Sunday, January 12, 2014

2013 Parting Shots

Between the weather and various projects, I haven't had a lot of time to dedicate to astronomy recently. I did, however, set aside a few hours during some near-perfect conditions one night over the Christmas break. It turned out to be one of those rare sessions when nearly everything went perfectly--setup went quickly and smoothly, alignment was good, I found the targets quickly, and the images came out better than I expected.

This first image is of the Heart Nebula, IC 1805, located in the constellation Cassiopeia. This is a large and difficult target for my equipment. I was surprised that it turned out as well as it did. The brighter part in the lower-right corner is cataloged as NGC 896. It was discovered before the rest of the nebula. (The Index Catalog is an extension to the New General Catalog of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, and contains many objects that were too dim to see when the NGC was made.)

Heart Nebula, IC 1805 (and NGC 896); ST80 on Vixen SP; Canon EOS Rebel T3; 15x120 at ISO-3200

This is the Monkey Head Nebula (NGC 2174), located in Orion. It surrounds open cluster NGC 2175. I don't see this object being imaged very often, so I figured that it would be fairly difficult to pick up on the camera. It was surprisingly bright, though. I really like the contrast between the red emission and white reflection regions.

Monkey Head Nebula (NGC 2174) and open cluster NGC 2175; ST80 on Vixen SP; Canon EOS Rebel T3; 18x180 at ISO-1600
One of my favorite images of the Monkey Head Nebula is located over at Polaris B.


  1. These are beautiful, Rory! I'm so pleased to see it called the Monkey Head! Your T3i is picking up a very decent amount of hydrogen emission. I think the color of it here is perfect.

    1. Yes, I see the Monkey Head now. :) My camera is actually the T3. I chose it over the T3i because it was a little cheaper, but mostly because it produces less noisy images than the T3i.