On 24th May, 2022, I set out to capture one of the most intriguing targets (in my eyes), the Cygnus Loop, which is comprised of filamentary supernova remnants. This target which is located some 1,500 light years away from Earth, includes the Eastern Veil Nebula (NGC 6992), Pickering’s Triangle (NGC 6979), and the Western Veil Nebula (NGC6960). Because of its unique composition, this target allowed me to test the impact of integration time on the resulting image processing potential. Basically, I have learned that the longer the total integration time, that is to say, how much data is collected, the higher the potential for bringing out the finer details and reducing signal noise in the final image.
I had the opportunity, amidst many frustrating nights of clouds, to capture data on 24, 25 May, and 1 June, 2022. I started by capturing 50 minutes on 24 May. I added and 2.5 hours on 25 May, and then concluded by adding another 2 hours on 1 June, for a total image integration time of about 5.5 hours. These progressions are demonstrated in the images below. You can clearly see the benefits of adding integration time, as each progression shows more of the filamentary structure. I am happy with the results and I will definitely adopt the habit of capturing and adding data to my images to allow for better results. Stay tuned!
All images taken with Altair Hypercam 26c, Evostar 72ED APO, Askar 0.8 reducer, Altair Quadband filter, on EXOS 2GT mount. 5-minute exposures, Gain 200, Offset 3, TEC @ 10 degrees.