Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

 NGC 6357 - Lobster Nebula

Emission Nebula



NGC 6357, aka the Lobster Nebula, contains many proto-stars shielded by dark disks of gas, and young stars wrapped in expanding "cocoons" or expanding ionized gases surrounding these small stars.  These ionized gases are what give the nebula is distinctive red color.

At more than a degree and a half in size, NGC 6357 is located just 2 degrees north-northeast of NGC 6334, the Cat's Paw Nebula.

The star cluster Pismis 24 is located inside of NGC 6357. Although most of it is obscured by dust, it can be seen as a small group of yellow stars just below the brightest part of the nebula. This cluster contains some of our galaxy's brightest and most massive stars, some with a mass of more than 100 times that of our Sun.

North is to the top  in this image.


  • Date & Location:  July 9/10, 2016 - StarEffects Observatory, Bernville. PA

  • Weather:  Light breeze, average temp of 60F

  • Sky Conditions:  Patchy Cirrus clouds with Average Transparency. 

  • SQM-L:  Start to Finish 20:26 - 20:45

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is 540mm w/Field Flattener @ f5.4

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

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  TeleVue TV60is - Orion Star Shoot AG - 5 second exp - fair/good graph

  • Camera:  Canon TIi Astro Modified UV/IR DSLR

  • Exposure:  23 x 4 min ISO800  (total 1 hour 32 min)

  • Calibration Frames:  Darks, Bias 60F - 10 Flats acquired w/Alnitak Flat Man

  • Processing:    Images Plus 5.75a including Feature Mask, PS CS6, GradientXTerminator, NIK filter tools 

  • Comments:  Another DSO that is very low to my horizon, and like the Cat's Paw needed to have my southern observatory wall dropped down.  Given the extra light pollution at this low elevation along with the setting moon I was not able reveal much of the dusty background that resides in this region, but overall pleased with the nebula itself. 

Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors