Astrophotography 2020

In January of 2020 I purchased a QHY294C with a L-eNhance Narrowband filter. I spent the year learning how to, and how not to, use this new astro gear. I quickly settled on using GAIN=1600 which is where the camera switches to it’s low noise HGC mode. There are some fullwell saturation effects happening that affect bright stars and FLATs that have pixel values greater than 32,767(50%). I am chasing QHY to correct this. [As of March 2021 QHY has released an All-In-One driver/SDK release that fixes the fullwell saturation issue.] I also found that an OFFSET value of 0 is pretty much ideal. I have master libraries for this camera and the BIAS master at GAIN=1600 has a mean pixel value of 22 with a standard deviation of 2 so clipping at zero is virtually non-existent. For most of the year I set the camera temperature to 0C. In early November I experimented with a camera temperature of -10C. I will be regenerating my DARK library for -10C and trying to use this lower temperature for 2021.

Because I like to software tinker, I decided to tackle the QHYCCD SDK and wrote an application to access the QHY294C via it’s qhyccd.dll. I have been accessing the QHY5II-M guider camera via the qhyccd.dll for several years so I wasn’t starting from zero. I was able to write a basic sequencer for taking images and ramping up/down the camera temperature. which works well for me. I have a parameter screen where all of the settings for the QHY294C can be viewed and/or changed. I was also able to integrate the camera into my Search utility and my autofocus utility. In 2020 I also wrote a plate solving utility that uses Platesolver 2 and positions my CGEM mount. Platesolving really cuts down on the time required to compose an image.

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Great Orion Nebula (Orion Nebula – Orion A) M 42 – NGC 1976 – SH 2-281 – LBN 974 – Ced 55d November 7th, 2020 Hamilton, Ontario Air Temp=13C Humidity=62% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=200 seconds Temp= -10C 2 hours 40 minutes total integration time 48 LIGHTs, 30 DARKs, 26 FLATs, 21 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
Heart Nebula (The Running Dog Nebula – Valentine Nebula – AFGL 333 Cloud) IC 1805 – SH 2-190 – LBN 654 – Cr 26 – Mel 15 – Ced 7 Sept 13th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=18C Humidity=62% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 3 hours 40 minutes total integration time 22 LIGHTs, 19 DARKs, 21 FLATs, 22 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
Heart of the Heart Nebula (Melotte 15) Sept 22nd, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=18C Humidity=76% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 3 hours 10 minutes total integration time 19 LIGHTs, 19 DARKs, 22 FLATs, 21 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
Fish Head Nebula IC 1795 – LBN 645 – Ced September 25th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=20C Humidity=70% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 4 hours 20 minutes total integration time 26 LIGHTs, 19 DARKs, 31 BIAS, 22 FLATs, 21 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Badly out of focus Opps!
Iris Nebula C 4 – NGC 7023 – VdB 139 – LBN 487 – Cr 429 – Ced 187 August 11th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=23C Humidity=76% 8″EdgeHD (2032mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=300 seconds Temp=0C 3 hours 20 minutes total integration time 40 LIGHTs, 20 DARKs, 21 FLATs, 21 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
Pelican Nebula IC 5067 – LBN 353 – Ced 183a August 17th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=22C Humidity=61% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 3 hours 50 minutes total integration time 23 LIGHTs, 19 DARKs, 21 FLATs, 22 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
North America Nebula C 20 – NGC 7000 – SH 2-117 – LBN 373 – Ced 183d August 25th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=20C Humidity=71% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 4 hours total integration time 24 LIGHTs, 19 DARKs, 20 FLATs, 24 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
Bubble Nebula C 11 – NGC 7635 – SH 2-162 – LBN 548 – Ced 210 August 6th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=19C Humidity=73% 8″EdgeHD (2032mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 3 hours total integration time 18 LIGHTs, 19 DARKs, 21 FLATs, 22 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
Wizard Nebula NGC 7380 – SH 2-142 – LBN 511 – Cr 452 – Ced 206 September 20th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=13C Humidity=60% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 2 hours 30 minutes total integration time 15 LIGHTs, 31 BIAS, 19 DARKs, 33 FLATs, 26 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
Tulip Nebula July 8th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=23C Humidity=73% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 3 hours 20 minutes total integration time 20 LIGHTs, 31 BIAS, 19 DARKs, 33 FLATs, 26 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
IC1318a & b August 30th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=15C Humidity=76% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 4 hours 10 minutes total integration time 25 LIGHTs, 31 BIAS, 19 DARKs, 20 FLATs, 22 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
Ghost Nebula VdB 141 August 12th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=22C Humidity=77% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=300 seconds Temp=0C 3 hours 15 minutes total integration time 39 LIGHTs, 20 DARKs, 20 FLATs, 21 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
Soul Nebula IC 1848 Sept 11th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=13C Humidity=75% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 2 hours 30 minutes total integration time 15 LIGHTs, 19 DARKs, 23 FLATs, 22 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
NGC 7822 – SH 2-171 – LBN 589 – Ced 215 Sept 2nd, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=21C Humidity=72% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 4 hours 30 minutes total integration time 26 LIGHTs, 19 DARKs, 20 FLATs, 23 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
NGC 6914 Sept 5th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=19C Humidity=56% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=600 seconds Temp=0C 3 hours 30 minutes total integration time 21 LIGHTs, 19 DARKs, 20 FLATs, 20 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
Crescent Nebula C 27 – NGC 6888 – SH 2-105 – LBN 203 – Ced 179 – DWB 19 July 8th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=19C Humidity=70% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=200 seconds Temp=0C 2 hours 3 minutes 20 seconds total integration time 37 LIGHTs, 31 BIAS, 30 DARKs, 44 FLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
Comet C/2020 F3 (Neowise) July 23rd, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=22C Humidity=72% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=3534 Offset=0 Exposure=3.4 seconds Temp=0C 4 minutes 3 seconds total integration time 81 LIGHTs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Comet Stacked DSS, Processed Startools, Lightroom
Cigar Galaxy M82 June 16th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=18C Humidity=60% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=200 seconds Temp=0C 2 hours 16 minutes 40 seconds total integration time 41 LIGHTs, 30 DARKs, 32 FLATs, 26 DARKFLATs Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
Bode’s Galaxy (Bode’s Nebula – The Great Spiral) M 81 – NGC 3031 – PGC 28630 – UGC 5318 September 15th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=17C Humidity=55% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=200 seconds Temp=0C 1 hour 16 minutes total integration time 24 LIGHTs, 30 DARKs, 7 FLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
M 106 – NGC 4258 – PGC 39600 – UGC 7353 – VV 448 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=22C Humidity=68% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=200 seconds Temp=0C 2 hours 16 minutes 40 seconds total integration time 41 LIGHTs, 30 DARKs, 30 FLATs, 26 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
Pinwheel Galaxy M 101 – NGC 5457 – PGC 50063 – UGC 8981 – Arp 26 – VV 344 September 18th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=21C Humidity=62% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=200 seconds Temp=0C 2 hours 10 minutes total integration time 39 LIGHTs, 30 DARKs, 31 FLATs, 26 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools
Elephant’s Trunk Nebula (The Misty Clover Cluster) IC 1396 – SH 2-131 – LBN 451 – Cr 439 – Ced 195 July 30th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=22C Humidity=72% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) L-eNhance filter QHY294C Gain=2500 Offset=0 Exposure=200 seconds Temp=0C 2 hours 56 minutes 40 seconds total integration time 53 LIGHTs, 28 DARKs, 20 FLATs, 20 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
Triangulum Galaxy (Triangulum Pinwheel – Pinwheel Galaxy – Triangulum Nebula) M 33 – NGC 598 – PGC 5818 – UGC 1117 November 8th, 2020 Hamilton, Ontario Air Temp=11C Humidity=64% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=300 seconds Temp= -10C 4 hours 5 minutes total integration time 49 LIGHTs, 20 DARKs, 26 FLATs, 21 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
Rosette Nebula (Harp Cluster) C 50 – NGC 2244 – Cr 99 – Mel 47 – Ced 76b November 8th, 2020 Hamilton, Ontario Air Temp=11C Humidity=64% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=300 seconds Temp= -10C 2 hours 5 minutes total integration time 25 LIGHTs, 20 DARKs, 26 FLATs, 21 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
Horsehead Nebula B 33 – LDN 1730 and Flame Nebula NGC 2024 – SH 2-277 – LBN 953 – Ced 55p November 9th, 2020 Hamilton, Ontario Air Temp=14C Humidity=66% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=300 seconds Temp= -10C 3 hours 10 minutes total integration time 38 LIGHTs, 20 DARKs, 11 FLATs, 21 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
Dumbbell Nebula (Diabolo Nebula – Apple Core Nebula)M 27 – NGC 6853 August 7th, 2020 South Bruce Peninsula Air Temp=21C Humidity=76% 8″ EdgeHD@F10 (2032mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1599 Offset=0 Exposure=100 seconds Temp=0C 51 minutes 40 seconds total integration time 31 LIGHTs, 21 DARKs, 21 FLATs, 22 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom
Andromeda Galaxy (Andromeda Nebula – Great Nebula in Andromeda) M 31 – NGC 224 – PGC 2557 – UGC 454 November 7th, 2020 Hamilton, Ontario Air Temp=15C Humidity=57% BK80ED+0.85FR (510mm FL) Moon & Skyglow filter QHY294C Gain=1600 Offset=0 Exposure=300 seconds Temp= -10C 3 hours total integration time 36 LIGHTs, 20 DARKs, 26 FLATs, 21 DARKFLATs, 31 BIAS Calibration CaLIGHTs, Stacked DSS, Processed Startools Lightroom