Sagittarius from Menorca

lagoon and trifid nebula

A recent trip to the Spanish island of Menorca gave me an chance to see Sagittarius at the heart of the Milky Way, a rich region of sky not easily seen from the UK.

Despite a full moon, and Sagittarius hanging low above the Mediterranean, on the final day I couldn’t resist having a go with the D7000 to see if Deep Sky Stacker could pick out some of the detail.

The final processed image nicely captures the golden mass of the galactic core, intersected by the Great Rift. Objects visible include four bright nebulas; the Lagoon nebula (M8), Trifid (M20), Eagle (M16), and Omega nebula (M17) along with globular cluster M22 and several open clusters.

I’m happy with the result given the conditions and lack of barn door tracker, which limited shot time to 2-5 seconds. The images below show how well the stacking technique works, even on a bright moonlit night.

Deep Sky Stacker Sagittarius before and after

Details: Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm/f1.8 at f4. Untracked 14 minutes (168 x 5 seconds) at iso 1600. Using didymium filter and stacked with Deep Sky Stacker.

lagoon and trifid nebula

Here’s another close up of the Lagoon and Trifid nebulas taken at 105mm with the Nikkor 18-105mm lens. It picks them out reasonably well, with quite a bit more close up detail than the longer 50mm shot. However, I’ve realised if I want to improve these shots than I’ll need to use a lens better suited to the job. I have my eye on the ‘legendary‘ Nikkor 180mm f2.8 ED.. I’ll have no excuses then!

Details: Nikkor 18-105mm/f3.5-5.6 at f5.6. Untracked 3 minutes 20 seconds (100 x 2 seconds) at iso 6400. Using didymium filter and stacked with Deep Sky Stacker

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Night storm

We only get a hand full of night time lightning storms each year, so I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to test out the new Nikon D7000 on one of my favourite low light subjects. It turned out to be a spectacular storm and some of my best lightning shots to date. Click on the photos below for larger versions.

lightning storm selby north yorkshire

lightning storm over yorkshire

night storm

Details: Nikon D7000Nikkor 18-105mm/f3.5-5.6 at f4. 10-40 second exposures (with remote release) at iso 100.

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