Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

IC 1805 Heart Nebula



The Heart Nebula is an emission nebula catalogued as IC1805 and is located in the constellation of Cassiopeia.  At a distance of 6,000 light years, this cloud of energized hydrogen gas glows red in the shape of a heart.  A loose open cluster of young stars known as Mel 15 lies at the center of IC 1805 and another open cluster NGC 1027 can be seen near the upper left corner of this image.  The bright knot of dense nebulosity located to the right of the "heart" is known as NGC 896.  The image above covers approximately a 3 x 2 degree area of sky and was cropped slightly from its original image scale.  


  • Date & Location:  December 13th/14th, 2012 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm, Temperature range 26F to 22F.  Last Dew point reading was 19F

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with  average transparency. 

  • SQM-L:  20.20 start - 20.52 finish.

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor @ 432mm f4.3 with 0.8x focal reducer

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

  • Mount:  AstroPhysics AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  Orion SSAG @5 seconds

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500d) Hap Griffin modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  23 - 8 minute subs  @ ISO800 -  (184 minutes) 3 hours 4 minutes total exposure time.

  • Calibration Frames:  No Darks or Bias Used - Sub Freezing Temperatures

  • Processing:  Images Plus 4.50b, PS CS6, GradientXTerminator, NIK filter tools 

  • Comments:  First light image after collimation of NP101is optics.   


For comparison, my previous image below reveals less image detail since it was taken

with a shorter focal length scope, shorter exposure times, and less aggressive processing.



  • Date & Location:  November 18, 2009 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind, 43F.

  • 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:  48 min (4 x 7 min, 2 x 6 min, 2 x 4min) @ ISO 800, RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  In camera dark frame subtraction

  • Processing:  Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, NIK 

  • Comments:  This image was captured as the nebula approached the meridian and was one of my first attempts at using an auto guider.  



Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors