Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

IC 405 Flaming Star Nebula

IC 410 Tadpole Nebula

IC 417 Bright Nebula



The Flaming Star Nebula in the upper right of the photo (north is up) is part of a dust cloud illuminated by the "runaway" star AE Aurigae.  This bright star is a transient visitor to this region and is thought to be ejected from the Orion Nebula by the collision of two binary star groups.  Ultraviolet radiation from the star ionizes and excites hydrogen gas and causes the gas cloud to glow red.  A smaller region closer to the star shines blue, due to dust reflecting the starlight.  The Tadpole Nebula is visible in the lower left center of the photo and contains the open cluster NGC 1893 and was discovered long before the surrounding emission nebula IC 410.  The stellar wind from these young stars sculpts some of the nebula's gas and dust into two "tadpoles" at the upper left of the gas cloud...although difficult to see at this scale.   Lastly, IC417 is the small bright nebula seen in the far upper left of the image.


  • Date & Location:  Dec 3/4 & 6/7 - 2018.  - StarEffects Observatory, Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm winds, Average temperature both nights 20-21F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with above average transparency transitioning to average transparency.. 

  • SQM-L:  NI 20:28 start - 20:42 end / N2 20:32 - 20:42

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor 540mm @ f5.4 FF

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

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

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

  • Camera:  Canon 6D Hutech Modified

  • Exposure:  5 hours 10 min (62 x 5 minute subs = 310 min total) @ ISO 800 RAW using Custom White Balance

  • Calibration Frames:  No Darks or Bias (below freezing), 10 Field Flats w/Alnitak Flat Man - All Custom White Balance

  • Processing:  Images Plus 5.75a, PS CS6, NIK filters, RC-astro

  • Comments:  I last photographed this region in 2009, but wished to try a slightly wider view with a different scope and camera, as well as employ newer processing techniques.  The previous image is displayed below for comparison.


Previous Image below was taken on November 21, 2009



  • Date & Location:  November 21, 2009 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind, 34F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with good transparency. 

  • Optics:  TeleVue TV60is Refractor (360mm -f/6) with field flattener.

  • Filter:  Hutech IDAS-LPS (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  Losmandy G-11 equatorial with Gemini V4

  • Guiding:  Orion Solitaire w/TeleVue NP101is

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

  • Exposure:  46 min (1 x 9 min, 4 x 8 min, 1 x 5 min) @ ISO 800, RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  In camera dark frame subtraction

  • Processing:  Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, NIK 

  • Comments:  This image was captured as the constellation Auriga was  crossing the meridian.



Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors