Nights on Mars Hill

IC 443 The Jellyfish Nebula

IC 443, Jellfish Nebula

IC 443 The Jellyfish Nebula

Distance: 5,000 Light Years                                               Telescope: Televue NP101 + .8 Reducer

Magnitude: ???                                                                        Camera: QSI 683

Size:  55 Arc-minutes                                                            Mount: AP 900

Age: Approx. 10,000 Years                                                   Exposures: Ha 27×1200, OIII 26×1200

IC 443, also known as the Jellyfish nebula, is a supernova remnant located in the constellation Gemini. A supernova remnant is the remains of a very large star that exploded at the end of its life cycle. The explosion and resulting shock wave can energize surrounding gas and dust forming the many supernova shapes we see today. This supernova remnant contains a couple of different parts identified by their distinct shapes and chemical composition. The brighter part that shapes the right side of the head of the jellyfish contains iron, neon, silicon, and oxygen gasses and has the appearance of many filaments coming together. The left side of the head of the jellyfish consists mainly of hydrogen gas and heated dust with some filaments but has a more nebulous shape. Estimates of age vary from 3,000 to 30,000 years.

[WISE]

Ha Version:

Exposures: Ha 27×1200

IC 443, Jellyfish Nebula

IC 443 The Jellyfish Nebula

RGB Version:

Exposures: RGB 12×300:

IC 443, Jellyfish Nebula

IC 443 The Jellyfish Nebula

SHO Version:

Exposures: SII 28 x1200, Ha 27×1200, OIII 26×1200

 

IC 443, Jellyfish Nebula

IC 443 The Jellyfish Nebula

 

IC 1848 The Soul Nebula

IC 1848, Soul Nebula

IC 1848 Soul Nebula

Distance: 6,500 Light Years                                  Telescope: Televue NP101 + .8 Reducer

Magnitude: 6.5                                                         Camera: QSI 683

Size: 110×80 Arc Minutes                                     Mount:  AP900

Age: 1 Million Years                                                Exposure: SII 29×1200, Ha 28×1200, OIII 29×1200

IC 1848, commonly called the Soul Nebula, is a star cluster surrounded by emission nebula SH2-199. It is located in the Perseus arm of our galaxy in the constellation of Cassiopeia. The ultraviolet radiation and wind from the young hot stars in the cluster are blasting away the nebula dust cloud giving the nebula its shape. The parts of the dust cloud that are denser form the perimeter structure of the Soul nebula and the less dense areas form the inner structure. In the denser parts of the nebula there are several pillars of compressed gas and dust where star formation is occurring. There are also several other smaller open clusters that have formed in the outer perimeter. IC1848 and the other smaller clusters in this area are all part of the CAS OB6 association.

IC 1871 is the small fan shaped emission nebula to the left of the Soul nebula. It appears that there is a dust cloud nearly splitting the nebula in two.

[WISE]

IC 1848, Soul Nebula

IC 1848 Soul Nebula

Rosette Nebula

NGC 2237, NGC 2238, NGC 2239, NGC 2246

Rosette Nebula

Distance: 5,000 Light Years                                 Telescope: Televue NP101 + .8 Reducer

Magnitude: 4.8 Central Cluster                         Camera: QSI 683

Size: 90×90 Arc Minutes                                       Mount:  AP900

Age: 4 Million Years                                               Exposure: SII 21×900, Ha 24×900, OIII 18×900

The Rosette nebula is a large emission nebula in the constellation Monoceros. It consists of several star clusters with surrounding emission nebula designated as NGC 2237, 2238, 2239, and 2246 all surrounding the central open star cluster NGC 2244. The central star cluster is very young and was formed from the gas surrounding the cluster. This cluster is also responsible for illuminating the surrounding gas that forms the Rosette nebula. The cluster contains Type O and B stars which are very large and very hot and the ultraviolet radiation from these forms the “hole” in the center of the nebula by blasting away the less dense gas.

Star formation is still occurring in this region as other small clusters (NGC 2238,2239) have been detected in the surrounding gas areas of the nebula.

[Chandra, Wise]

Below is an LRGB image from my home observatory in a light polluted Bortle 6 zone:

Rosette Nebula, NGC 2237, NGC 2238, NGC 2239

Rosette Nebula

Distance: 5,000 Light Years                                 Telescope: Televue NP101 + .8 Reducer

Magnitude: 4.8 Central Cluster                         Camera: QSI 683

Size: 90×90 Arc Minutes                                       Mount:  AP900

Age: 4 Million Years                                               Exposure: LRGB 12×300

 

Horse Head + Flame Nebula

Horse Head Nebula, Flame Nebula

Horse Head + Flame Nebula

Distance: 1,500 Light Years                       Telescope: Televue NP101 + Televue .8 Reducer

Magnitude: Not Known                              Camera: QSI 683

Size:  H. Head 8’x6’ Flame 30’x30’         Mount: AP 900

Age: Not Known                                            Exposures: L 14×300, R 10×300, G 13×300 B 12×300

Every winter I always try to shoot two objects, M42 and the Horse Head + Flame Nebula. Both objects are perfect targets for both beginners and seasoned imagers as they are large, bright, and full of color. Here is my yearly attempt of the Horse Head + Flame nebula from my light polluted Bortle 6 home observatory. I went for two different looks, short exposure LRGB as shown above and long exposure Hydrogen Alpha as shown below.

The Horse Head Nebula is a dark nebula in the constellation Orion and you can easily see why it gets its name. Star formation has been verified inside of the Horse Head with infrared imaging. The dark nebula which forms the Horse Head stands out against the back drop of emission nebula IC 434. The curtain like effect seen in IC 434 is probably caused by a magnetic field radiating out from the Horse Head area. Just below and to the left is the bluish reflection nebula NGC 2023. Below that is a smaller reflection nebula IC 435.

The Flame nebula is an emission nebula to the left of the Horse Head nebula as shown in my image. Alnitak, the bright star in the image, is the illumination source for the Flame nebula. Active star formation is occurring in the Flame nebula and a very young star cluster has been detected inside using near infrared imaging. Moving away from the tip of the Flame is reflection nebula IC 432. Just above that is reflection nebula  IC 431.

[NOAO, Caltech Astronomy]

Below is a Hydrogen Alpha image captured from my house in the nights following the LRGB image. Here is the capture info:

Telescope: Televue NP101 + Televue .8 Reducer

Camera: QSI 683

Mount: AP 900

Exposures: Ha 22×900 seconds

Horse Head nebula, Flame nebula,

Horse Head + Flame Nebula

 

M42 The Orion Nebula

M42, Messier 42, Running Man Nebula, Orion Nebula

M42 Orion Nebula

Distance: 1,600 Light Years                        Telescope: Televue NP101 + Televue .8 Reducer

Magnitude: 4.0                                               Camera: QSI 683

Size:  85 x 60 Arc-minutes                          Mount: AP 900

Age: Approx. 30,000 Years                         Exposures: L 15×300, R 13×300, G 13×300 B 14×300

Exposures: L16x30, R16x30, G 16×30 B 16×30

I have been imaging for about 2 years now and I find myself returning to this target every year. It was one of the first images I ever captured and even through an ETX-125 with a DSLR I was stunned by the results. The following year I used my Televue NP101 with an SBIG 8300C and achieved even better results. This year I used my Televue NP101 with a Televue .8 reducer because I wanted M43 in the field of view. I captured the above LRGB image from my house in a Bortle 6 zone with no LP filter.

M42 is an emission and reflection nebula in the constellation of Orion. It is relatively bright and can be seen without any binoculars or telescope even from light polluted areas. Orion is one of the more easily recognizable constellations in the Northern hemisphere with M42 located just below the belt of Orion in what would be the sword region. M42 is illuminated from a star cluster known as the trapezium and these stars are very young and hot which causes the very thin layer of gas in the area to glow brightly. The entire region around M42 is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud 1 which an active star forming region. Star formation has been seen in various stages along with protoplanetary disks which are disks that are in the earliest stages of planet formation.

Just above M42 is another nebula known as M43. Look closely and you can see what appears to be a person running and hence the knick name, the Running Man nebula. M43 is another star forming region and has its own star cluster providing illumination.

[Wikipedia, SEDS]

Below is a Hydrogen Alpha image captured from my house in the nights following the LRGB image. Here is the capture info:

Telescope: Televue NP101 + Televue .8 Reducer

Camera: QSI 683

Mount: AP 900

Exposures: Ha 40×900 seconds + Ha 16×5 seconds + Ha 16×10 seconds + Ha 16×30 seconds

 

M42 Ha, M43 Ha,

M42 Ha + M43 Ha

IC 1805 The Heart Nebula

IC 1805, Heart Nebula

IC 1805 Heart Nebula

Distance: 7,500 Light Years                                 Telescope: Televue NP101 + .8 Reducer

Magnitude: 6.5                                                         Camera: QSI 683

Size: 140×110 Arc Minutes                                   Mount:  AP900

Age: 7 Million Years                                                Exposure: SII 23×1200, Ha 24×1200, OIII 24×1200

IC 1805, commonly known as the Heart Nebula is a star cluster that illuminates the large emission nebula SH2-190 in the constellation Cassiopeia. This cluster resides in the Perseus arm of our galaxy and the entire area is part of the Cass OB6 association. An OB association is a grouping of type O and type B stars which are massive and very hot young stars. IC 1805 is the star cluster in the center area of the image and is the source of illumination for the SH2-190 nebula. The entire nebula is very large at 140 x 110 arc minutes and I could not fit the entire object in my field of view. This cluster contains many O class stars and also one of the largest stars in our galaxy, HD 15570.

The lower right of the image shows IC 1795 and just below that is NGC 896. IC 1795, aka the Fishhead nebula, is a bright emission nebula that conceals several very young hot stars. The source stars are not visible probably because they are concealed by dust. NGC 896 is the brightest nebula in the lower right of my image and is also an emission nebula.

[Galaxy Map, Anne’s Astronomy News]

IC 1805, Heart Nebula

IC 1805 Heart Nebula

 

IC 410 The Tadpole Nebula

IC 410,Tadpoles

IC410 The Tadpole Nebula

Distance: 12,000 Light Years                              Telescope: Televue NP101 + .8 Reducer

Magnitude: 7.5                                                        Camera: QSI 683

Size:  55×45 Arc-minutes                                     Mount: AP 900

Age: Approx. 4 Million Years                              Exposures: SII 18×1200, Ha 21×1200, OIII 20×1200

 

IC 410 is an emission nebula in the constellation Auriga. It is about 12,000 light years away and appears to be 55 x 45 arc minutes in size.  It is also known as the Tadpole nebula and if you look carefully at the left center of my image you will see the two globules that look like tadpoles. The Tadpoles are star formation areas each having their own designations Sim 129 and Sim 130. They get their shape from very hot and young stars blasting out ultraviolet radiation and shaping the surrounding gas to appear like tadpoles. The stars inside are very young, about one million years old, and are about 10x the size of our own sun.

Emission nebula IC 410 is illuminated by a young and bright star cluster called NGC 1893. To find it in my image just follow the tadpoles, they appear to be swimming right to it. This cluster is very young at about 4 million years old and contains several hundred stars.

There are also a few dark nebula nearby. It is these dark nebula that give the nebula what appears to be ears, eyes, and a mouth that resemble a profile of a monkeys head.  (I think the overall nebula looks like the profile of a monkey head but there is already another nebula with this name).

[Universe Today]

Ha Version 21×1200:

IC 410, Tadpole Nebula

IC 410 The Tadpole Nebula

LRGB Version 13×300:

IC 410, Tadpole Nebula

IC410 The Tadpole Nebula

M34 Open Cluster

Messier 34, M34,

Messier 34

Distance: 1,400 Light Years                                              Telescope: Televue NP101 + .8 Reducer

Magnitude: 5.5                                                                      Camera: QSI 683

Size:  35 Arc-minutes                                                          Mount: AP 900

Age: Approx. 180 Million Years                                        Exposures: LRGB 9 x 180 Bin1

Messier 34 is an open star cluster in the constellation of Perseus. It is one of the closest Messier objects at about 1,400 light years and contains about 500 stars. The blue stars in my image are some of the newest stars in the cluster and make up a small part of the cluster. The rest of the cluster contains stars that are older such as white dwarfs that have lost the ability to fuse hydrogen. It is the range of stars that fall in to and off from the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram that indicate the age of star clusters.

As I was processing this image I noticed several small spiral and elliptical galaxies in the background. There was even a small planetary nebula in there! I compared my image to a star chart and labeled them in the image below. One thing that stood out was that these galaxies were all labeled in the PGC (Principal Galaxy Catalog) catalog and are in the 15-18 magnitude range. The image below is annotated with the galaxy names that I could find but there are still several other galaxies in the image that I could not identify.

[Science Blogs, SEDS]

Messier 34 Annotated, M34 Annotated

Messier 34 Annotated

NGC 1333

NGC 1333

NGC 1333

Distance: 1,000 Light Years                                          Telescope: Televue NP101

Magnitude: 5.6                                                                 Camera: QSI 683

Size:  6 x 3 Arc-minutes                                                 Mount: AP 900

Age: Approx. 1 Million Years                                       Exposures: L  13×900 Bin 1, RGB 13×450 Bin2

NGC 1333 is a reflection nebula and shows as the blue part of the nebula in my image. NGC 1333 is located in the constellation Perseus at about 1,000 light years away.  Dark nebula LDN 1550 surrounds NGC 1333 and LDN 1448 is in the bottom right corner.  It is in these dark nebula regions that star formation is occurring and most of the stars in these nebulas are only about 1 million years old. This area is also known for a large number of brown dwarf stars. These newly formed stars and brown dwarfs are all part of a very active star producing area of the Perseus Molecular Cloud.

[NOAO, Wikipedia]

M31 The Andromeda Galaxy

M31, Andromeda Galaxy

Messier 31

Distance: 2.9 Million Light Years                             Telescope: Televue NP101 + .8 Reducer

Magnitude: 3.4                                                               Camera: QSI 683

Size: 178 x 63 Arc Minutes                                         Mount: AP 900

Galaxy Type: Spiral Sab                                             Exposure: L 14×300 Bin 1, RGB 14×300 Bin1

Messier 31, also known as the Andromeda galaxy is a large spiral galaxy and is home to about 1 trillion stars. It is about 250,000 light years in diameter and is also the largest galaxy in our local galaxy group which consists of the Triangulum galaxy, Milky Way galaxy, and 44 other galaxies. Some recent studies suggest that our Milky Way galaxy may actually be denser than the Andromeda galaxy even though our galaxy is much smaller. The Hubbell Space Telescope discovered what appear to be two galactic cores. One thought is that there are actually two galactic cores perhaps caused by an earlier interaction between two galaxies. The other thought is that there is only one core but it appears as two cores due to dark dust clouds partially obscuring the view. The Andromeda galaxy contains globular and open star clusters, Ha nebula regions, planetary nebula, super nova, and other objects found in spiral galaxies.

M31 contains the largest observed globular cluster known as G1. This cluster contains several million stars and is twice as luminous as Omega Centauri (the largest and brightest globular in our galaxy). To date, there have been about 460 globular clusters discovered in M31. The globular clusters in M31 range in age from several million years to about 5 billion years while the ones in our galaxy typically are over 10 billion years old. There is also a very large star cloud that has its own NGC designation, NGC 206, and is visible in my image in the top left corner of the galaxy arm.

As with most spiral galaxies there are several Ha regions contained within the spiral arms. These areas are where star formation is actively occurring and many in M31 can be seen with amateur telescopes and CCD cameras. A recent paper [Univ. of Western Ontario Aug 2011] states 3,691 Ha regions have been discovered in this galaxy.

To the bottom left of the galaxy is Messier 110. This is a small elliptical galaxy and from Earth is about the same distance as M31, 2.9 million light years. At magnitude 8.5 it is to dim to see with the naked eye. This galaxy is also a satellite galaxy of M31 which means it is gravitationally bound with M31. There have been 8 globular clusters found in this galaxy and there are also a few dust lanes apparent in images captured with larger telescopes.

Directly above the core of M31 is Messier 32. This is a small elliptical galaxy and it is also gravitationally bound with M31. Its distance from Earth is about the same as M31 and M110 at 2.9 million light years. At magnitude 8.1 it can’t be observed with the naked eye. As with most elliptical galaxies M32 is old and there are not a lot of Ha regions where new star formation is occurring.

[Info from SEDS and Wikipedia]

M31, Andromeda Galaxy

Messier 31 Annotated