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SGL 2022 Challenge 11 - Reflection Nebulosity

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For this challenge we are looking for the presence of dust illuminated by a nearby star(s), reflection nebulosity.  There are some "celebrity" targets but plenty of others a little off the beaten track.  Of course there may be other elements included in the image which enhance the overall picture but the reflection should be a key feature.  IFN, although technically reflection nebulosity is excluded from this challenge, maybe another time!

Please include details of equipment used and other capture information.

Start date 1st November 2022

End date 31st  January 2023 

No entries will be accepted after this date.


As previously the winner and runners up will receive an SGL challenge mug showing their image along with a virtual medal-of-honour for their SGL signature.

Please post entries directly into this thread

To keep the thread manageable for the judges please do not post comments about entries, emoji reactions are welcome of course.



All data must be captured and processed by you (no collaborative entries). 
Data must be captured during the challenge start & end dates. 
Multiple entries are allowed but please make a fresh post within the thread.
Multiple submissions of the same image, processed differently, will not be accepted.

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I'll bite with one of the "celebrity" targets 🙂

Taken pretty much from midnight on the night of 01/11 -  02/11. First of many sessions on this to come as this is one of my favourite targets. First real test of the new ASIAIR Plus as well including meridian flip. Went well for the most part except for some well known bugs. This is also the first time I've taken flats and dark flats for any of the pictures I've spat out so far. Seems to make a noticeable difference in image quality. 

Just 40x180s lights, 20x darks, flats and dark flats. Taken through the Skywatcher 80ED and ASI533MC-Pro at -10°C with UV/IR filter, on an EQ6-R Pro, guided by the Evoguide 50ED and ASI120MM-Mini. Guiding between 0.4-0.5", seeing and transparency pretty average but quite breezy. 

Processed in Photoshop CC. It's nothing to shout home about, but I feel like I'm starting to get used to the general workflow and recently starting out with a trial of StarXTerminator. Processed nebulousity without stars, stretched, added contrast, a bit of saturation, some noise reduction, then blended stars back in, minimally processed, at 85%. 

Cheers for looking 🙂


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My first attempt at the WHN. Hey, Halloween right? 👻

Samyang 135mm, D5600, Fornax LT2, manual dithering 😂

80 X 2 minute subs at ISO 200 and f2.5. I took darks, flats and bias frames. I need to work on my processing.

SiriL stack with frame by frame background extraction, then fairly basic stretching in SiriL and further processing in LR and AF. 

I think I have a lot of data in the raw stack and think I can get a better image than this first pass. 

I framed using Rigel and another star to anchor the frame manual dithering every five frames, however this has put the WHN too far over to the right.  Placing Rigel center frame was supposed to help minimise flare, halo etc

Lessons learned every time 😂



Edited by 900SL
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Another bash at some reflective stuff! This was taken over two nights finishing 16-12-22. Really getting to grips with the whole astrophotography thing :). 

The two nights where this data was captured had an approx 60%(?) moon rising around 2200 and 2300 each night respectively, giving me the opportunity of 4-5hrs to capture some good broadband data. Temperatures down this way have been really quite notable recently, hitting -10°C on the coldest night, and I believe this has been partly responsible for the less-than-good guiding as the grease thickens to a putty! That said, the cold weather has really put that classic feel on, with decent seeing and transparency and a beautiful frosty scope in the morning.

This is 94x180s with Darks, Flats and Dark flats with a UV/IR filter. Skywatcher 80ED with dedicated 0.85x reducer/flattener, ASI533MC-Pro at -10°C, gain 101, EQ6-R Pro mounted, Evoguide 50ED/ASI120MM-Mini guiding, ZWO EAF focussing, ASIAIR Plus controlling, stacked in DSS and processed in photoshop. 

I started in PS with a gentle curve stretch then threshold to sample colours for the black and white points, balanced the colours then did another gentle stretch before running StarXterminator. With each layer separated I focused on the starless image bringing out the dust as best I can and boosted the blues slightly. I applied huge orange/blue saturation to the stars only image to try to get those thick colours I see out there, alas I've a ways to go yet! I blended the two images together at 90% opacity and ran GradientXterminator and NoiseXterminator (which I've only just started a trial with, love it!). Final tweaks with camera raw filter to sharpen slightly and boost vibrance a tiny bit and here we are :)

I absolutely LOVE dusty targets - Think I need a wide field scope and large sensor 😂


Edited by OK Apricot
Changed browser, actually managed to get some text in...
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Here are vdB14 and vdB15, a pair of reflection nebula that merge with ionized hydrogen emission nearby. Also see some gentle light scattering from thin dust around the open cluster Stock 23 and elsewhere in the region.

Capture with the Askar FRA300 and ASI2600MC Pro at -10c with gain 100. no filters aside from the integrated IR cut in the 2600.

610 x 120 s (20h20') integration in Bortle 6/7, about 60% moon. Stacked and processed in APP, with PS CS5. Captured with N.I.N.A. over 2 full crispy cold nights. This version resized to 2048px height.


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My first competition entry, be gentle lol. 

Iris Nebula

75 x 300s lights

Explore Scientific ED102 CF @ f7 700mm

ASI 294MC Pro with Astronomik L2 UV/IR Cut filter

Processed in Pixinsight


IrisNebula 19-12-22.jpg

Edited by AndyThilo
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  • 2 weeks later...

I had planned to capture different target for this challenge but the weather my way has been terrible recently which has limited my options.  However, I did have a whole night forecast earlier this week and took the opportunity to revisit M45 for the first time in some time.  

Equipment used is ASI 1600MM Pro and baader LRGB filters on a William Optics GT81 mounted on an HEQ5.  This image consists of 56mins of red, 52 mins of green, 57 mins of blue and 145 mins of luminance, all captured on the night of 26th/27th December.

There was a not forecast scud of rain just as I was getting up in the morning which resulted in rain on the telescope lens.  While I did manage to dry this off, there was a bit of smearing and I decided not to capture flat frames and so I did have some vignetting but think that I have managed to compensate for this is processing.  

I hope that you like the image.  



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Iris Nebula | NGC7023

Taken over one night on the 2nd of January 2023.

69 x 300secs (5:45 hours) @ 100 Gain and -10C + 50 Darks, 50 Bias and 50 Flats.

  • Stellamira ED90 Triplet
  • ZWO AM5 on a Barbelach Planet tripod
  • ASI2600MC Pro
  • Optolong L-Pro 2"
  • Asiair Plus
  • SW Evoguide 50 + ASI290mm mini
  • Integrated and processed with Pixinsight + Noise/Star/Blur Xterminator + a bit of Topaz

This is the cropped image with which I am happy, taken under consideration the available time and detail of the core.





Edited by George Sinanis
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Another Iris but this one with its little companion the Ghost of Cassiopeia.  Imaged December 21st. WO GT 71 (x0.8 WO reducer flattener), ZWO asi 183 mono: L 30 x 300", B 17 x 300", G 15 x 300", R 15 x 300". Stacked using Astroart, processed

using Startools and Affinity Photo. 




Edited by woldsman
Added detail of the reducer
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IC 5146 - Cocoon Nebula.  A reflection/emission nebula in Cygnus.  Usually swamped by foreground stars this has been processed to show the surrounding illuminated gas and dust.  Data collected on 13th December from the Yorkshire Dales.  ~60 x 120s, RASA 8, ASI2600MC.  DSS and PS.  Cheers, Paul.

Cocoon 03.jpg

Edited by clarkpm4242
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Another M45 Pleiades aka Seven Sisters star cluster here in the constellation of Taurus.

Taken over 3 nights.  Total integration of 10 hours, 51 minutes.  15 x 240secs & 197 x 180secs.

Equipment:  Sky Watcher Esprit 120ED APO refractor, Sky Watcher EQ6-Pro mount, ZWO ASI120mm mini guide camera & 30mm guide scope.
Capture Software:  NINA, PHD2 & Stellarium
Processing Software:  DeepSkyStacker, Siril, GIMP, Adobe Lightroom.

Clear skies!

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My LRGB version of the Iris Nebula.  This image represents a total of 25 hours of 120s integrations, comprising 9 hours Luminance, 5 hours Red, 5.5 hours Green and 5.5 hours Blue.  The data was captured over a number of nights in December 2022 using my TS Optics 130 Triplet APO and QHY268M with Antlia Pro LRGB filters, mounted on my Losmandy G11.  It was taken under Bortle 5 skies.  The data was acquired with SGP and the mount was guided with PHD2.  It was processed in PixInsight. 


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I recently had first light of my 61EDPH II with the California Nebula, and thought I'd have another crack at this target to do it some comparative justice to the 80ED. I absolutely love the Pleiades, one of my favourites!

This is 60x180s with Darks, Flats and Dark Flats. 2" ZWO IR cut filter, ASI533MC-Pro, EQ6-R Pro, Evoguide 50ED/ASI120MM-Mini, ZWO EAF and ASIAIR Plus controlling the whole thing. Bortle 5-6, patches of thin high cloud, noticeably breezy but guiding absolutely fine at 0.6", probably not something I could've done with the 80ED. 

I've spent 7 hours to get to this point since getting home from work today 😂. I started with a normal stacking routine in DSS, sent it into PS and got to work. I wasn't really very happy with what I'd ended up with, with stars taking on that blocky shape, StarXT leaving things behind, so scrapped it and started again. This time I'd drizzled it x2 and followed a similar but more restrained approach - Much happier with the star shapes. Some curves, some masked curves, some RC Astro, some colour adjustments, some more RC Astro, a little more restraint and I have a result :). I'm aware that the 61EDPH II definitely does not correct the blues very well, but at it's price point for a fast triplet, and considering the fact I may have exaggerated things during post processing, I'm going to bank this one as a successful capture from start to finish. Cheers!

Edit - now I see it on my phone I'm not as enthused... I so need a new laptop 😭



Edited by OK Apricot
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Here's another Pleiades for the collection! 

About 10 hours of integration time shot between the clouds on 4th, 7th, 8th 9th and 12th of January with a 130-PDS and ASI2600 on an EQ6-R all controlled by Astroberry.  Processed with Siril, GraXpert and Startools.

Thanks for looking.


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Can never have too many Pleiades images! Here is my take on M45. I imaged this last night 18/01 and processed it today. Stacked and processed in PI this time I didn't bother with any star reduction or blurxterminator. Some times less is more....

Shot on Redcat51 mounted on HEQ5 using ZWO 1600mm pro and Baader filters. Just One hour thirty per RGB filter. I have also stopped shooting luminance as when I add to an image it only makes things worse (user error). I find just adding more time on RGB offsets the benefits. 


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Predictable as ever, here's my version of the Pleiades


Imaged 12 to 14th Dec 2022

6 hours L , two hours each RGB

Reduced FSQ106 with ZWO 6200MM

SGP, Pi, (BlurXterminator), PS, and a lot of luck.

Thanks for looking



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SH2-136 The Ghost Nebula.

Taken over two nights, 18th October & 13th November 2022.

A total of 5h 30m of 180s exposures with Evostar 100ED DS Pro with 0.85 FF/FR and ASI294MC Pro set to -10°C, gain 200 & offset 30.

Processing with PI.



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This is M78, captured over three nights in January under reasonable conditions (no moon) but still ditched about 5% of the subs due to high cloud. 13.5 hrs made up of 212 x 2 mins with the Esprit 150/QHY268mono and 193 x 2 mins with the Esprit 150/QHY268OSC. I saved the Lum stack as an RGB file and stacked this with the OSC file, it seemed to give a better result than combining them as LRGB. Calibrated and stacked in APP, processed in PI with SPCC, BXT, SXT, Histogram and Curves Transformation, PixelMath to recombine, then NXT applied. Finished off in AP.


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I have been learning AP using a Celestron Astromaster 130 during the pandemic and I recently purchased the SW130pds. Here is my take on a part of the Pleiades star cluster taken on 16th Jan 23 using the ASI533mc pro/ZWO UV/IR cut filter/Baader MPCC. The SW130pds is mounted on a HEQ5 pro. The image is comprised of 90 subs of 60s using gain 240, offset 70, -10deg, no flats or darks taken. Capture done from my garden in Bortle 6 skies & managed thro Ekos and processing done using Siril. Final tweaks done in Mac Preview. I posted the image on beginners forum and then decided I will take part in the competition for the very first time as I was feeling lucky 🙂 Thanks for looking.

EDIT: What I love about the M45 is it has a lot going for it. You can see a variable star, a multiple star system, reflection nebula, asterism and if you look deep there is even a galaxy peeping through this.


Edited by AstroMuni
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I present the Witch Head Nebula, located near Rigel in the Orion Constellation,  which is where the majority of the light that shows this up as a reflection nebula.  

I had some limitation to the amount of data I could capture and this image is made up of 1h 15mins of each RGB and 2h 30mins of luminance, captured between 20 - 22 January 2023.

It was processed using a combination of Pixinsight and Photoshop.  

Equipment used is ASI 1600MM Pro,  Baader LRGB filters on a William Optics GT81 mounted on an HEQ5.  






Edited by Snoani
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