Our long dark evenings now mean we can start early and easily get a good 6-hours on an object – weather of course permitting. This Month’s object will do well with 6 or more hours total imaging time on it – it is the Gamma Cassiopeia region of Cassiopeia. I am particularly fond of the Cassiopeia region anyway for its incredible star fields – not only is it in a rich Milky Way region of space, but it is also jam-packed full of open clusters and it is very hard to take an image anywhere within Cassiopeia and not find that you’ve bagged an open cluster (or two).
Gamma Cass is special however, in that it has two faint, but very beautiful nebulae associated with it – namely IC59 and IC63. These emission/reflection nebulae almost half-encircle Gamma Cass and the subtle red/blue hues creates a beautiful image with the surrounding Milky Way star field. Being very faint this region needs both long sub-exposure times and a long total exposure time as well. Even with the Hyperstar III at f#2 I used 10-minute sub-exposures, and for a low-noise final image it would be good to get around 60 subs (at least) meaning a time investment around 10-hours or so. Not only do I have a single frame (deep) image of Gamma Cass with IC59 & IC63 – but there is also a 4-frame mosaic of the region awaiting Noel’s time – now that one will be a stunner!! Needless to say with such a faint object you need optimum conditions – and that of course means no Moon.
Put in the time and effort on this one and you will be amply rewarded.
We are fast approaching my favourite imaging Month of the year 🙂 See you all again in December!