Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

NGC 6611- M16 Eagle Nebula



Within the Eagle Nebula (IC 4703), a billowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust  has entered an active phase of star formation.  Open star cluster M16 (NGC 6611) is emerging in the upper right corner of this great gaseous and dusty cloud.  Ultraviolet radiation from these young and massive hot stars excite the hydrogen gas in the surrounding Eagle Nebula to shine by red emission light.  The nebula continues to form new stars near the dark central area of condensation, which Hubble photographers have called "The Pillars of Creation".  The Eagle Nebula and M16 reside at 7,000 light-years distance from Earth. 


  • Date & Location:  August  3/4, 2013  - StarEffects Observatory, Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm, 65F/63Dp 10:35pm - 62F/Dp61 12:20am

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear to Patchy Clouds with average transparency. 

  • SQM-L:  20:40 start - 20:49 end

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor w/TeleVue Field Flattener = 540mm @ f5.4

  • Filter:  IDAS-LPS 48mm (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  Orion SSAG @ 5 second exposures w/TeleVue TV60is

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

  • Exposure:  88 min (16 x 5.5 minute subs) @ ISO 800 RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  12-10min Darks, 12 Bias, 12 Field Flats w/Alnitak Flat Man - All Custom White Balance

  • Processing:  Images Plus 4.50b, PS CS6, NIK filters

  • Comments:  I last imaged the Lagoon three years ago (see below) and wished to try my hand at it again utilizing some additional exposure time, slightly longer focal length (540mm vs 432mm), the addition of field flats, and somewhat better processing techniques. This upper image shows a rather wide-field image frame as opposed to the cropped view below. 

Comparison below from previous imaging session in 2010




  • Date & Location:  August 28 & 29, 2010  - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm, 61F & 67F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with average transparency. 

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

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

  • Mount:  Losmandy G-11 equatorial with Gemini V4

  • Guiding:  Orion Solitaire w/TeleVue TV60is

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

  • Exposure:  45 min (3 x 5min and 6 x 5 min) @ ISO 800 RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  In Camera Dark Noise Reduction

  • Processing:  Images Plus 3.82b, Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, NIK

  • Comments:  The above image is a 100% crop of the main nebula & "Pillars of Creation". Somehow at this size and resolution those pillars always remind me of "Godzilla!"


Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors