The Dumbbell nebula, also known as AppleCore nebula or Messier 27 or NGC6853 is a popular beginners astrophotography target.
With an apparent magnitude of 7.2 and distance of just 1300 light years us, it generously allows you to capture enough detail with very short exposures.
I recently captured the dumbbell nebula on a 98% moon night, which means that the sky was illuminated with a lot of the moon’s glow along with lots of light pollution.
I started my imaging sequence at about 12:30am since I wanted to ensure it was high enough on the horizon and ran my sequence till 5am, practically till the break of dawn.
My guiding worked great and I captured 3minute subs to gather enough details. Needless to say, I captured a lot of noise, but I had enough subs even after I discarded several subs. I kept my ISO really low given how much light pollution I already have plus the sky being too bright with the moon. That predictably captured lesser detail, but helped in keeping the noise down.
Here is what a single 3minute unprocessed sub frame looked like. You can faintly see the nebula, but good enough to verify framing, guiding and starting your image sequence.
I stacked these on DeepSkyStacker with no darks, flats or bias frames and got this final stacked image.
I then processed it with photoshop to crop, remove noise and bringing out details by doing levels and curves adjustments to arrive at my final image. Considering I had imaged this object long ago, I see a big difference especially with my stars and with structural details.
Here is my final image.
Total Exposure : 210 minutes (3h30)
Light frames : 70 * 180s
ISO : 100
Filters : None
Capture tool : AstroPhotographyTool
Camera : Canon Rebel T3i
Guide Cam : ZWO 120ASIMC-S
Mount : Celestron AVX GEQ
Scope : Explore Scientific ED102CF
I will be sure to pour a lot more data into this object. I am yet to image a single object over multiple nights. I will be sure to, very soon 🙂
You can view more of my images on my instagram page, Backyardstarman.