This photo of the Lobster Claw Nebula, (Sharpless2-157) and the Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635) took me 4 months to get right. I first imaged it in April, when it was low in the sky and there was a near-full moon. It was washed out and I could never get all the sky-glow from Missoula and the moon out of the picture. Then I captured 4 hours of it in august when it was very high in the sky and almost no moon. I figured if I combined both sets of data that would give me about 7 hours and I should be able to come up with something cool. Wrong.
I tried everything but could not get the combined image to work. The sky glow from April was too much and I couldn’t process it out of the combined image. So I just integrated the August data. It looked much better, but the Bubble always ended up getting blown out and there was no detail in it at all.
So, I tried a new technique where I stretched the data using GHS (Generalized Hyperbolic Stretch) and tried to preserve the color as much as I could. As a result, the Bubble turned out nice with just a small portion of it overexposed and the Oiii in the Lobster Claw really showed up as well. There is not as much “background” Hydrogen Alpha in the photo, but I think it still looks good. I may get 4-5 more hours on it while it is high in the sky and see what I can come up with.
What do you think?