Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

Cederblad 214 Bright Nebula (NGC7822)

Pillars of Cepheus



Pillars of gas, dust, and hot young stars fill the center of NGC 7822 which lies at an estimated distance between 2800 and 3000 light years from Earth.  Stars could still be forming inside the pillars by gravitational collapse, but the pillars are slowly eroding away and any forming stars will ultimately be cut off from their reservoir of star forming matter.  The dark towers of the pillars are sculpted by the outflow of stellar winds from the hot young star cluster Berkeley 59 located to the upper right of the above image.

The bright star near the center of the image is +5.69 magnitude HR9104, an orange giant with a luminosity equal to 60.2 suns!  The field of view of the image spans approximately 53 light-years, and the "elephant trunk" pillars average 4 light-years in length with each containing a mass of dust and gas equivalent to dozens of suns.


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

  • Weather:  Breezy > Calm, Average temperature 33F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Mostly clear with above average transparency. 

  • SQM-L:  20:26 start - 20:35 end

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor 540mm @ f5.4 no FF

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

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

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

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

  • Exposure:  232 min (29 x 8 minute subs = 3hrs-52min total) @ ISO 800 RAW using Custom White Balance

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

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

  • Comments:  Another new target for me.  I was intrigued by the "Pillars" all pointing towards the Berkeley star cluster when viewing images that others had captured and was curious to see what I could accomplish myself. 


Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors