Some Images taken with DSLR cameras.

Images last updated: 2008/06/08

Here are a some images taken with my Canon 350 DSLR, with the occasional image from other DSLRs that I've been able to borrow. The early 350D images are before the camera's in-built cut-off filter was replaced with the Baader H-alpha pass filter. These are indicated with a green background in the details column. This becomes red for a modified camera. The newest images are at the top of the table.

The Canon DSLR offers one-shot colour imaging and is well suited to the brighter objects in the sky. A cooled CCD will do a better job, but they are more expensive and generally have smaller chips - at least reasonably priced ones do. DSLRs have one other advantage - just like film, they don't bleed. This means your images aren't compromised by the bleeding streaks from the bright stars in the field. Alas, their colour balance isn't perfect. In most cameras I've seen, the [OIII] line falls in the blue channel instead of both the blue and green channels (visually it is an awkward blue-green colour often described as teal) which causes some objects to not be quite the right shade. Despite that, it's better than film as it has no reciprocity failure.

The images have been reduced for display (usually considerably - a 350D frame is 3456×2304 pixels, while a 5D frame is 4368×2912 pixels) - but will still be fairly large. Many of the images are stacks of multiple images, usually processed in Photoshop. I thank Alan Dyer who showed me the basics and gave me a lot of advice before I embarked on the fun world of DSLR astrophotography.

NGC 6302 3×5 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/7·3
Another delicious planetary - the bug. Small, but interesting - a bi-polar.
NGC 5189 4×10 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/7·3
An amazing planetary nebula. One of my favourites, not least beacuse it was the reason I found a comet. A little bit of trailing evident in these 10 minute unguided exposures.
M5 3×5 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/7·3
A less northern globular. Some look the same, others don't.
M3 3×5 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/7·3
A northern globular.
NGC3293 & NGC3324 5×2 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/5·6
That beautiful open cluster and nebulosity. I like this part of the sky.
IC 2944/8 6×5 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/5·6
It's that bat again - anybody would think I like it. Or perhaps I'm trying to find the bat in it (or the running chicken, for that matter).
NGC 4945 9×5 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/7·3
Another great galaxy grouping in Centaurus. There's some dust up there making the whole field slightly yellow (at least de-reddened).
M83 3×10 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/7·3
A most beautiful face-on spiral.
M20 4×5 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/7·3
M20 - a lovely combination of reflection and emission nebulae.
NGC 5139
Omega Cen
5×2 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/7·3
And while I was at it, here it is without the focal reducer.
NGC 5139
Omega Cen
3×5 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/5·6
What a delicious object - both visually and in an image.
NGC 5128 3×5 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/5·6
This is a crop from the full frame. First use of the f5·6 super-reducer. Not bad for a 6-inch telescope.
Eta Carina 3×5 minutes
ISO800
Takahashi TOA150 f/7·3
New telescope = same old objects, but with a different scale. It's still a nice object.
Vela/Gum nebula 4×10 minutes
ISO800
Canon 24mm @f/4
Wide angle shot of Vela, showing the huge Gum nebula complex - a near-by SNR. The image was enhanced a little by replacing the red channel with a separate image (3×10 minutes) taken through an RG630 filter placed over the lens.
M84-6-7 etc. 4×10 minutes
ISO800
FSQ-106N
Virgo galaxies. This crop show the many galaxies visible in this region.
RCW 32/33 4×10 minutes
ISO800
FSQ-106N
This came out surprisingly well considering how faint it is. With the bigger field of the WO SD 66 you can begin to see the even bigger (and fainter) nebulosity of RCW 27 (on the right).
IC2944-8 4×10 minutes
ISO800
FSQ-106N
You can get it all in with the FSQ. Or can you? This one was taken at the same time with another 350D mounted on my little William Optics SD66 + RC3 and shows an even bigger field and more nebulosity (but way too many stars in the milky way now).
NGC 3572 3×15 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
A faint one this. Comes out beautifully in H-alpha with the ST-10, and reasonably well in a tri-colour with the same equipment, but a bit lost with the DSLR.
NGC 3199 4×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
NGC 3199 (again). I've suppressed the fainter nebulosity to show the "ear" a bit more.
NGC 4038-9 6×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
I had no idea that the "antennae" were so easily captured. Included in the top-left is the fine galaxy NGC 4027. This is a close-up of the galaxies.
Galactic bulge 4×5 minutes
ISO800
Canon 16-35mm lens @16mm f/4
I must get one of these lenses - it does a great job showing off the large-scale structures in our galaxy.
"The Emu" 3×3 minutes
ISO800
Canon 16-35mm lens @16mm f/4
The Australian aboriginal "constellation" of the Emu, which is made from the dark lanes. Once you know that the Coal Sack forms the head/beak, the rest become obvious. (That's a tree down the bottom-right - I did say it was rising.)
Southern Cross and Musca 3×10 minutes
ISO800
Canon 50mm@f/4
The iconic southern cross and Musca, replete with dark nebula.
NGC 3576 etc. 3×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
The star-crowded region around NGC 3576/9 and NGC 3603, and showing up the dark nebula between them and NGC 3590. I love the difference in colour between the 2 nebulae.
M83 5×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
M83. What more need I say. A beautiful face-on spiral. This is a crop from the full frame.
M59 M60 3×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
A small part of the Virgo galaxy cluster around M59 and M60. Lots of galaxies, especially if you enlarge the centre.
M104 5×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
The well-known edge-on galaxy also known as the "sombrero". A close-up is here. Lots of small, faint galaxies can be seen in the field.
IC 2220 4×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
The strange refelction nebula IC 2220 around the 7th magnitude K5 variable star known as V431 Car. This is a crop of the centre of the frame. Such a bright star would cause saturation problems for a normal CCD camera, but is no problem for the DSLR.
M46 + NGC2438 3×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
The open cluster M46, with the beautiful superposition of the planetary nebula NGC 2438. A close-up view of this area is shown here. What I didn't know is that there is another planetary in the field. It's listed as 15th magnitude and called PKS 231.4+04.3. You can see it as a small red spot on the right-hand edge of the full frame. I first thought it was a ghost of the 5th magnitude K0 star on the left, but it wasn't quite in the right place. Here is a crop of the region around the PN.
Southern milky way 3×10 minutes
ISO800
24mm Canon f/2·8 @f/4
The best region in the whole sky. Beats Orion. Count the NGC objects - even at this scale. Another wall hanging.
Part of Vela SNR 3×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
On to some quite faint stuff now. Turns out nicely. Must do a mosaic of this area one night (or perhaps a week!).
Middle of LMC 3×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
I just wondered what the centre of the "bar" of the LMC would look like. Much like this - with lots of stars and some nebulosity.
NGC 3132 4×1 minute
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
Another bright PN. Very different from the one below. Same resampling and cropping.
NGC3242 4×30 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
A bright one this one. Any longer than 30 seconds and the centre saturates. Did some resampling before assembling this image from a portion of the frame. I've had the pleasure of viewing this object in a BIG telescope - and it looks much like this - like a big eye looking at you (and not at all like a ghost of Jupiter)
M1 4×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
Pushing towards the northern horizon again for this one. This is a crop from the full frame. Came out nicely - especially given how low in the sky it is (and the very annoying feature of 2 of the 4 frames were spoilt with satellite trails)
NGC 2899 & IC 2488 3×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
I like trying to get 2 different types of object in one image. This one looked like it might be good on the star chart, but the open cluster (IC2488) is a bit lost amongst the stars of Vela, above the 3rd magnitude K5III variable star N Vel. But the planetary (NGC 2899) came out very nicely - and gave me an idea of trying some more PN.
NGC 3293 & NGC 3324 4×5 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
I thought I'd try this field again, but with a bigger field and longer exposures. Not bad, but I think I prefer my first try with the 30cm.
Leo triplet 4×600 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
The galaxies M65, M66 & NGC 3628 - all in one field. Yet again I'm amazed at how much detail comes out with the DSLR.
Jewelbox + Beta Cru 5×60 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
A beautiful field - and another one for the wall.
NGC 2818 5×60 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
Another alignment of an open cluster and planetary nebula.
NGC 2359 (Thor's helmet) 5×600 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
A crop from the full image. I really don't like the colour that DSLRs show [OIII] emission objects as. Too blue.
Rosette 4×600 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
These northern objects are nice. Must do some more of them.
NGC 2020 region 4×600 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
I can't resist this field either. Not sure if this one is as good as the one below taken with the FLT110.
M42 4×(5min+1min+10sec)
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
A nice blend of 4 each of 5 minute, 1 minute and 10 second exposures. I like it. Another one for the wall, I think. Again, just the 5 minute one looks great, but is saturated in the bright parts.
Horsehead 3×600 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
Yes - with every telescope I own. I've printed this one for my wall, I like it so much.
NGC 3199 2×600 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
Things sometimes go wrong. This was supposed to be 4×10 minutes, but one exposure just didn't happen (some failure with the shutter control cable, I guess) and the last one was trailed because it ran into the stops on the Paramount just past the meridian. So, only 2 frames on God's Ear (as my friend John calls it).
NGC 2175 4×600 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
Heading to the north end of Orion for this uninspiring patch of nebulosity. It was worth a try.
IC 2944/8 (Caldwell 100) 4×600 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
Next to Lambda Cen. I'm amazed at how well this comes out with a DSLR. Many years ago I struggled to make an image of this object with the same telescope and Cookbook CCD. Zooming closer in shows the tiny Bok globules in this crop.
Cone nebula 4×600 seconds
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
Heading north now in search of new targets. I've never imaged this region - too low for me - but I gave it a try. Quite nice.
M78 2×10 minutes
ISO800
20cm f/4·5 + Baader CC
Cut short by clouds rolling in. Needs more exposures - many more. The first shot with my old 20cm f/4·5 + Baader coma corrector and the 350D. I haven't used this telescope for ages, but it was originally designed for 35mm photography and works well. More to come, I think.
NGC 5128 5×2 minutes
ISO800
30cm f/5 + Baader CC
I'm amazed at what such short exposures can do on bright objects.
Omega Cen (NGC 5139) 5×60 seconds
ISO800
30cm f/5 + Baader CC
It just fills the field with stars - even in 1 minute exposures.
NGC 3532 5×60 seconds
ISO800
30cm f/5 + Baader CC
Another colourful open cluster. They start to look the same after a while, but what else can you do with a moon in the sky.
NGC 3293 & NGC 3324 5×120 seconds
ISO800
30cm f/5 + Baader CC
An open cluster (NGC 3293) plus bonus nebulosity (NGC 3324). I really love this image. It was one of my absolute favourites as soon as the first frame came on the screen from the camera.
NGC 2516 2×60 seconds
ISO800
30cm f/5 + Baader CC
Another bright southern open cluster.
M41 3×60 seconds
ISO800
30cm f/5 + Baader CC
What can one do when there's a bright moon in the sky. Open clusters. I think it looked even better while I was focusing at the start of the session.
Tarantula up close 5×60 seconds
ISO800
30cm f/5 + Baader CC
And while I was at it, I did the Tarantula region. This is a crop from the full frame showing the cluster as well as the nebula.
M42 6×60 seconds
ISO800
30cm f/5 + Baader CC
A blend of 6, 1 minute exposures and 4, 10 second (ISO 400) exposures. The bright trapezium region is shown here at full resolution. I like it. The colours aren't quite right, but I still like it. You do loose a bit of the fainter material by blending the way I've done, but I think it looks more realistic than some of the "high dynamic range" processes that I've seen. Here's just the longer (1 minute!) exposures with the bright trapezium region burnt out. It's got more "punch", but not quite as nice, I think.
Horsehead 3×120 seconds
ISO800
30cm f/5 + Baader CC
Again. Yes I know. But I like it. The bright reflection nebula (NGC 2023) below-left of the horsehead stands out well. I've not "pumped" the background nebulosity like many do (making for an overly garish red scene) - this is a faint object, after all.
Eta Carina nebula 4×60 seconds
ISO800
30cm f/5 + Baader CC
It's amazing what a bit more aperture and image scale will show. My home-made 30cm f/5 Newtonian with the Baader coma corrector gives a great field.
Orion region 3×10 minutes
ISO800
24mm f/4
Now with the modified camera. Compare it to this shot before the camera was modified to let the H-alpha through. The lumpy bits in the bottom right are trees - I was rushed to take this and I had to let the moon set first, so it got a bit low before I'd finished.
NGC 2020 region in LMC 4×10 minutess
ISO800
WO FLT110 + Flattener
Another fabulous field in the LMC, again on my brother's 350D (which is just like mine).
Tarantula (LMC) 4×5 minutess
ISO800
WO FLT110 + Flattener
What a beautiful field! Taken with my brother's 350D - just to show him how it works.
IC 2177 3×10 minutes
ISO800
FSQ-106N
A very big object that just doesn't quite fit into the field of view. Lots of dusty detail visable.
Eta Carina 4×5 minutes
ISO800
FSQ-106N
Once more with feeling - or in this case, better H-alpha response. Compare it to this one taken before the filter mod.
M46 & M47 4×5 minutes
ISO800
WO FLT110 + RC3
I like this combination. The little planetary (NGC 2438) and the 2 contrasting open clusters - all in one image.
M42 and surrounds 5×60 seconds + 4×5 minutes
ISO800
WO Megrez 110 + RC2
A combination of long and short exposures to try to bring out a more visual feel to the image.
Horsehead 5×5 minutes
ISO800
WO Megrez 110 + RC2
More testing with the camera and telescope combination.
Rosette Nebula 4×10 minutes
ISO800
WO Megrez 110 + RC2
Testing out the William Optics Megrez 110 and the older Reducer/Corrector 2, with my newly modified Canon 350D. At last - better H-alpha response. Seems to work well.
Comet Holmes 2007/11/13 5×120 seconds
ISO800
WO Megrez 90 + RC3
I finally worked out how to image an object 6 degrees above the northern horizon - like this. 2 minute exposures to minimise trailing of the comet (which would move about half a pixel in this time). The 6th frame was ruined as the comet had gone behind a tree on my horizon.
Helix nebula 16×120 seconds
ISO800
30cm F/5 + Baader coma Corrector
Tried the 30cm with coma corrector and the 5D. Couldn't guide and the longer focal length is much more critical, so only 2 minute sub-exposures. Not too bad. The extended sensitivity helps. An earlier attempt with my unmodified 350D didn't show very much.
Orion and surrounds 6×300 seconds
ISO400
Canon 24mm F/2.8
All of Orion and some of the surrounding areas. Some of the H-alpha nebulosity shows, but only weakly - e.g. Barnard's Loop, Rosette, etc. Really needs a modified camera. At least the lens works well.
LMC 6×300 seconds
ISO640
WO SD66 + RC3
Almost all the LMC in this 5D frame with the WO SD66 + reducer image. You can see the vignetting around the corners due to the T-thread adapter used.
Horsehead 9×300 seconds
ISO800
FSQ-106N
5D + FSQ - wonderful. Tried the higher ISO setting this time. Still seems to be pretty low noise.
M45 2×600 seconds
ISO400
FSQ-106N
The 5D again - this time on the Pleiades.
NGC 2070 region in LMC 4×300 seconds
ISO400
FSQ-106N
A borrowed modified Canon 5D with an even bigger field. A goodly portion of the LMC centred on the Tarantula (NGC 2070). The full image is superb.
NGC 253 + NGC 288 3×600 seconds
ISO400
FSQ-106N
The field of view of the combination of the FSQ and 350D is so big that I can get both NGC 253 and NGC 288 into one image. Cool! A near-by globular cluster and a near-by glaxay.
Antares, 2 globulars and some dust 3×600 seconds
ISO400
WO FLT-110 + RC3
Antares, M4 and NGC 6144, and lots of dust. Another shot that's very difficult beacuse of the very bright star - but easy with a DSLR.
Total Lunar eclipse 2007/08/28 10 seconds
ISO100
FSQ-106
The lunar eclipse of 2007/08/28 with my Canon 350D DSLR. Lots of pictures this night, and with many telescopes. There were some clouds around during the early stages. This one shows a convenient gap in the clouds; William Optics FLT-110 + FLT flattener, ISO 200, 1 second. This is just after totality began, still showing a significant brightness gradient across the moon; William Optics FLT-110 + FLT flattener, ISO 200, 4 second2. A montage of several shots showing the outline of the Earth's shadow. Another montage on a background of stars from a longer exposure.
Zodiacal light 60-second trail
ISO800
24mm f/2.8
the evening zodiacal light, another difficult to image phenomenon.
M24 region 3×10 minutes
ISO800
WO M90 + RC3
Another dusty region, this one around M24, taken with my William Optics Megrez 90 and the newly released reducer/corrector III.
Barnard 72 - the Snake nebula 3×10 minutes
ISO800
WO M90 + RC3
Dusty regions are good to image with the still unmodified Canon 350D. There's lots of Barnard dark regions here. Note the globular cluster NGC 6325 on the right. Taken with my William Optics Megrez 90 and the newly released reducer/corrector III. Seems to work well.
Milky Way 800 seconds
ISO400
24mm f/2.8
Another go at the milky way bulge - this time with a Canon 24mm f/2.8 lens.
Southern Cross region 3×5 minutes
ISO400
18-200mm @33mm f/4.5
Taken with a Sigma 18-200mm zoom lens at 33mm and f/4.5 (wide open at this focal length). The best region in the sky - full of fascinating objects both bright and faint. Many show up well despite the still unmodified camera.
Corona Australis region 3×20 minutes
ISO400
FSQ-106
One of my favourite regions - the dusty end of Corona Australis. Dust, both dark and reflecting and a globular cluster (NGC 6723).
Southern star snapshot 30-second trail
ISO1600
28mm f/2.5
A quick tripod-mounted shot looking south from my observatory back towards the house. You can see the 2 Magellanic Clouds, lots of stars, a satellite trail and my house with lots of lights on. The wiggly white line at bottom left is my daughter running down to tell me that I'm late for dinner - again. I am amazed at how sensitive, and noise-free this image is.
Earthshine on the crescent moon 30 seconds
ISO100
FSQ-106 + extender-Q
The earthshine refelected off the Moon has always been hard to capture well due to the very bright sunlit portion also visible.
Venus, Saturn, crescent Moon and Regulus 6-second trail
ISO100
28mm f/2.5
An evening vista over the top of my dome. 2007 July 17.
NGC 4945 2×20 minutes
ISO400
FSQ-106
A little harder, so 2 longer exposures. Nice detail in the galaxy and several fainter galaxies visible. No bleeding stripes from the bright stars - a bonus with DSLR imaging, when you're used to NABG CCDs.
Omega Centauri single 10 minutes
ISO400
FSQ-106
A big, bright globular cluster in a field of stars. Very nice. This is the sort of fun thing to knock off quickly with the DSLR. Instant gratification.
Eta Carinae nebula single 10 minutes
ISO400
FSQ-106
Up to this point I'd been saying away from the usual H-alpha emission nebulae as the camera hadn't been modified. This is bright, so I thought I'd see how it came out. Not too bad, but difficult to get the colour just right. I'll do it again once the camera is modified.
Milky Way mosaic 3×10 minutes
28mm f/2.5
ISO400
The central bulge of the milky way. A very quickly assmbled 2-frame mosaic (lots of overlap) with a 28mm f/2.5 Vivitar lens. Lots of stars and some of the brighter nebulae show up. Jupiter is the bright object in the top left, in Scorpius. The camera is unmodified, but I was impressed how well it works.
M7 region single 5 minutes
ISO100
FSQ-106
The region around M7. A bright, but sparse open cluster in a rich milky way.
Comet McNaught + moon + Venus
Comet McNaught
2 and 16 seconds
ISO100
HP 850 camera
Not with a DSLR, but the reason I got into them. I had nothing that I could get a decent image of this superb comet. This was the best that an "ordinary" digital camera could do. Acceptable, but not great.

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Page last updated 2008/04/26
Steven Lee