While browsing through my old raw photographs, I stumbled upon an unnoticed hint of the flame nebula. I take these photographs to check if I’ve got everything on frame as I want it to. At the time, I must have been looking with something else than my eyes, because the flame nebula was right there!
So when I had the chance, I aimed my telescope towards the same region. Focusing took a long time as the air was quite turbulent at the moment and venting chimneys also seemed to complicate things. When I was somewhat satisfied, I took about 20 30second frames. After stacking and post processing, I obtained the following image which shows both the Flame Nebula and a hint of the Horsehead Nebula.
The Horsehead Nebula is actually a black gas cloud. It is shaped like a horse’s head and obstructs light coming from the red nebula in the background. The shape of a horse’s head is not visible in this photo, but you can see a black filament hanging over the red region.
Black nebulae are actually very common and often play a major role in the appearance of more colorful nebulae. Take the yellow Flame Nebula for example. Is mainly just a yellow/orangy gas cloud, but it gets its flame-like appearance from the black nebulae in front of it.
After nebulae, galaxies are probably the coolest targets to photograph. I have given the galaxies denoted by M51 and M101 a try a while ago, when I was shooting 0.8 second frames. Now that I can take 30 second images without trailing, I decided to give the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) another go. I shot just 10 frames. Which is not a lot, considering that M51 was very low near the horizon with a very turbulent atmosphere. But as I could just barely make out the galaxy in a single frame, I wanted to see what I could image rather than produce the highest quality image. The result is a quite noisy image, because I had to really crank contrast up to the max. Soon I will shoot more frames of M51, when it is higher in the sky and I can use my light pollution filter again.