The California Nebula - 1st Edition


Technical Details This one of a kind image of The California Nebula Captured recently in color and Hydrogen Alpha using a QHY600 60 Megapixel Full Frame Monochrome CMOS camera mounted on a Takahashi 130 FSQ APO Refractor telescope at Grand Mesa Observatory, Western Colorado. Comprised using Color and H-Alpha filters captured over 4 nights in January, February and March 2021 for a total exposure time of 8.1 hours. Color 280 min 35 x 120 sec HA 210 min 21 x 600 sec Filters by Chroma Camera: QHY600 Monochrome CMOS Photographic version Gain 60, Offset 76 in Read Mode Photographic 16 bit (same for 2x2) Calibrated with Dark, Bias and Flat Frames Optics: Walter Holloway's Takahashi FSQ 130 APO Refractor @ F5 Image Scale: 1x1 = 1.19 arcsec/pix Image Scale: 2x2 = 2.38 arcsec/pix Field of View: 3d 7' 41.0" x 2d 3' 5.3 (127.3 x 190.1 arcmin) EQ Mount: Paramount ME Image Acquisition software Maxim DL6, Pre Processing and Starnet in Pixinsight Post Processed in Photoshop CC About the Object While the main and most prominent object in this image is the Glowing emission in the California Nebula, so named as it resembles the outline of the state of California. In this image there is also so much faint dust and an abundance of distant galaxies visible if you know where to look. It only takes 1000 years for light to reach us from the California Nebula, yet in this very same image we are looking at photons that left the distant elliptical galaxy IC 2027 287 over a million years ago (the faint galaxy IC 2027 is visible as a red smudge in the bottom right hand corner of the image). You can see it easier and many other distant galaxies in this annotated version of The California Nebula. Before the late 19th century, astronomers had little idea about the nature of emission nebulae like the California Nebula but through the first half of the 1800’s, it became clear that nebula were not composed of stars but of some shining “celestial fluid”. Few ventured a guess about the nature of this fluid, or of stars themselves. The French philosopher Auguste Comte used the composition of celestial bodies as an example of knowledge that was forever beyond human reach. In 1835 he said of stars, “never, by any means, will we be able to study their chemical composition”

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