Astro Photography

Astro imaging is no longer a reserved territory for large scale telescopes. With modern software tools good results can be accomplished with way smaller equipment and without traveling to distant places. The photographs shown hiere were taken from my home with a corrected telescope and an equitorial mount (further information may be found in the section astro photography). The shots were taken with either the regular Nikon D750 or with a dedicated cooled astro camera (ZWO ASI2600MC Pro or ZWO ASI2600MM Pro with Gain 100).


The view of the Milky Way right next to the star Altair.

C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS)

Comets tend to have some bulky names, this one is called C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS). The image was taken on July 16th in 2022 where he was near Messier object M10, from our perspective.

C/2022 E3 (ZTF)

After waiting for weeks the clouds finally opened for a brief moment at January, 29th (2023) and I was able to capture a total of about two hours of data from this target. In order to reduce risk regarding an imbalance of color channels and to capture as most light as possible, I've used the fast reflector and the one shot color camera.

Andromeda (M31)

The andromeda galaxy is about 2.5 million lightyears away and yet the nearest spiral galaxy in the universe. Like to orion nebula it can be observed with naked eyes under good conditions or binoculars.

The Pinwheel Galaxy (M101)

The Pinwheel Galaxy M101 with a diameter of about 170.000 lightyears is only a little smaller in size than Andromeda, but at a distance of about 16 million lightyears it is much smaller in our sky. The overdone red areas of glowing Hydrogen may form new stars over a long period of time.

The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)

A quick image of the well known Whirlpool Galaxy in a distance of 25 million lightyears. For this kind of objects some more focal length would be beneficial.

Triangulum Galaxy (M33)

The Triangulum Galaxy is just a bit further away compared to the Andromeda Galaxy but much smaller and not to observed with the naked eye. This picture is also only a crop of the original image.

Markarian's Chain

Markarian's Chain is a row of some larger galaxies contained in the so called Virgo Cluster which is estimated to hold up to 2000 galaxies.

The Leo Triplet

The so called Leo Triplet is a prominent group of galaxies M65, M66 and NGC3628 in a distance of about 35 million lightyears. It is assumed, that the three galaxies interacted a long time ago, since on longer exposures a tidal stream inbetween becomes visible.

While M65 and M66 were discovered by Charles Messier in 1780, he missed the much fainter galaxy NGC3628. It was William Herschel in April 1784, who first documented it.


The Beehive Cluster (M44)

The Beehive Cluster M44 is an open cluster in constellation Cancer and can be recognized with bare eyes under good conditions  as a small dust cloud.

Just another Starcluster (M4)

The globular cluster M4 in constellation Scorpio resides in a region of various nebulae which are illuminated by the nearby stars Antares and Alniyat. M4 is rather low above the horizon on the northern hemisphere and the 2 hours exposure time already hard to obtain. You'll likely get much better images from a southern location.

If you check out the region right above Alniyat (the left star), you'll notice very tiny red, green and blue dots right next to each other. That's the asteroid 536 Merapi, which flew through the image taken at 28th of May, 2022. Since the image was captured using a monochrome camera, the color dots visualize its change in position each 25 minutes.

Milkyway with Sadr

The star Sadr (Gammy Cygni) is one of the 100 most brightest stars in the night sky and easy to find. This area is dominated by the stars in the milkyway yet reveals the Crescent Nebula (NGC6888) on the left and the open star cluster M29 top right.

This sky region is filled with excited hydrogen. With an unmodified camera these are hard if not impossible to capture. The next image clearly shows the difference.

Sadr and the Cooling Tower (M29)

This image is taken from the same sky region as the previous one, but was captured with a dedicated astro camera. The active hydrogen clouds are much more present compared to the one taken with a regular, non astro-modified, camera.

Bubble Nebula (NGC7635) and M52

A nice mixture of some different deep sky objects, like the Bubble Nebula NGC7635. an emissionnebula, the open star cluster M52.

The Pacman Nebula (NGC281)

The emission nebula NGC281 within constellation Cassiopeija has some similarities with a well known computer game character.

The Soul Nebula (IC1848)

This exposure of the Soul Nebula, seems to be a face staring down at us with it's blue eye. Other images with different rotation or longer exposures reduce this effect significantly, as you will see in the next image.

Soul Nebula (IC1848), monochrome color

This significantly longer exposed image from the Soul Nebula reveals much more details than the shorter image taken with the one shot color camera is able to provide. The yellowish highlights are derived from the sulfur channel, so the colors are significantly different compared to a pure RGB image.

The Ghost of Cassiopeia

The faint object Ghost of Cassiopeia (IC59/IC63) is both an emission nebula (the glowing red Hydrogen) and a reflection nebula (the blue clouds illuminated by the star). This image was taken using a monochrome camera and lots of time.

The Wizard Nebula

Der Wizard nebula is a faint emission nebula surrounding the open starcluster NGC7380. To capture this object a pretty dark sky and long exposure times are required.

The Christmas Tree Cluster

The Christmas Tree Cluster is oriented sideways in this image and therefore not that easy to realize. It is surrounded by an extended H-Alpha region and dust clouds. The entire region is cataloged as NGC2264.

A galactic snapshot

These two images of the bright Omega Nebula M17 and Lagoon Nebula M8 below prove that is not always mandatory to spend many hours to obtain interesting astronomical images.

Both originate from the work on my normalized Messier catalog and were exposed for only one hour in LRGB. So if you are searching for a fast target to image, you indeed should check out the relatively bright Messier objects.

Pelican Nebula (IC5070)

I did not expect to create a picture of the Pelican Nebula from my home, but this one proved me wrong.

Heart Nebula (NGC896)

A part of the Heart Nebula IC1805 in constellation Cassiopeia. I've used additional data from a narrowband filter to enhance colors.

Der Rosettennebel (C49/NGC2237)

The hydrogen and oxygen contained in this gigantic molecular cloud with a diameter of roughly 130 lightyears in constellation Monoceros are excited from a couple of young stars and so generate the iconic shape of the Rosette Nebula.

The Elephant in LBN455

The large H-Alpha region LBN455 along with star µ Cephei and the Elephant Trunk Nebula IC1396A in a colorful composition.


The California Nebula NGC1499

The California Nebula is yet another starforming region with plenty of ionized hydrogen. Due to its low brightness a decend exposure time is required to reveal the finer structures.

To even more emphasize the finer structures I used a different mapping for the narrowband images than usual.

Orion molecular cloud complex

The whole constellation Orion is an active starforming region and interspersed with various dark, reflection and emission nebulae. To capture the complete region a comparable low focal length is required. With a closer look you may discover the Orion Nebula M42 on the right.

More on Wikipedia

Im Orion

The region in constellation Orion is filled with various interesting objects, like the Flame (NGC2024) or the Horsehead (IC434) Nebulae. The less typical yellow highlights in this composition are taken from the sulphur image.

The Orion Nebula (M42)

The Orion Nebula is visible with the naked eye under good conditions and a nice target for binoculars. Its detailed and colorful structure can only be revealed through a telescope.

The following crop show the contained Messier object M43, the De Mairans Nebula next to NGC1977, the Running Man Nebula.

Pleiades (M45)

The open star cluster Plejades is a welcome object for visual astronomy. But only a longer exposure may reveal the faint blue shine from the surrounded reflection nebulae.

The Iris Nebula (NGC7023)

The Iris Nebula NGC7023 in constellation Cepheus is a typical dark nebula. These are illuminated from a bright star from the center and hide most other stars behind.

The Veil Nebula

The Veil Nebula is a large supernova remnant which was discovern in 18th century by William Herschel.

The below images of the western region (Caldwell 34) were taken with the 580mm f/5.8 APO and the same camera (ASI2600MC Pro). While this image was exposed about 6 times longer (3.8h), due to the slower optics only about the same quantity of photons reached the sensor.

The Spaghetti Nebula SH2-240

The Spaghetti Nebula SH2-240 is a large supernova remnant with an apparent diameter of about 3 degrees and an estimated age of 40.000 years.