The Trifid nebula, whose name means “divided in 3 lobes” is an amateur favorite. An island of HII region which is the red portion (HII regions are emission nebulae created when young, massive stars ionise nearby hydrogen gas clouds with high-energy UV radiation causing the gas to emit red light) , a blue “reflection “portion which occurs when light of the nearby massive blue stars reflects off of the dust, and a “dark nebula” portion which divides the nebula into its 3 lobes. There is also an open cluster of stars in the field. The Trifid is 5000 light years away toward the center of out galaxy, hence the very dense surrounding star fields and dust.
I completed my test of the Tak FS120 imaging capability and you can see the result below. I was pretty happy with it, especially considering the very modest set up I am using (see last entry) . For the full resolution image you can click on the thumbnail on the right side of the blog under “my astroimages”. I am looking forward to more projects with it!
Until next time. Thanks for reading!
M20, the Trifid. Single raw image 5 minutes.
This is the fully processed result! 33 x 5 minutes or close to 3 hours of data. I tried not to overprocess it but to preserve the natural nebula colors and bring out the background dust behind the dense star fields.
Orion the Hunter arrives heralding the start of Winter in the northern hemisphere. He brings with him a host of glorious star-forming regions of our galaxy. Finally I believe I can complete an imaging project on the popular Horsehead nebula which I have been trying for years now. Back on the east coast Orion is fairly low on the horizon and the Horsehead is at the lower end of Orion’s belt so not a particularly favorable target. Here in the Southwest it is better positioned. I have been able to finally test my 3nm HA (hydrogen alpha) filter! It’s a perfect target for that with the broad emission nebula behind the dust.
Constellation Orion which dominates the winter sky in the northern hemisphere. Arrow points to the approximate location of the Horsehead nebula
Single 15 min raw image of the Horsehead taken with SBIG6303E and Astrodon 3nm HA filter!