EarthSky Community Photos
Updates on Your Cosmos and World
Stellarvue SV80A with 0.8x FF/FR
Canon T3i (LPF-2 mod)
Flats and Bias Frames
Photoshop CC & Lightroom
Heart of the Galaxy - The Heart Nebula
Appropriate for the month of love is this photo of The Heart Nebula, which is a large cloud of ionized hydrogen gas that is illuminated by the numerous hot young stars embedded in it. The glow and shape of the nebula are the result of intense radiation and stellar winds resulting from a small cluster of stars near the nebula's core (known as Melotte 15). The stellar winds flow outward from the hot young stars and have sculpted the shape of the nebula by pushing clouds of dust and gas outward from the core.
This feature lies ~7,500 light years away in the Perseus arm of our Galaxy and is located in the night sky near Cassiopeia. With an approximate width of 200 light years, this emission nebula is huge and spans about 2.5 degrees on the sky (nearly the width of 5 full moons).
I captured this image using a Stellarvue 80mm refractor telescope with a Celestron Advanced VX mount auto guided with an Orion 60mm guidescope and QHY 5L-II mono guide camera, and a Canon EOS T3i that has been modified by removing the LPF2 filter thereby making it extremely sensitive to the wavelength of light emitted by ionized hydrogen. 40 light frames were taken at ISO 400 and 240 seconds. Dark frames, flat frames, and bias frames were collected. Image processing completed in Pixinsight 1.8 and Photoshop CC with adjustments in Lightroom.