A perfect image for Valentine’s Day!
Joshua Rhoades of Elkhart, Illinois, took this photo of the Heart Nebula, a large cloud of ionized hydrogen gas illuminated by the numerous young, hot stars embedded in it.
The Heart Nebula is an emission nebula – a nebula formed of ionized gases that emit light of various wavelengths – with glowing gas and darker dust lanes. It’s located some 7,500 light-years away, in the Perseus Arm of our Milky Way galaxy, in the direction of the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.
Here are some tech details from Joshua about his image:
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.
Forty 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.
Thanks, Joshua, and happy Valentine’s Day to all!
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.