Lagoon Region

Taking the AT6RC tube off and installing the Televue 76mm on the mount changes the game a bit. Lower magnification, wider field, a setup I find more appropriate for Waikoloa skies.

The average seeing in Waikoloa is 2 or 3 arcseconds, or worse… Not the 0.5 arseconds typical at the summit. This leads to mushy stars at higher magnification, fuzzballs rather than pinpoints. Lower magnification sidesteps this problem.

Still using the borrowed ASI2600MC color camera for a few more days, seeing just what it is capable of. The slightly larger sensor is nice and the data easier to process, but still I am seeing limitations that annoy me in the fine details. The color balance is difficult to deal with as well.

I will be going back to the ASI1600MM and filter wheel soon enough. I do need to up my processing game, the software side has changed substantially over the years and I need to transition. Will be giving PixInsight a spin over the next month.

The Lagoon Nebula Region
The Lagoon Nebula Region including M8, M20, M23, NGC6544, IC 4678, Bochum 14, and much more

The Lagoon in Hydrogen-Alpha

With summer upon us the central core of the Milky Way galaxy dominates the late evening sky. This allows an astrophotographer a rich selection of targets well placed for shooting all night long.

Among these targets are the large emission nebulae… M17, M16, NGC4628, NGC6334, NGC6357, SH 2-54, and a long list of others. The brightest among these nebulae is M8, the Lagoon nebula, a rich and complex region of star formation, sweeps of gas, and dark globules.

With a new hydrogen-alpha filter added to the camera’s filter wheel it is time to re-image some of these old favorites. The filter is a narrow-band filter allowing through a slice of the spectrum only a few nano-meters wide. The filter pass-band is centered on 656nm deep in the red, the glow of neutral hydrogen gas, this allows sharp images of these glowing nebulae complexes.

M8, The Lagoon Nebula taken in H-alpha light at 656nm
M8, The Lagoon Nebula taken in H-alpha light at 656nm