NGC 2244 - The Rosette Nebula taken With a $4,800 telescope

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

The Rosette Nebula is one of the largest, most beautiful and also most popular target for amateur astrophotographers. Yet, it took us 4+ years before attempting it ourselves.

Tonight, I will be heading to a Bortle 2 zone and use a very fast Newtonian reflector telescope to image this "flower" in space.

The telescope we'll be using tonight

Oceanside Photo & Telescope decided to send us a new toy to try out for a bit. They knew we started out with the Orion 8" Astrograph f/3.9 and that we've always been in love with fast reflectors!

We'll talk about the telescope more in depth later in this post, but you can see what the beast looks like on the right!

Lucky for us, the telescope came with an Optec focuser! We had never used electronic focusers before, but we now had a reason to learn how to!

We have a video about our attempt at the Rosette Nebula with the Takahashi E-180 on our YouTube channel. Check it out!

Here is our image of the Rosette Nebula, 3 hours in total taken from a Bortle 2 zone.

NGC 2244 using the Takahashi E-180 and the ZWO ASI 1600MM


Camera: ZWO ASI 1600MM

Telescope: Takahashi Epsilon-180

Mount: Software Bisque MyT Paramount

Guiding: ZWO ASI 290MM Mini

Acquisition: ZWO ASIAIR

Power: Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox

Processing: Pixinsight


Total Exposure Time: 3 hours

Exposure Time per frame: 3 minutes

Filters: Ha/Sii/Oiii

Gain: 139

How to find the Rosette Nebula?

The Rosette Nebula is located in the constellation of the unicorn: Monoceros. It is also pretty close to the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius!

Using binoculars or any telescope, one can easily spot the cluster of stars in the center of the nebula. Because the gases are mostly Hydrogen Alpha, it can be difficult to observe this object without a filter. The best way to find it visually is to use a small instrument and to of course be under a very dark site.

Cool Facts
  • Discovered in 5 different parts over time

  • Also called “The Skull”

  • It is one of the most massive emission nebulae in the sky

Processing of the Rosette Nebula

The processing part was not difficult but very annoying. The Takahashi E-180 telescopes are famous for being very well built and to hold collimation for any months. Sadly, our loaner seemed to have lost its collimation either before or during the shipping.

As you can see on the Hydrogen-Alpha frame below, the bottom left corner of the image shows elongated stars. Although it is not such a major issue, it still affects a part of the image that is too large to be cropped out.

We do not have the required collimation tools and, to be honest, patience to fix this issue knowing we have a limited time available with this telescope. We tried to collimate the secondary mirror for several days (thanks Jorge for your help!) and feel like we managed to correctly do it, but the images show some tilt, which is probably due to the primary mirror. Sadly, we do not feel comfortable taking the mirror out and decided to return the telescope after a couple of weeks.

Crop on the Ha frame of the Rosette Nebula showing elongated stars in one corner

What did each narrowband channel look like?

Below you can see what one hour of total exposure on each channel revealed. We used three filters to capture the Rosette Nebula:

  • Hydrogen Alpha (left)

  • Sulfur II (center)

  • Oxygen III (right)

The Hydrogen Alpha is obviously the one that shows the most data!

You can get our full PixInsight workflow as a PDF "follow along" file HERE.

The telescope used: Takahashi Epsilon-180 f/2.8

Let's talk a bit more about the telescope we used to get this image of the Rosette Nebula.

As we explained many times, our first telescope in our astrophotography journey was the Orion 8" Astrograph f/3.9. A very fast and affordable Newtonian reflector telescope which we reviewed on both our website and YouTube channel.

The Takahashi E-180 is also a fast Newtonian reflector telescope, well, it is a Hyperbolic Newtonian. With a speed of f/2.8, the Epsilon 180 is noticeably faster than our first telescope, meaning we can capture more in less time.

It has a focal length of 500mm, which is perfect for capturing nebulae of medium to large sizes as well as clusters and large galaxies.


  • Manufacturer: Takahashi

  • Optical Design: Hyperbolic Newtonian

  • Aperture: 178mm (7")

  • Focal Ratio: f/2.8

  • Image Circle: 44mm

  • Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 14

  • Tube Length: 19.7"

  • Tube Diameter: 232mm

  • Tube Weight: 22 lbs.

Our video about trying out this telescope for the first time

If you'd like to learn more about how I imaged the Rosette Nebula with this telescope, you can watch the video below!

Final Thoughts

Although I am sad about the collimation issue, I am glad I had the chance to image with such a wonderful telescope. I hope to one day own a Takahashi product as the craftmanshi in these telescopes is absolutely top-notch.

I'm not very satisfied with this final image of the Rosette Nebula. I believe I should have spent more time with the Sulfur II filter in order to bring out more crisp details. I was unable to spend more than three hours on it as it went below the horizon pretty quickly.

Have you captured the Rosette Nebula? Attach your image in the comments and let us know what you used!

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to stay up to date with our work!

Clear Skies,

Galactic Hunter



The Astrophotographer's Guidebook

Description: Discover 60 Deep Sky Objects that will considerably improve your Imaging and Processing skills! Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced astrophotographer, this detailed book of the best deep sky objects will serve as a personal guide for years to come! Discover which star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies are the easiest and most impressive to photograph for each season. Learn how to find each object in the night sky, and read our recommendations on imaging them in a quick and comprehensive way. Each target in this guide contains our advice on imaging, photos of expected results, and a useful information table. We've also included a few cool facts about each target, a map to find it in the night sky, and more!

The Astrophotographer's Journal

Description: The Astrophotographer’s Journal is a portable notebook created for the purpose of recording observations, cataloguing photographs, and writing down the wonderful memories created by this hobby. This book contains more than 200 pages to memorialize your stargazing and imaging sessions, as well as a useful chart on the last pages to index exciting or important notes. Read back on the logs to see how much progress you have made through the months, the problems you overcame, and the notes taken to improve in the future. Just as the pioneers of astronomy did in their time, look up and take notes of your observations as you are the author of this star-filled journey.

The Constellations Handbook

Description: The Constellations Handbook is a logical guide to learning the 88 constellations. Learning the constellations is difficult. Remembering them is even harder. Have you ever wanted to look up to the night sky, name any pattern of stars and be able to tell their stories? This book groups the constellations in a logical order, so that the reader can easily learn them by their origin, and see how their stories interact with one another as a group. The last pages of this book include an index of all 88 constellations, each with a slot where you can write your own personal tips and tricks in order to memorize them with ease. The Constellations Handbook is not just another guide listing all the constellations from A to Z and their location, it is the perfect companion for stargazing, and a learning journey through the ages.

#RosetteNebula #NGC2244 #Takahashi #E180 #Epsilon #ZWO #ASI1600MM #ASIAIR

1,177 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Quick Links

Social Media

  • Galactic Hunter Facebook
  • Galactic Hunter YouTube
  • Galactic Hunter Instagram
  • Galactic Hunter Amazon
  • Galactic Hunter Flickr
  • Galactic Hunter Twitter


  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Flickr Social Icon

© 2016-2020 by Antoine Grelin.