October deep sky: Nebulae and more

Red cloud and blue star at top left, white and blue clouds with black dust bottom right.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Basudeb Chakrabarti in Kolkata, India, captured this photo of the Flame and Orion nebulas on September 23, 2021. Basudeb wrote: “I live in Kolkata, India, near the international airport, which is a highly light-polluted area. The air pollution is also very high in the area. Due to this, for most days of the year, I can’t even see Polaris from my place. I get a few lucky nights after rain when I can do some DSO. This is one of those lucky nights after a shower on 26th September, 2021, from my terrace.” Thank you, Basudeb!

October deep sky photos

Explore the depths of October’s deep sky with these amazing photos taken by photographers and friends of EarthSky. You, too, can spot the Orion and Flame nebulas in Orion and the Heart and Soul Nebulas in Cassiopeia from dark-sky locations.

Heart and Soul nebulas

Blue centers with red glowing outlines and black background.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Jeffrey Horne in Nashville, Tennessee, captured this photo of the Heart and Soul nebulas on October 11, 2021. He wrote: “One of my favorite things about astrophotography is “surprises” that show up in images. I lined up the Heart and Soul nebulas (aptly named) in the frame, and started my exposures. All was going as planned, until about 10 hours into taking this image, when a pale blue smudge started showing up on the bottom/right of the frame. I initially thought it was a blemish/internal reflection that was causing unwanted errors in the image, but after a little research I found that it was another nebula…the Bear Claw Nebula. It’s the little things in life, you know? The ones that are hundreds of light-years wide!” Thank you, Jeffrey!

These beautiful nebulas lie in the constellation Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia is an easy-to-spot constellation in the shape of the letter W. The Heart Nebula is sometimes called the Running Dog Nebula. What does this star-forming region look like to you?

The Ghost of Cassiopeia

Orangish floating blob against starry background.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Patrick Prokop in Savanna, Georgia, captured this photo of the Ghost of Cassiopeia on October 23, 2021. He wrote: “With Halloween coming up, I thought the Ghost of Cassiopeia is appropriate to view, particularly with the pumpkin-orange hue to the nebulosity.” Thank you, Patrick!

The perfect spooky scene for an October evening, the Ghost of Cassiopeia is a cloud of gas and dust radiating by the light of a variable star. The Ghost lies 550 light-years away near the central star in the W-shape of Cassiopeia.

Bottom line: EarthSky readers shared amazing deep-sky photographs with us. The Helix Nebula in Aquarius, Orion and Flame nebulas in Orion, and Heart and Soul nebulas in Cassiopeia and more are great observing targets for October.

October 22, 2021

Like what you read?
Subscribe and receive daily news delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will only be used for EarthSky content. Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More from 

Kelly Kizer Whitt

View All