Raptor in Flight

The return of the Milky Way Galactic Core means a return of some of night sky loversโ€™ favorite hydrogen and oxygen-rich emission regions. Our journey will take us through a few of them, with the hopes of capturing better details in the images I have captured before and new discoveries.

Soaring over what I consider to be the brightest region of the galactic core is the Eagle Nebula (M16). This cosmic raptor flies some 7,000 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Serpens. The nebula contains several active star-forming regions, including one of the famous areas referred to as the Pillars of Creation (zoomed below).

The Pillars of Creation in the Oiii region (blue) of M16.

In processing this capture, I decided to experiment with a different color palette (referred to as HOO) to take advantage of the hydrogen and oxygen regions as captured with a 3nm dual narrowband filter. This palette creates sufficient contrast to allow the dark dust lanes to be accentuated throughout the rich hydrogen regions. This palette was made possible using Bill Blanshan narrowband normalization in PixInsight. It was definitely worth the experiment and I look forward to using this color palette more in my journey. Stay tuned, but in the meantime, remember to look up and experience an amazing Universe!

Gear: AA Hypercam 26C, Askar 80 PHQ, HEM27 mount, Optolong L-Ultimate; ZWO OAG + 120mc

Exif: 41 x 5-min lights; Gain 200, Offset 3, TEC @ 10 degrees; 20 darks, 20 flats, 20 dark flats

SharpCap, PHD2; AstroPixelProcessor, PixInsight; Photoshop


  1. Meh son, Drexel, I think you’re pretty “amazing” yourself! An amazing astrophotographer in God’s “amazing universe”. Well, suh!

  2. As usual, another outstanding effort. I know you have some choice and flexibility with your color palette. I really think that particular shade of glowing neon turquoise for lack of a better description is really fantastic. It really lets all the other detail really stand out. Always enjoy looking at your work! May the clear skies prevail! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ”ญ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ‘

    1. Hi Eric. Thank you for your continuous support. This one was fun and I agree with you fully, that shade of blue allows the details to be better highlighted. One thing I didnโ€™t mention is this was captured under bright moonlight over 3 days.

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