Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

Emission Nebula Sh2-264

Dark Nebula B 30-32, 225 & Blue Reflection Nebula Cederblad 51



Mouseover the above image to see the designations of the various objects



Just to the north of the constellation Orion there is a large circular complex of nebulosity located above Orion's head known as Sh2-264.  The above image lies along the northern margin of this much larger complex and contains several interesting deep sky features.  First, there is the bright emission nebula itself which is punctuated by several dark nebula regions.  Barnard 32 (B 32) is the intensely dark nebula, somewhat reminiscent of the famous Horsehead nebula, that intrudes into the large glowing cloud on the right side above center.  B 31 extends to the north (up) from B 32 and B 30 surrounds the blue reflection nebula Cederblad 51 near the center of the image.  B 225 is another dark nebula that obscures stars at the base of the emission nebula.

This complex of deep sky objects lies about 1300 light years from Earth and is located just to the northwest of the triangular grouping of stars marking the head of the constellation Orion The Hunter. Recently, the Spitzer Space Telescope project identified this area as a star-birthing region with numerous low mass stars and brown dwarfs.


  • Date & Location:  November 25 and December 1, 2011 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind, average temperature both nights 35F

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with average transparency, but some high clouds near end.

  • SQM-L: Average Start 20.40 both nights.

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor with 0.8x reducer 432mm @ f4.3

  • Filter:  Astronomic  EOS clip-in CLS-CCD (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  AstroPhysics AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  None - PEM active

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500D) Hap Griffin Modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  31 x 6 min 11/25 - 39 x 8 min 12/1 @ ISO800 total 498 minutes (8hrs - 18min)

  • Calibration Frames:  none...near freezing

  • Processing:  Images Plus 3.82, PS CS4, Noise Ninja, GradientXTerminator, NIK 

  • Comments:  Since I was not auto guiding, shorter exposure may helped improve star eccentricity.



Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors