Christmas Tree Cluster (NGC 2264) & Cone Nebula Area Pictures
Astrophotography Images by Dick Locke.  Copyright 2005, 2008, 2014, 2018 by Dick Locke.  All Rights Reserved.
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Fox Fur Nebula Area

Above is quite a wide-area shot of the Christmas Tree Cluster and Fox Fur Nebula area.  Note Hubble's Variable Nebula just below center towards the left edge of the frame!

This is from Wimberley in March 2014, consisting of 43 frames of 5 minutes each (just over 3.5 hours) using the SBIG ST-8300 Monochrome CCD Camera with a h-alpha narrowband filter plus the Takahashi FSQ-85 "Baby Q" telescope with reducer.  Conditions were not great during either of the two nights of imaging.  Check out the sky and cloud action in the time lapse video from the second night on my time lapse video page.

Fox Fur and Rosette Nebula Area: Nikon D810A & Zeiss 135mm Lens

This is presented in a large (1920 pixel wide) image to show detail.  The Fox Fur, Christmas Tree, and Cone Nebula area and the Rosette Nebula are represented.  Trumpler 5 is the yellow-ish cluster below the cone area, and below and a bit to the right of that is IC 2169.  I used some of my regular processing techniques on this, but this image represents my first foray into PixInsight (PI).  I used several PI tools, but the compelling feature that drove me to make the jump was the Dynamic Background Extraction tool (DBE).  That was required to address significant green gradients that plagued this image.

The above is composed of 40 * 5 minute frames (3 and 1/3 hour total), as noted with the Nikon D810A camera and Zeiss 135mm lens.  The lens is f2.0 and I stopped it down to f2.8 for all imaging on this trip.  Image reduction with darks & flats in DSS, then processed in PixInsight & Photoshop CS6.  The weather was cold for Texas and I recorded 43 degrees as the typical temperature during the imaging session.  I used 77 darks captured during 40 to 51 degree temps (captured on another cold but cloudy night).  I went with t-shirt flats, 72 of them, auto-exposed at -EV.  It looks like forcing your flats to be dim is critical to getting decent image reduction with the camera; perhaps it is non-linear in the normal exposure range...

After the gradient, the stars where a real challenge here.  Registar counted 492,302 stars in the original and very mildly cropped image!  I worked with star reduction in PixInsight and in Phototoshop, though I'm not entirely happy with the results.

This page has information and pictures on the equipment used during the tripThis is from the Starry Nights January 2017 trip.


Christmas Tree Cluster & Cone Nebula Area

The Christmas Tree Cluster is NGC 2264.  The "cone" part is on the left part of the image, just below center.  This includes the "Fox Fur Nebula".  
IC 2169 is in the area.

Above Image: 16 * 5 min = 80 minutes total exposures.  Takahashi TOA 130  Telescope (a 5" APO refractor telescope) with the flattener, AP 900GTO mount, QHY8 CCD CameraOther pictures from the camera are are here.  Images processed using my Astronomy Image Processing Workflow.  Compare with my older DSLR image below.

Other Images from Oct 2008 Davis Mountains are here.  The 2008 "Holiday Version" is at the bottom of this page.

Below: DSLR image of same object

DSLR Christmas Tree Cluster and Cone Nebula Area

The Christmas Tree Cluster is NGC 2264.  The "cone" part is on the left part of the image, just below center.  This includes the "Fox Fur Nebula".  SEDS info here.  Also some good info here. 

Image and processing notes:  In 2008 I note the image above looks a little rough in parts of the nebula.  This is another very dim object and I didn't have enough exposure to overcome the noise in the dimmer areas.  It's represents an early processing effort and I could probably do a little better today.  Combination of 8x4 minute exposures (32 minutes total exposure - I originally had 13*4 exposures listed, but reviewing it looks like it was 8).  This area is very dim and I could use more exposure time.  I did 3 applications of Neat Image noise reduction, as well as a selective Gaussian blur to help tame the noise.  Takahashi TOA 130 (a 5" APO refractor) and Canon EOS D20a.  This is resized to be about 30% of the original's size.  My current image processing workflow is here. 

Temperature ranged from ~51 degrees F at the start of imaging to 42 degrees when I was packing up and doing my last darks.

Christmas Tree area - my best effort with the Nikon D100 - a major challenge with the due to weak red response of this camera.
Nebula Page

The rest of the images from this (DSLR) night...

Astronomy Index:  I actually want to find something specific

Astronomy Pictures: Dick Locke's Astrophoto Gateway page....

Galaxy Index

Dick's Pix (Dick Locke's Picture & Image Page)

Copyright by Dick Locke.  All Rights Reserved.
  Contact and Image Use Information 

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