M76 – Planetary Nebula in Perseus

Telescope: Meade LX50 Mak 7 at f/15, Orion Atlas EQ-G
Camera: ZWO ASI071MC, Orion Imaging Skyglow Filter
Sensor Temperature: -10C, Gain: 300, Offset: 50
Guide scope: Astro-Tech 60mm, Meade DSI Pro II, PHD
Exposure: (24 + 22)x240sec saved as FITS
Darks: 32x240sec saved as FITS
Flats: 32x30sec, LED tracing tablet
Average Light Pollution: Red zone, poor to fair transparency, haze and high clouds
Lensed Sky Quality Meter: 18.4-18.6 mag/arc-sec^2
Stacking: Mean with a 2-sigma clip.
White Balance: Nebulosity Automatic
Software: Nebulosity, Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop

M76 is one of my annual challenge targets. Visually, I’m very familiar with the rectangular center bar and I did not know about the outer arcs until the first time I imaged the nebula. M76’s central bar is thought to be a ring seen nearly edge-on. The outer arcs are formed by gas expanding outwards perpendicular to the ring. The faint outer nebular is gas blown off of the surface of the central star when it was still a red giant.

This is one of a series of test images that I am taking with my Meade Mak 7. I am still waiting for an evening of good transparency and seeing to really give this scope a good test, but this time of year you gotta take what the sky gives you. In this case the source images were taken over 2 nights; 24 on the evening of November 8th, and another 22 on the evening of the 10th. Both nights were breezy with passing high thin clouds and haze. It’ll be fun seeing what this scope can do when it is actually clear!

-John

M76 (11-8&10-2017)-1j.jpg