NGC6820 Vulpecula Nebula

NGC6820 Vulpecula Nebula; Captured at HCH, Colorado Springs with ASI2400BB-FF-LeX on 8Oct2023

Fun facts

NGC 6820 is a small reflection nebula near the open cluster NGC 6823 in Vulpecula. The reflection nebula and cluster are embedded in a large faint emission nebula called Sh 2-86. The whole area of nebulosity is often referred to as NGC 6820.

Open star cluster NGC 6823 is about 50 light-years across and lies about 6,000 light-years away. The center of the cluster formed about two million years ago and is dominated in brightness by a host of bright young blue stars. Outer parts of the cluster contain even younger stars. It forms the core of the Vulpecula OB1 stellar association.

Distance (Open cluster) – 6000 light years
Size (Diameter of open cluster): 50 light years
Magnitude (Nebula): 7.10
Apparent dimensions (Nebula): 40’ x 30’
Constellation: Vulpecula

Designations: NGC6820, Cr404, Ced170; NGC6823, SH2-86, LBN135, Cr405

{Target information from and Stellarium}

Capture & Processing Notes

This was captured on Sunday night, 8 October 2023 during a streak of clear nights leading up to our departure on Thursday (12Oct2023) to image the annular solar eclipse.  Since, I’d recently (the day before!) figured out the field flattener and we were only going to take the Southern Cross to Los Alamos, I decided to spend my time imaging from the front patio as much as possible with Big Bertha.

This object is not officially named the Vulpecula Nebula – in all sources, it is simply NGC6820.  I decided it needed a name, since it’s in the Vulpecula constellation, I got creative and chose Vulpecula Nebula ;-}.  But…after processing it, I’m seeing all sorts of “things” in the image – reminiscent of the days when we were kids, laying on our backs, looking up at the clouds, and naming what we saw.  Can you see a pig’s face (snout and mouth), a puppy with big dark eyes, and a donkey?  Perhaps it should be the Barnyard Nebula instead?? (I have NOT been drinking!  Sleep deprived, well yes.)

Sequence plan: Gain: 158, Temp: -0°C, offset=30; 50x5min; captured
Capture: 8 October 2023 (8Oct23, 2034 – 9Oct23, 0053MDT); Total exposure time: 4:20hrs.
Shooting location: HCH, Colorado Springs, CO

Processing summary: Captured with SGP. Stacked in APP. Star removal with Starnet++. Processed in LR/PS


Polar alignment: QHYCCD camera (controlled by Polemaster)
Imaging stream: (Big Bertha) Orion 8″ f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, ZWO ASI2400MC imaging camera, Teleskop Services TS-Optics 2″ 1.0x Flattener and Field Corrector for Ritchey-Chrétien Telescopes (TS-RCFLAT2), 89.7mm of connector tubes between camera and TS-RCFLAT2 for proper backfocus (M54M-M48F 21L, 2” M48F, M48F 16.5L), Optolong LeXtreme light pollution filter
Mount: SkyWatcher EQ6‑R PRO Synscan mount (controlled by ASCOM driver)
Autoguider: Orion 60mm Multi-Use Guide Scope, Orion StarShoot AutoGuider Pro Mono Astrophotography Camera (controlled by PHD2)
All equipment controlled by HP Probook (DSO CTRL 2) Windows 11 laptop running Sequence Generator Pro v4.2.0.16.