Steve Cannistra needs no introduction as one of the very best amateur deep-sky imagers on the planet – and he holds down a responsible day job too 🙂  When I first started imaging it was Steve’s name and web site that I first chanced upon, I discovered Rob Gendler quite a while later.  Steve’s work has always highly impressed me (especially as he did a lot of great stuff with the little Sky 90 refractor) – but this fantastic image of the supernova remnant CTB1 in Cassiopeia really does it for me – especially as this is my Nemesis object.  My light pollution makes this faint one right at the limits of what I can capture with the IDAS filter and RGB one-shot colour camera, and I have a bunch of very unimpressive faint red smoke rings to prove it.  However – I have far from given up on this object and I will return to it with the mini-WASP array and some narrowband H-alpha filtering – that’ll get the little blighter!

However, as you can see, Steve managed to get a great image of the little blighter quite a while back, and it is one of the best images of this object that I have seen.  It’s an interesting story how I came across CTB1 in the first place.  There was an article in the “Practical Astronomer” magazine called “Six little clusters all in a row” which described a bunch of open clusters in Cassiopeia lying close together that could be seen in the field of view of a low-powered scope.  But what was much more interesting than the clusters that were being discussed was the “half a smoke ring” right at the top of the black and white image that was CTB1.  It just struck a chord – I thought this was one of the best deep-space objects I’d ever seen – and I wanted to get a great image of it.  That’s probably why it has fought back at me so long and hard 🙂

Well Steve beat it, and here are the details to go with his image:
Date:  Ha- September 19, 2008;  RGB- September 23, 2008
Scope:  Takahashi FSQ106 at f5 on the Takahashi NJP Mount
Autoguider:  SBIG ST-402 with 60mm guidescope, focal length 227mm
Camera:  STL11K -20C
Filters:  Baader RGB filter set; Baader 7nm Ha filter, all 50.8mm unmounted
Exposures:  Ha 360′; R 60′; G 60′; B 90′.  Total exposure 9.5 hours
Post-processing:  Calibrated, aligned, and Sigma Clip combined in Maxim, followed by DDP in ImagesPlus (IP).  Further processing in Photoshop CS (16 bit)

You can see a higher resolution image on Steve’s site here.

Thank you for sharing a great deep-sky image with us Steve!

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One Response to “Deep-Sky Image of the Week – Astrophotographer Steve Cannistra”
  1. budguinn says:

    Congrats Steve….lovely picture….I also enjoyed your talk this weekend at the AIC.

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