The Southern Cross, Pointers and Eta Carinae Widefield

Hi all

This image was taken from the Mudgee Star Party on the same night as my Scorpius and the Milky Way Widefield. It features a stunning area of sky, including the Pointers (Alpha and Beta Centauri) bottom right, the Southern Cross and the dark Coalsack (in Crux) in the centre, and the beautiful Eta Carinae nebula top left.

There’s so much going on in this image I had to reduce the dimensions to keep the size down, so please click the image to see the larger, much more spectacular version.

The Southern Cross, Pointers and Eta Carinae Widefield

The Southern Cross, Pointers and Eta Carinae Widefield

Please read on to find out more details.

The image was taken with the Modded Canon 40D and 24-105mm lens, piggybacked on the ED80 while being guided on the EQ6. It consists of 8x 5 minute exposures at ISO1600, with the lens @ 35mm, f/5.0. Darks were subtracted using ICNR, and flat fields were calibrated.

I’ve wanted to capture a good widefield area of this part of sky for a long time, and it’s great to finally have an image of it that I’m happy with. There’s a bit of field curvature in the corners from the lens, but it’s not too noticeable.

I had another 50+ minutes of data on this using 10 minute exposures, but somehow it ended up at a different focal length from my original 5 minute exposures. Not sure what went on there, but unfortunately I couldn’t use them in the stacking.

Thanks for looking.

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