture PlaceKoblenz, Deutschland
LightpollutionBortle 5
Scattered lightstrong

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