Open datasets

All datasets acquired with Moana from DSO (Dark Sky remote Observatory), near Fort Davis, TX, USA.

The observatory

The data distributed here is under Creative Commons license, attribution: “Moana Project”. If you feel like it, feel free to tag BlackRig on Astrobin so I can see your results.

The potential of what can be achieved on Moana’s Data with is showcased here.

Moana’s updates here. Or the eventful life of a remote telescope in the Davis Mountains of West Texas.



This section covers long exposure datasets in color and narrow band to illustrate the beauty of the night sky.

  • Moana is online & imaging. The focused images are sharp and appear well collimated from corner to corner, which is not too difficult on the current 4/3 sensor. However, a careful examination of the defocused images leads me to believe perfection has not been achieve quite yet, with some possible faint residual astigmatism. That will need to be addressed when moving in a few weeks to the new APSC sensor. Mico, a short focal Petzval riding piggy back on Moana is now online.
  • Upcoming datasets: dual imaging with Moana and Mico are Comet 2022 E3 ZTF and Comet 2020 V2 ZTF. Moana only targets are galaxies M105 and M94.
  • M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy. Over 15 hours to go after the faint nebulosity, RGB and Ha.
  • Details of the Rosette Nebula (going deep, 27 hours)
  • Comet 2022 E3 ZTF, multiple datasets.
  • M1 planetary nebula. 20 hours of color and narrow band high resolution data.
  • Galaxy M77, RGB HA dataset.
  • M33 Mosaic. RGB and Ha.
  • Running Man of Orion. 10 hours of RGB data, bright nebula.
  • Dark structure in the California Nebula, narrow band only, Ha and SII, with dark nebula.
  • Thor’s Helmet, RGB and Narrow Band.
  • M16 dataset: RGB, and narrow band.
  • Helix nebula dataset, about 8 hours of integration, RGB and narrow band.
  • Crescent Nebula, in RGB and narrow band. About 20 hours of integration.
  • Cocoon Nebula, RGB and narrow band, in Cygnus.
  • M78 in Orion, RGB dataset.
  • M15 and Pease 1 in Pegasus, RGB dataset.
  • Horse head nebula in Orion, Ha only.
  • M74, a face on spiral galaxy, in RGB and Ha.


Datasets suitable for training, education and research in astrometry and photometry.

Fun stuff:

Various tests and endeavors not to be taken too seriously. Like doing planetary imaging with a scope optimized for deep sky, failures with interesting lessons, etc…

About the data:

The files have been curated (PixInsight SubFrame Selector working in conjunction with this script, and visual QC) then stripped of private information (like observatory exact coordinates) with this script. The frames are otherwise raw from acquisition.

The image parameters are as follow:
Resolution: 0.591 arcsec/px
Field of view: 45′ x 35′
Focal distance: 1325 mm
Pixel size: 3.80 um
Aperture: 254mm -10 inches
F number: f/5.3
Guiding: Off Axis Guider with QHY 5L2M

The camera is currently an ASI 1600MM, soon to be replaced by a QHY268M. The mount is an AP1100 GTO.

For imagery I use mostly gain 90 and 5mn exposure for Narrow Band, between 1 and 5mn exposure for RBG. 5mn seems to be a good compromise between minimizing the amount of disk used each night, collecting enough light, but also be short enough to avoid too many satellite trails, cloud interference or a guiding mishap ruining the frame.

For photometry, given the wide variety of target brightness, anything goes (gain, exposure time and filter) to achieve the correct exposure.

In all cases gain and exposure shall be verified from the fits header, to ensure the use of the correct calibration masters.

The filters are Baader CMOS-Optimized RGB-R Bandpass Filter and Baader 6.5nm Narrowband Ha, OIII and SII. All 36mm round, unmounted.