4/2/2021 The Christmas Tree Cluster

Thursday night I went up to the River Ridge Observatory to do some narrow band imaging. One of my targets was NGC 2264 also known as The Christmas Tree cluster, the Cone Nebula, and the Fox Fur Nebula. Starting from the right, see that dark cone on its side? that is, not surprisingly, The Cone Nebula. Immediately to it’s left is another cone but this time a cone of stars with it’s peak almost touching the peak of that nebula. From this orientation, the Christmas Tree Cluster is on its side with its base being that brightest star in the middle. Finally, those swirls and stuff on the left make up the Fox Fur Nebula. These are all part of a common molecular cloud where stars are forming in the constellation of Monoceros, the unicorn. This was made with my 11″ SCT at f/1.9 using a dual narrowband filter and my ZWO ASI294MC Pro. A total of sixty minutes integration.

3/20/2021 The Flame and Horsehead Nebulae

Last night, under a first quarter Moon, I shot the Flame and Horsehead Nebulae in Orion with my C11 (Elf) with a dual narrowband filter at f/1.9 from the River Ridge Observatory. The dual narrowband lets only a few specific wavelengths of light through, those emitted by so called emission nebula, and works as an effective Moon and light pollution filter. At least as far as nebula are concerned.

This image was made from 12 five minute subs that were stacked and then processed in Photoshop. Orion will soon be exiting the stage for several months and I wanted to get this while I could.

3/20/2021 Lunar Occultations

I was at the River Ridge Observatory under a first quarter Moon. I had one rig shooting with a narrowband filter oblivious to the moonshine. I had a second rig set up for my DSLR but what to shoot with that bright of a Moon in the way?

Occultations! Serendipitously, I found that the leading dark edge of the Moon would occult, or pass in front of, two fairly bright stars at 9:05 PM just 30 minutes away. I set the remote to take continuous one second images starting at about 9:02 and let it run for two or three minutes 9:05 to be safe. I got a total of about six minutes of single one second shots.

I used Lightroom to process and Photoshop to make a video and here is the result at ten frames or ten seconds per second. You can see the Moon creep up on and blot out the two stars almost at the same time.