NGC 7380 – The Wizard Nebula – in SHO False Colour

I’ve been working on capturing NGC 7380 – The Wizard Nebula – for a couple of weeks now. I imaged a set of Ha subs at the start of July and they suggested that this would be a good candidate for a longer set of narrowband images. The weather has been pretty abysmal so it was only in the last two weeks I managed to get any serious imaging time done.

The Wizard Nebula is a gaseous cloud in the constellation of Cepheus that surrounds the open cluster NGC 7380. It is approximately 7,000 light years away and spans an area of around 100 light years across. It’s common name comes from the image of a sorcerer that appears to be coming out of the sky.

The image was captured using Ha, SII and OIII filters and, in total, comes to just under 6 hours total integration. The breakdown of total subs is:

Ha: 34 x 180 secs
OIII: 61 x 180 secs
SII: 20 x 180 secs

All subs were captured on the QHY163m at unity gain of 139, offset 21 over three nights. They were calibrated in Pixinsight using 25 darks and 25 flats (a new set of flats taken after each imaging session) before being star aligned and stacked into three master lights.

I duplicated the Ha master light as a false luminance light which I processed for greater contrast as well as applying deconvolution to bring out finer details before combining into a LRGB colour image.

I opted for a SHO palette as I felt it gave the nebula a more dramatic “on fire” look. When shooting narrowband, colour palette is purely a personal choice anyway as any palette is false. Finally, I boosted the saturation to bring out the blue of the OIII as well as to deepen the red/orange of the Ha.

The finished image!

You can also see a higher resolution version on my Astrobin page. Overall, I am pretty pleased with the results, especially given that it was taken in mid summer, near full moon and from my heavily light polluted garden.


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