Emission Nebula - Kurt Zeppetello - Astrophotography Log
M20 - Trifid Nebula - Wide Field

M20 - Trifid Nebula - Wide Field

The Trifid Nebula (M20 or NGC 6514) is in Sagittarius only a mere 5,200 light-years from Earth. The object is made of an open cluster; an emission nebula (the lower, red portion), a reflection nebula (the upper, blue portion) and a dark nebula, the apparent 'gaps' within the emission nebula (source: wikipedia).

This was the first night imaging with the the new Atlas Pro EQ/AZ mount. I collected 3 min. subframes and the mount was tracking perfectly through the whole session. I did have one mishap that cost 30 minutes of images but it was my fault. The computer battery went dead during the session and my backup plan (connecting it to the Black and Decker power pack was also dead. The third backup plan was to connect an extension cord to the inverter that came with the Rav4. This worked but I had to have the car running.

When I processed the data I had a lot of scattered reds in the background. Most often it simply noise in the image, however, there is a lot of nebulosity in this region. I checked many other images of this region and there was no definitive answer to was it noise or real gas and dust that that my modified camera picked up. Some images showed it and some did not. I made the executive decision to lesson it's impact rather than process it away. There are hints of nebulosity if you look closely. I did use Fred Espenek's (Astropixels.com) image of this region a guide.