What is narrow band imaging?

Narrow band imaging refers to imaging using filters that only let through a very narrow range of the light spectrum, often 0.07nm or less. They effectively block all other light frequencies. The spectral width of these filters therefore blocks out a lot of light pollution – light from streetlights in towns and cities that reflects off particles in the atmosphere and often ‘drowns out’ the light signal on non-filtered cameras by swamping the sensor with unwanted signal. With narrow band filters, imaging from these areas becomes a lot more productive on certain types of deep sky objects, revealing a lot more detail. Continue reading

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Attempt at NGC 6888 (Crescent Nebula)

NGC 6888 - the Crescent Nebula in Ha.

Last Sunday I had a rare opening in the UK’s rather wet summer weather so I set up my new kit and sequenced a night on NGC 6888; the Crescent Nebula. We are just past the summer solstice here in the UK and, given my rather northerly latitude of over 51N, it isn’t dark until nearly 11.30pm and it starts to lighten around 2.30am so there is a small margin for setting up and imaging. Nevertheless, I have been experimenting recently with automating everything via Sequence Generator Pro as I can speed up acquiring data by using plate solving rather than two or three star alignment. Continue reading

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Sharpcap

There are a number of cost effective imaging software packages available and, in my opinion, Sharpcap is one of the best. The software is regularly updated and Robin, the developer, is continually adding new features to widen the scope (no pun intended) of the package.

Sharpcap is primarily an imaging solution that allows you to capture images from a wide range of cameras using both ASCOM or, if available, native drivers. You can capture as stills or video which makes it ideal for both DSO and planetary imaging, and a recent feature allows for real-time stacking which opens up the world of video astronomy should that be what you are interested in. Continue reading

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