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Thursday, February 10, 2011

IC 1848, the "Soul Nebula"

IC 1848, the "Soul Nebula"
Ra 02h 51m 36.24s Dec +60° 26′ 53.9"

Image is in HST-palette, (HST=Hubble Space Telescope)
from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.
Star colors are mixed from the NB channels, Red=H-a, G=O-III and B= 85%O-III + 15%H-a.

It was clear last night for a while. I have shot lots of longer focal length images at last couple of winters.
This time I used a Tokina AT-x 300mm camera lens at full aperture, f2.8, coupled with a QHY9 astronomical camera. This lens delivers image with a spatial resolution of 3,83 arc seconds/pixel and the field of field is 
213' x 159' (3,55 x 2,65 degrees). There is now a QHY filter wheel attached, focusing is done by the FocuMax software and a DIY focusing mechanism for camera lenses. Image of it can be seen here:
I had lots of problem with this image. First of all, the CCD was not perfectly perpendicular to an optical axle,
I'll fix that tonight. Secondly my old Meade has some looseness in Ra mechanism, I think it's simply worn out, guiding was very jumpy due that.

Soul Nebula, (Sh2-199, LBN 667) is an emission nebula in constellation Cassiopeia. IC 1848 is a cluster inside Soul Nebula. Distance is about 7.500 light years. This complex is a Eastern neighbor of IC 1805, the "Heart Nebula" and they are often mentioned together as Heart and Soul. 

Here is an older image, showing both objects:

Colors for this new image are taken from this older image.

Natural color composition from the emission of ionized elements, R=80%Hydrogen+20%Sulfur, G=100%Oxygen and B=85%Oxygen+15%Hydrogen to compensate otherwise missing H-beta emission. This composition is very close to a visual spectrum.

Processing work flow:
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack. 
Deconvolution with a CCDSharp, 20 iteration, added at 50% weight.
Levels, curves and color combine in PS CS3.

Tokina AT-a 300mm f2.8 @ f2.8
Platform and guiding, Meade LX200 GPS 12" @ f5
Camera, QHY9
Guider, Lodestar
Image Scale, 3,83 arcseconds/pixel

Baader H-alpha 7nm 11x1200s, binned 1x1
Other channels are from older image:

An image showing the size of this object compared to a full Moon.
(Full moon has a diameter of 30', that's 0,5 degrees)

Two older closeup images of the Soul Nebula.

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