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Messier 20 and Messier 21 – Data From Deep Sky West

Messier 20 and Messier 21

I recently joined a Deep Sky West in-house imaging team.  For a set yearly fee I can download and process images taken with the team’s designated telescope, mount and camera which are owned and operated by Deep Sky West.  I opted to subscribe to the team that uses a Takahashi FSQ-106 with a QSI 683 camera and is mounted on a Paramount MyT mount.  This is the first image that I have downloaded and processed.

Messier 20 is a beautiful combination of an emission nebula (the pink portion), a reflection nebula (the blue part) and an open cluster.  It was first observed and documented by Charles Messier as the 20th object in his catalogue in 1764.  Messier 20 is believed to be about 5,200 light years distant.  The open cluster Messier 21 is seen just to the north of Messier 20.

The data provided by DSW consisted of 32 luminance channel subexposures of 600 seconds each, 17 red channel subexposures of 600 seconds each, 16 green channel subexposures of 600 seconds each and 16 blue channel subexposures of 600 seconds each  The data was calibrated, stacked and aligned with PixInsight.  The red, green and blue channels were combined in PixInsight and a histogram stretch was applied to the master luminance frame and the RGB image before exporting to Photoshop.  The luminance frame was layered on the RGB image in Photoshop and final color balance tweaks were performed.

Click on the image below to see a larger version or click here to see a full resolution image that has been posted in my Astrobin gallery.

Posted in Bright Nebula

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