Imaging the Rosette Nebula

It’s the middle of January, and you’ve spent so much time imaging M42 and the Horsehead that you see them in your dreams. What’s next? How about the Rosette Nebula? It’s a large and relatively bright object sitting to the east of Orion in the constellation Monoceros. Monoceros you say? Not as widely known as Orion, Monoceros has some beautiful objects such as the Christmas Tree Cluster and Cone Nebula. Although much dimmer and harder to image than those big and bright objects sitting in Orion they are not impossible to image, even from my light polluted skies. The Rosette Nebula is the the brightest and easiest of the objects sitting in Monoceros.

Rosette Location

The Rosette is situated in the left-center of the above image section from Stellarium – East of Orion’s belt in the Northern Hemisphere. If the GOTO on your mount is anywhere near as bad as mine, Astrotortilla shouldn’t have a problem getting this object quickly centered for you due to the bright open cluster NGC2244 almost pointing an arrow right at the center of the nebula. I only have a few hours each session to shoot this object between the trees, so it’s a several night project.

Below is an example that I’m not particularly happy with yet. I’m using the Rosette as an object to learn on, as I haven’t ventured off galaxies and the brighter objects in Orion. This really is a good example how possible it is to image in severe light pollution. Below is 2 hours and 42 minutes of data. This is not nearly a completed acquisition, but it’s a good start. I’m hoping to add a slew of 180 second exposures in my next session to “complete” it. Truth is, in this hobby, nothing is ever really complete. As my processing skills improve, I’m sure I will come back to the data time and again.

Picture saved with settings embedded.

Rosette Nebula – Caldwell 49


  • 81×120″

Callibration Frames

  • 15 Darks
  • 12 Flats
  • 75 BIAS

6″ F/5 GSO Newtonian and an unmodified Canon T1i with an Optolong CLS filter and 2″ GSO coma corrector at roughly the extremely light-polluted location below.

imaging location

Here is about 4 hours of data processed in a slightly different way with some more artistic liberties taken.


Give this object a try if you want a break from the objects in Orion this Winter. It might not provide the instant gratification that something like M42 will, but it is a very beautiful object with many subtle details that really start to take shape as you add more data.

Clear Skies – KA


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