Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Heart Nebula


Heart Nebula

This is the last gasp of 3″ telescope Stella from my light polluted back patio until next spring. A dozen exposures through each of three narrow-band filters did a pretty good job of ignoring the light pollution from nearby parking lot and street lights and capturing the emissions from narrow bands of the visible spectrum in the hydrogen-alpha, sulfur-II, and oxygen-III bands. The resulting images were mapped respectively to red, green, and blue, which means that the colors you see are false colors that have little or no relationship to what you would see if your eyes are as sensitive as Stellas’s and could respond to such low-intensity colors.

Some more details from Wikipedia about this deep space object:

The Heart Nebula, IC 1805, Sh2-190, lies some 7500 light years away from Earth and is located in the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. This is an emission nebula showing glowing gas and darker dust lanes. The nebula is formed by plasma of ionized hydrogen and free electrons.

The very brightest part of this nebula (the knot at the right) [at the left in my photo] is separately classified as NGC 896, because it was the first part of this nebula to be discovered.

The nebula’s intense red output and its configuration are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars near the nebula’s center. This open cluster of stars known as Melotte 15 contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, and many more dim stars that are only a fraction of our Sun’s mass. The cluster used to contain a microquasar that was expelled millions of years ago.

During the winter months while Stella is snoozing in the garage, I plan to use telescopes located in Mayhill, NM, and perhaps Siding Spring, Australia. The target for Mayhill is Stephan’s Quintet, and for Siding Spring an object near the Small Magellanic Cloud, visible only from the southern hemisphere. At least that’s the plan at this point.



4 Responses to “Heart Nebula”
  1. Linda says:

    Cassiopeia! I love that constellation. Leslie… do you remember the movie it’s mentioned in? The fact that it’s a nebula formed by plasma of ionized hydrogen and free electrons is not nearly as romantic sounding as it was made out to be in the movie. 7500 light years away. Dad, explain that to me. Pretty far, huh? You give the wiki explanation, but did you edit it when you say it’s at the left in your photo? Bottom left corner?

  2. Tom says:

    Hope Stella has a good hibernation and is raring to go in the Spring! As for the explanations I will take it that you know what you are talking about….I sure don’t! Do like the output you gave it. Pretty snazy!

  3. Leslie says:

    Very cool and colorful. I must say i do like the color mapping. Okay Linda, challenge accepted. “A Beautiful Mind”?? I can see Russell Crowe and Whats-her-name looking up at it while he explained it. Well, Goodnght Stella, sleep well, looking forward to more of your creative images of the heavens next spring.

  4. Dave Ayers says:

    Thanks Linda, Tom, Leslie. I will pass your comments on to Stella. It looks like my next image, using a telescope in Mayhill, NM, will be the PacMan Nebula. Stay tuned.

    As for knowing what I am talking about, fat chance. But I’m learning (think old dog and new tricks).

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