Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

Lower's Nebula


 Emission Nebula



SH2-261, or Lower's Nebula, is a Hydrogen Alpha emission Nebula located in the upper area of Orion, near the Gemini constellation. The nebula covers about the same apparent area in the sky as a full Moon.  It is named the Lower's nebula because it appears on a photographic plate taken by the father-and-son team of Harold and Charles Lower in 1939, both were amateur astronomers.  Lower's is a cloud of hydrogen that is producing new stars at its core about 3000 light years distant in the constellation Orion.

The bright blue star in the upper left corner of the photo is 69 Ori, a +4.96 magnitude blue-white main sequence star with a diameter about four times larger than our sun.  It is located about 530 light-years from Earth. 


  • Date & Location:  Jan 29/30 & Feb 28, 2014

  • Weather:  NI Light Breeze - Average Temp 8F, N2 Calm - Average Temp 10F

  • Sky Conditions:  Both night clear with snow cover, average to below average transparency

  • SQM-L:  N1: 19.80 - 20.12  N2: - 19.:90 - 20.10

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

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

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

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

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

  • Exposure:  265 min (55 x 8 minute subs = 4hrs-25min total) @ ISO 1600 RAW using Custom White Balance

  • Calibration Frames:  10 Field Flats w/Alnitak Flat Man - All Custom White Balance - No Darks/Bias

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

  • Comments:   A bright snow pack added to the local light pollution resulting in lower than normal SQM dark sky readings for this time of the year.  Frigid temperatures drained batteries quickly and made for still wiring. 


Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors