I am often asked if the deep sky images shown below are what one sees when looking through the eyepiece of a telescope. Unfortunately, the answer is no. You will be greatly disappointed when you gaze through a telescope expecting to see these images. They will appear as nothing more than fuzzy grey patches; if they appear at all. Only in very long duration photos where the photons of light can be captured over time will the true beauty of these deep sky objects be revealed.


For instance, if you view the Rosette Nebula through a very large scope, you will only see the central stars of the nebula. The beautiful structure surrounding the central stars will not be visible. To give you an idea of the process I went through to get the Rosette image please look at the video I created at the end of this page.  It will start out showing the central stars as I mentioned above and then the grey area of the nebula emerges in long duration camera exposures. The rose then blooms in the final post processing phase. My mother passed away in 2012 and to honor her I created this video since she adored roses. I think she would have enjoyed this nebula. Her image, when she was a young woman, appears at the end of the video.

Of course the moon and planets are a different thing altogether and they look gorgeous when you see them on an evening when the atmosphere is stable. That's because these objects are relatively close to the earth. A view of the Moon or Saturn through the eyepiece of a telescope is an awe inspiring moment for sure. Take a look at the images below of the Moon, Saturn and Mars. This is what you may see on a night of good seeing through a modest size telescope. All the images below were taken with a small 4" diameter refracting telescope except where noted in the captions.

Caldwell 49

Rosette Nebula

Iamged 2017


The Pleiades

Imaged 2017


Orion Nebula

Imaged 2017


Andromeda Galaxy

Imaged 2017

Barnard 33

Horsehead Nebula

Imaged 2017

Gibbous Moon

(Imaged 2003) with 152mm refractor


(Imaged 2003) with 152mm refractor


(Imaged 2005) with 152mm  refractor


Whirlpool Galaxy Wide Field View (Imaged 2018)

Zoomed in Area of the Whirlpool Galaxy (You can see other galaxies in this photo)

IC 2118

Witch Head Nebula (Imaged 2019) 

IC 443

Jellyfish Nebula

(Imaged 2019) 

Galaxies M81 and M82

(Imaged 2017)

IC 2177

Seagull Nebula

(Imaged 2019) 

Wolf Blood Moon

Lunar Eclipse 2019

Partial Phase

Wolf Blood Moon

Lunar Eclipse 2019


Gibbous Waxing Moon

Imaged on 6/11/19 with 250mm reflector

This is a cropped segment of the 2019 moon image showing Montes Apenninus

This is a cropped segment of the 2019 moon image showing southern crater area

This is a cropped segment of the 2019 moon image showing Apollo 11 landing site

M27 referred to as the Dumbbell or Apple Core Nebula. Imaged on 8/10/19 with 130mm refractor.

Wide Field View of The Veil Nebula imaged with 130mm refractor and reducer on 8/24/19

Cropped out area of Wide Field image of Veil Nebula showing the Eastern Veil

Fireworks Galaxy and Open Cluster NGC 6939 imaged with 130mm refractor on 9/2/19

Bubble Nebula and Open Cluster M52 imaged with 130mm refractor on 9/26/19

Heart and Soul Nebulae imaged with 130mm refractor on 11/24/19

Flame, Horsehead and Orion Nebulae iamged with 130mm refractor on 12/22/19

Antares star and Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex with 130mm refractor on 6/14/20

Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae (M8 & M20) with 130mm refractor on 6/15/20

Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) wide field with 130mm refractor on 6/20/20

Galaxies M81 and M82 wide field with 130mm refractor on 5/30/20

Galaxies M81 and M82 (cropped from wide field image) 

Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) (cropped from wide field image)

Triangulum Galaxy (M33) wide field with 130mm refractor on 11/6/20

Triangulum Galaxy (cropped from wide field image)

California Nebula (NGC 1499)  with 130mm refractor and reducer on 11/7/20

Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405)  with 130mm refractor and reducer on 11/18/20

2020  Planetary Conjunction with 250mm reflectorr and extender on 12/22/20

Rework of Images taken on 2017 of the Andromeda Galaxy

The Flaming Star Nebula could be renamed Foxfire as you see what I mean by this abstract I created.

The Whirlpool Galaxy with 130mm refractor and extender on 5/30/21

Rosette Nebula Video by M. Killion

Music By:


Dragonfly by Zep Hurme (c) copyright 2013 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/zep_hurme/43907 Ft: Snowflake