SUPERCEDED-NEWER VERSION AVAILABLE---M1 - the Crab Nebula in Taurus, Feb 2011 version
SUPERCEDED-NEWER VERSION AVAILABLE---M1 - the Crab Nebula in Taurus, Feb 2011 version
SUPERCEDED-NEWER VERSION AVAILABLE---M1 - the Crab Nebula in Taurus, Feb 2011 version
The Crab Nebula, M1, is the first object in Charles Messier's Catalog. This nebula is the result of a supernova explosion that occurred in 1054 A.D. Chinese astronomers documented the "new star" extremely well. The supernova could be seen during the daytime, and was visible to the naked eye for 2 years to follow.

Today, the Crab Nebula is well below naked eye visibilty at magnitude +8.4 (in a dark sky, a person with good vision can see to about magnitude +6). It is located in the constellation Taurus, and is easily found by identifying the bright star, Zeta Tauri (the southern star at the end of Taurus' horns). M1 is a little over 1 degree to the northwest of Zeta Tauri.

In this image, North is to the Right.

Exposure Details
Lens Celestron C-8 SCT with Lumicon telecompressor
Focal Length 1100mm
Focal Ratio f/5.5
 
Mount Schaefer GEM - 7 1/2
Guiding Unguided
 
Camera Canon 350D - Unmodified
Exposure 23 subexposures of 60 seconds each at ISO 800 - 23 minutes total
Calibration 30 darks, 30 flats, 30 bias
 
Date February 27, 2011
Temperature
SQM Reading
Seeing 3 of 5
Location Pine Mountain Club, California
 
Software Used Maxim DL for camera control, Images Plus 4.0 for calibration, stacking and digital development. Photoshop CS5 used for flat fielding, shadows and highlights, levels, saturation adjustments, unsharp Mask, screen mask invert. Noise Ninja used for noise reduction.
Notes This is the first decent astrophoto I took using a digital camera (I had used film cameras for astrophotography for many years). Although this image leaves a great deal to be desired, it is dramatically better than anything I was ever able to capture with film.

If you liked this picture, you might also want to view:

M1 - the Crab Nebula in Taurus - December 2011 version