Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

NGC 6946 Fireworks Galaxy - Cepheus

NGC 6939 Open Cluster - Coma Berenices



The Fireworks Galaxy resides at a distance of 19 million light-years, compared to only a few thousand light years for the rich open cluster NGC 6939.  Discovered by William Herschel in 1798, NGC 6946 is called the "Fireworks Galaxy" because so many supernovae have been spotted there.  The Galaxy is 40,000 light-years across and is a nearly face-on SAB-type spiral galaxy.  The 9.6 magnitude Galaxy is rather a small and distant target for a small telescope, but can be framed nicely with the star cluster in this wide field image. 


  • Date & Location:  September 29/30, 2011 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind - 58F start - 53F finish

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with average transparency. 

  • SQM-L:  20.23 start - 20.44 finish

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor with 0.8x field reducer (f4.3)

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

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  None - PEM active

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

  • Exposure:  200 min (25 x 8 min) @ ISO 800, RAW - (total 3 hours - 20 minutes)

  • Calibration Frames:  9 Darks & 9 Bias frames

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

  • Comments:  Wide field image was slightly cropped to better showcase both the galaxy and open star cluster. 



Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors