Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

IC 2118 Witch Head Nebula




The faint Witch Head Nebula is a reflection nebula located 1,000 light years distant.  It is composed of small dust grains reflecting blue light from the nearby brilliant star Rigel which locates the right "foot" of Orion (Rigel is not visible in photo above).  If you use your imagination you should be able to make out the large chin, open mouth and pointed nose of a wicked witch.  Technically, this nebula is located in the constellation of Eridanus.  The faint streak of an Leonid meteor can be seen streaking through the wicked witch's chin. 


  • Date & Location:  November 19, 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:  47 min (5 x 8 min, 1 x 7 min) @ ISO 800, RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  In camera dark frame subtraction

  • Processing:  Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, NIK 

  • Comments:  Photographed from my back yard (5.5 limiting magnitude) on a night with very good transparency.  Unfortunately distant light domes begin to encroach the region of the sky where this very faint object is located and my 8 minute exposures  may have been overwhelmed with light pollution, thus washing out the signal.  I'd like to try this one again either under very dark skies or with a longer series of shorter light frame subs. 



Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors