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IC 59 and IC 63 - The Ghost of Cassiopeia Nebula Astrophotography

IC 59 and IC 63 are two reflection/emission nebulae in the constellation Cassiopeia. They are both very close to the bright star Navi (Gamma Cassiopeiae) and both nebulae can easily be photographed in the same field of view using a telescope or camera lens.

Object Designation: IC 59 & IC 63

Also known as: The Ghost of Cassiopeia, the Ghost Nebula (IC 63)

Constellation: Cassiopeia

Object Type: Reflection/Emission Nebulae

Distance: 610 light-years away

Magnitude: 10.0

Discovery: Max Wolf on December 30th, 1893

IC 59 and IC 63 are not easy targets for beginner astrophotographers. The nebulae are dark, faint, and the presence of a gigantic bright star so close to the objects can make it a bit tricky to process! On top of that, IC 59 and IC 63 are home to hydrogen alpha gasses which either require an HA/duoband filter, or dark skies to be seen. Below you will find information, tips, and our astrophotography images on IC 59 and IC 63.


IC 59 & IC 63 Astrophotography from Bortle 2 Skies Without Filters

October 2023

I have been putting off imaging the Ghost of Cassiopeia for a long time because I intended to spend time on it using both broadband and Hydrogen Alpha filters. The telescope I am currently using is the RASA 8, which has a one-shot color camera attached without filters. I did not want to wait any longer and decided to image this target hoping the HA would still be visible in broadband.

Thanks to the fast f/2 optics of the Celestron RASA 8 and the Bortle 2 skies of Utah Desert Remote Observatories, I was able to easily capture the hydrogen alpha gasses present in both IC 59 and IC 63.

I spent a total of 10 hours imaging this region of the sky, and the result turned out great! I especially love the dark dust all around the field of view.

Click the image to see it in full resolution!

IC 59 and IC 63 astrophotography with RASA telescope


Mount: 10Micron GM1000 HPS

Processing: Pixinsight, with R-C Astro plugins. Final touches in Skylum Luminar Neo


Total Exposure Time: 10 hours

Exposure Time per frame: 5 minutes

Filters: N/A