Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

M1 Crab Nebula




The Crab Nebula was the first entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog, and thus designated as M1.  MI is also known as the Crab Nebula due to its vague resemblance to the horseshoe crab.  M1 is actually a remnant of a supernova from a star that exploded in 1054 C.E., and chronicled by Chinese astronomers as bright enough to be seen in daylight for days!  Type II supernovae occur when a giant star (at least nine times as massive as our sun) runs out of nuclear fuel, begins to collapse, and then rebounds in a huge explosion that can be brighter than an entire galaxy!  The filaments in the Crab Nebula are remnants of the original star's atmosphere, energized by synchrotron radiation from the rapidly spinning neutron star (a pulsar) at its core.


  • Date & Location:  December 17, 2009  - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Light winds, 24F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Scattered Cirrus clouds with above 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:  48 min (6 x 8 min) @ ISO 800 RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  No dark frame subtraction (24F)

  • Processing:  Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, NIK, Noel Carboni Astronomy Tools

  • Comments:  Cirrus clouds interfered with some of the light frames.  This  is a target more suited to a 12" aperture scope or larger in order to reveal the more subtle filament details, but overall I am pleased with my first attempt at capturing and processing this image.


Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors