Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

     LDN 1235 -  Dark Shark Nebula

Photoluminescence - Dark Nebula Complex

Reflection Nebula



LDN 1235 Lynds Dark Nebula is actually located in the upper left corner of the image, but the vast nebula complex that stretches throughout this image bears an uncanny resemblance to a shark, thus it is commonly referred to as the "Dark Shark Nebula".  However it is also known as the "Howling Wolf Nebula", so feel free to take your pick.  

Dark nebula are opaque clouds of dust and gas in space that block the light of stars behind them. But some of the faint dust in the area of LDN 1235 may also be visible because the dust is glowing from photoluminescence.. This dust glows from the interstellar radiation field when dust particles are hit by high energy radiation.  LDN1235 was determined to be about 672 light years away from Earth.

Also shown in this image are two reflection nebulae, van den Bergh 149 (vdB 149) and vdB 150. These blue nebulae can be seen on the left side of the Dark Shark at top and bottom

North is up in this image.


  • Date & Location:  September 14/15/16, 2015 - StarEffects Observatory, Bernville. PA

  • Weather:  Calm winds, average temp of 56F all three nights.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with Above Average Transparency. 

  • SQM-L:  Start to Finish  NI 20:37 - 20:62, N2 20:49-20:61, N3 20.38-20:57

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

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

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  TeleVue TV60is - Orion Star Shoot AG - 5 second exp - good graph

  • Camera:  Canon 6DH Hutech Full Frame Modified UV/IR - DSLR

  • Exposure:  N1-32 x 8min, N2-36-8min, N3-29-10min ISO800  (total 13hours 46 minutes)

  • Calibration Frames:  Darks, Bias 50F - 10 Flats Used acquired w/Alnitak Flat Man

  • Processing:    Images Plus 5.75a, PS CS6, DSLR-LLRGB, NIK filter tools 

  • Comments:  All three nights offered excellent sky conditions for my area which was needed for this very faint object.  The final image required extensive photo processing to bring out the faint nebula details, first working in Luminance (B/W) only and then later in RGB color.  

Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors