LDN 1622 is a dark nebula in Orion. It is known as the Boogie Man Nebula due to both its shape and its dark color.
LDN 1622, just like all dark nebulae, is not an easy target, and many hours of exposure are required to get a beautiful result.
Object Designation: LDN 1622
Also known as: The Boogeyman Nebula
Object Type: Dark Nebula
Distance: 500 light-years away
Discovered in: Unknown
The Boogeyman Nebula has a diameter of just about 10 light-years, making it pretty small if we compare it to most other nebula in the Orion region. LDN1622 is much closer to Earth than M42, M78 and the others though, which is why it appears large.
As you can see on our cropped image on the left, the nebula is made up of dark dust, including completely black opaque gas in some areas. These gases are so thick that they fully hide light from stars behind them. The nebula is also located in front of some faint red hydrogen alpha gas, slightly visible here as well.
The image below is the result of just 4.5 hours of total exposure. The target was only high enough in the sky until about midnight, so it was not possible to spend more time on it. It was taken from a Bortle 3 zone in Nevada, one hour away from Las Vegas.
LDN 1622 with a OSC camera and a refractor
Telescope: Stellarvue SVX130
Mount: Astro-Physics Mach1
Guiding: ZWO ASI 290MM Mini
Accessories: Moonlite Nitecrawler focuser
Total Exposure Time: 4.5 hours
Exposure Time per frame: 10 minutes
How to find LDN 1622?
The Boogieman Nebula can be found in the most recognizable constellation in the Winter sky: Orion.
Don't expect to be able to spot it with your naked eye, a pair of binoculars, or a telescope. This target is way too faint and, obviously, too dark to be seen visually. Filters won't help either.
If you are trying to point a DSLR camera/lens to this target, know that it is not too difficult to find.
The Boogeyman Nebula is located kind of in between two bright stars, Betelgeuse and Alnitak. First, take a quick test shot of the Orion region and spot Messier 78 on your camera screen. This should be easy if you take a long exposure with a 50mm lens wide open. From M78, try to tell how Barnard's Loop is angled. The loop should will pass just "below" M78. The easiest way to find LDN1622 is to simply jump over the loop from M78. The dark nebula lies at about the same distance on the other side of the loop.
if you are using a 50mm or even 85mm lens, you will have the Boogeyman Nebula in your frame for sure as long as M78 is not too close to the edge!
Processing the Boogeyman Nebula
LDN 1622 was pretty difficult to process. Just like every dark nebulae out there, it is tricky to bring out detail or brightness in the dark gases without adding noise to the overall image, even when playing with masks.
It is also difficult to do a correct background extraction as you can't really tell where there is and isn't gas over the image. Using a reference image from other astrophotographers can sometimes help when using the Dynamic Background Extraction on PixInsight as you'll be able to better know where to place your points.
Below you can see a single shot so that you can know what to expect. It is a 10-minute shot, so pretty long but you can see the nebula starting to appear near the center. The Hydrogen-Alpha gas from Barnard's Loop is easily visible on the top right, and this is without filters!
If you are interested in learning how I process all our images, you can download a full PDF "follow along" file that contains 77 pages, a full 1 hour and 45 minutes walkthrough tutorial video, our custom pre-sets and even raw data HERE.
The Boogeyman Nebula is a great dark nebula that is very close to many more popular deep sky objects in Orion. It is a great target to attempt if you are looking for a challenge or would like to capture your first dark nebula.
We chose not to make this image available as a print because it does not meet our quality standards, but check out the prints we have for other images HERE!
Have you captured the Boogeyman Nebula? Attach your image in the comments and let us know your acquisition details!