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Astronomy summer imaging targets


The summer months give the opportunity to image some spectacular large Nebulae, some of which span many times the size of the full moon.

The surprise to many is the fact that only very small telescopes are needed to capture these vast dust and gas clouds

On the one hand,imaging the Night Sky during the summer months has the bonus of being warm outside, much more comfortable from the Astronomers perspective . However the nights are very short this time of year and this poses a major challenge for most of us that image the night sky. The problems get worse the further North in the UK you are.

During June the nights not only are very short but just to add difficulty, they don’t get completely dark either. For me with my equipment it becomes near impossible to get enough imaging time on an object to produce  a finished colour picture out of the camera in one sitting, two or three nights are usually required.

The included image I took  last week using  a Hydrogen Alpha Narrowband filter. The image shows a wide field view of the Sadr region of Cygnus (Sadr being the central foreground star in the cross of Cygnus) . This is a new imaging target for me and this Ha monochrome image shows masses of detail in the Hydrogen gas clouds.

The Nebula itself lies some 3,000 light years away from us and covers a vast area. The foreground Star, Sadr is so bright it is difficult to control and produces large halos when using Narrow band imaging filters. The star itself is not associated with the Nebula in any way and is just a line of sight effect

I need at least one more night on this target to get enough data to produce a colour image of the region and I am very keen to get it finished. Hopefully I will get the opportunity and will post up the finished result soon

If you want to learn more about imaging the night sky or any aspect of astronomy you can visit us at our website where we have contact details for anyone that wants to get in touch we are always happy to help

Dave Moulton


The Equipment used to take this picture is listed below

Telescope Mount: Skywatcher EQ6  Pro

Telescope: Meade ED80 Refractor

Camera: QSI583WS  With an Astrodon Ha filter 90 Mins exposure