NGC7822 Flaming Skull Nebula

NGC7822 Flaming Skull Nebula; Captured at HCH, Colorado Springs, Colorado with ZWO ASI2400MC, Big Bertha-FF-LeX on 8 October 2023

Target Fun Facts

NGC 7822 is a young star forming complex in the constellation of Cepheus. The complex encompasses the emission region designated Sharpless 171, and the young cluster of stars named Berkeley 59. The complex is believed to be 2900 light years away, with the younger components aged no more than a few million years. The complex also includes one of the hottest stars discovered within 1 kpc of the Sun, namely BD+66 1673, which is an eclipsing binary system consisting of an O5V that exhibits a surface temperature of nearly 45,000 K and a luminosity about 100,000 times that of the Sun. The star is one of the primary sources illuminating the nebula.

Other Designations: SH2-171, LBN589, Ced215
Subtype: HIII region
Distance from Earth: 2609 light years
Size: 75 light years (radius)
Size (apparent dimensions): 1°40’
Constellation: Cepheus

{ From: and Stellarium }


All equipment controlled by HP Probook (DSO CTRL 2) Windows 11 laptop running SGP v4.2.0.16.  

Polar alignment: QHYCCD camera (controlled by Polemaster)
Imaging: (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)
Autoguiding:  Orion 60mm Multi-Use Guide Scope with Orion StarShoot AutoGuider Pro Mono Astrophotography Camera (controlled by PHD2)

Capture & processing notes

Capture Notes:  This was the second object 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, the field flattener, and light pollution filters.

Sequence plan: Gain: 158, Temp: -0°C, offset=30; 59x5min; Total exposure time: 4:55hrs.
Capture: Captured night of 8 October 2023 (9Oct23, 0108 – 0613MDT). 
Shooting location: HCH, Colorado Springs, CO

Processing: Captured in SGP, stacked in APP, star removal with Starnet++, processing with LR/PS

Other Images of NGC7822 Flaming Skull Nebula

NGC7822 Flaming Skull Nebula; captured at Comanche National Grasslands, Springfield, Colorado; with ZWO ASI2400MC on 18 August 2023


Polar alignment: QHYCCD camera (controlled by Polemaster)
Imaging stream: (Southern Cross) Askar FRA600 on Rainbow Astro RC-135E, ZWO ASI2400MC camera
Mount: Rainbow Astro RC-135E (controlled by iHubo ASCOM driver)
Autoguider: None (accidently left at home!)
All equipment controlled by HP Probook running Sequence Generator Pro v3.2.0.660.

Capture & processing notes

Capture Notes:  This was the second target of the night, captured from Springfield, Colorado.  Specifically, from Comanche National Grasslands public land on a spot about half a mile south of US Hwy 160 off County Road 24.3.  The trip was a hybrid dark skies (staying in a hotel in Springfield because of the 100 degree heat) and an anniversary trip to Albuquerque for dinner at dinner at Sal’s.  We took the Expedition and in packing my gear, I decided to take only one guide scope to save space in the Pelican case optics box for my Milky Way lens and camera.  Of course, in doing that, I took out the guide scope that has the attachment mount to the Southern Cross.  So, the imaging was done throughout the night without a guide scope.  The other change from “routine” is I’d read about 2×2 binning and how it can essentially increase the sensitivity and allow decreased exposure time.  The capture seemed to go well (with no guide scope, there were no lost guide stars to terminate the sequence), but when I got home to begin the APP stacking process I struggled mightily.  During the registration process, the process would fail – it would show one subframe that was the culprit, but when that file was deleted it still wouldn’t complete the registration step.  I deleted the bad subframe and the two initial subframes that we captured with 3-minute exposures, then selected to stack the top 50 subframes (the process was failing after 52) and that finally produced a result out of APP.  So, although I captured 86 x 2minute exposures (3:54hrs), the final stack only contained 50/83 (1:45hrs).    

Sequence plan: Gain: 300, Temp: 0°C, offset=NotSet, Bin: 2×2. 86x2min. Captured 19Aug2023, 0125MDT – 0429MDT. Total exposure time: 2:52hrs.
Capture: 19 August 2023, 0125MDT – 0429MDT. Total exposure time: 2:52hrs (Culled during registration in APP to 50/83, image is 50x2min. Total time in image: 1:40hrs.
Shooting location: CR24.3 Springfield Colorado; Comanche National Grasslands
Processing: Stacked in APP, processed in LR/PS.