Lyra Targets M57 Ring Nebula and Stephenson 1 Open Cluster

The nights are getting quite light at my latitude so this getting to be pretty much the last chance to get any DS photography done before the "summer break".
My first idea was to go for a retake of the Hercules cluster, but since Lyra was rising and the seeing was good I changed my plans and decided to try M57 "The Ring Nebula" and an open cluster with the designation Stephenson 1 around Delta Lyrae. I spent so time to get the polar alignment and tracking speed as close as possible to allow for at least 30s exposures for the Ring Nebula. It turned out that I could have used even longer exposures than 30s to get the SNR better, but I stuck with 30s to stay on the safe side.

I started with the Ring Nebula taking a few test photos and to my surprise I managed to get the nebula in the center of the field on the first try. The ISO400 30s subs look like this.

I took 30 frames out of which, 22 were usable in DeepSkyStacker (<80% score). I also took 10 darks out of which only 6 were saved on the memorycard (I guess some bit was stuck in a corner somewhere). After stacking the images there was some serious come apparent in the photos. Also the coma free area was not in the center of the image field. I suspect thet the focuser is not at a proper angle with regards to the light path. I will return to that during the summer observing break. Anyway the result of the first round of stacking and processing yielded a result like this.

This image is a 11min stack cropped 50% showing some of the surrounding area. Below is a 100% resolution image of just the nebula.

The image clearly needs more exposure, but even at these exposure lenths the central star is visible, which was a nice surprise.

The next target was the "not so famous" Stephenson 1 Open Cluster. Anybody can find this cluster easily, just point your binoculars towards Delta Lyrae.See the image below for guidance if unsure where to look.

 The Stephenson 1 cluster's main eye cather is the visual binary of Delta 2 and Delta 1 Lyrae. In reality these two star are a long way from each other. Visually and in photographs this is a stunning pair. Otherwise the cluster is quite nondescript. Below is aphoto taken of the cluster (ISO400, 4min, Canon 1000D).


  1. Felicitaciones estupendo Blog estare muy atentao a tus fotografias son espectaculares, saludos desde COlombia.

  2. Hello Max. Thank you for your kind words (used google translator). I'm just starting out with astrophotography learning as I go. Hopefully the photos will get better as time goes by.

    ~Clear skies