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Hal Heaton

Location of Photo:

Chilescope-Telescope 4

Date/Time of photo:

February 4th and 6th, 2020


Telescope: Unguided Very Small Telescope; Camera: Unbinned FLI Microline 16200 fitted with a Nikkor 200:2 telephoto lens (100 mm aperture, f/2); Filters: Red, Green, Blue, H-alpha, OIII; Exposure time: 3-min


The Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) shines prominently in the midst of the southern Milky Way from a distance of nearly 8500 lys, based on GAIA DR-2 data. Powered by young bright stars, including the enigmatic variable Eta Carina containing more than 100 solar masses, and prior supernovae, it is one of the largest star-forming regions in the Galaxy. Writing in the March 2020 issue of Sky & Telescope (pp. 22-29), Tony Flanders noted that the nebula lies in the next (i.e., Sagittarius) spiral arm in toward the Galactic center from ours “… directly behind one of the densest concentrations of naked-eye star clusters in our own arm,” which themselves “ … are embedded in an extremely rich star field.” That richness is evident in this new image, which was processed using CCDStack2 and Photoshop CC 2019. Channel means produced by stacking the calibrated images for 24-min (only 12-min of Red data were acquired) were used to make a synthetic Luminance frame that was colored subsequently by an Ha and OIII-enhanced RGB image. After additionally adjusting the color, that result was high-pass filtered and noise reduced. The final image spans 7.9 x 6.3 deg, corresponding to 1166 x 933 lys at the adopted distance; it is oriented so that north is down and east is to the right.


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