Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

vdb 133 Reflection Nebula

Sh2-106 Bipolar Nebula


Mouse over the above image to see the designations of the various objects


vdB 133 (van den Bergh) is a reflection nebula surrounding and lit by 44 Cygni, a 6th magnitude star.  Much whiter than most stars that illuminate reflection nebula. It may be in front of the nebula as the color is about that of the star rather than blue that is usually seen due to scattering from starlight passing through the dust and gas.44 Cygni is listed at about 1600 light-years so that is likely the distance to the nebula as well. The entire image field is full of HII emission that includes Lynds Bright Nebula (LBN) 219 AND 211. 

In the upper right corner of the image is a small hourglass-shaped (bipolar) nebula known as Sharpless 2-106 (Sh2-106).  This is a stellar nursery made up of glowing gas and light-scattering dust. The material shrouds a natal high-mass star thought to be mostly responsible for the hourglass shape of the nebula due to high speed winds blowing more than 200 kilometers/second, ejecting material from deep within the forming star. Research also indicates that many sub-stellar objects are forming within the cloud, which may someday create a cluster of 50 to 150 stars.

Sh2-106 (Sharpless catalog) lies about 2,000 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Cygnus. It measures about 2 light-years long by 0.5 light-year across. It is thought that its central star could be up to 15 times the mass of our Sun. The star's formation likely began no more than 100,000 years ago, and eventually its light will break free of the enveloping cloud as it begins the relatively short life of a massive star.


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

  • Weather:  Calm, Temperature range 60F to 52F

  • Sky Conditions:  Mostly clear with average transparency, with light haze.

  • SQM-L: 20.30 start - 20.50 finish

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor with focal reducer (432mm f4.3)

  • 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:  9 - 10 minute subs @ ISO800 - 90 minutes total exposure

  • Calibration Frames:  Master Dark & Bias 60F

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

  • Comments:  Images Plus removed nearly half the originally acquired images due to poor star grading. Above image is about a 50% crop of the original images. Star focusing was done with 10x Live View  and Canon EOS Utility. 


Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors