December: Test shots with new scopes/mounts
Dec 21: TMB 80/480 Arrives!
Dec 3: AP1200 Arrives!
Nov 30: TMB 152/1200 Arrives!
NGC 6826, the Blinking Planetary, is a planetary nebula in the constellation of Cygnus. It is so named because when you stare directly at the central star through the eyepiece of a telescope, the surrounding nebulosity all but vanishes. But when you avert your vision (i.e., look slightly off too one side), the nebula blinks into view. Why does this happen? Well, the human eye "sees better" off of center; i.e., you can see dimmer things not when looking directly at them, but by looking (slightly) away from them. So, when you're looking straight at the central star, the eye has trouble seeing the faint nebula that surrounds it. But when you look slightly away, your peripheral vision is sensitive enough to detect the nebula. It's very cool to try this in a decent telescope. It's a pretty amazing effect.
I used IRIS's Wavelet Processing capabilities to bring out details in the nebula. However, that made the surrounding stars and the sky background look icky, a technical term. So I used Photoshop to composite the wavelet-processed nebula with a non-wavelet-processed background using layer masks. There, I feel much better for coming clean.