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Question in the Sky

Here is the latest colourful capture from the Bent Nail Observatory here in Guelph.



This region in the constellation Cepheus contains a few different objects at vastly different distances from us. The collection appear close together at first glance and have the nickname The Question Mark Nebula. Let's break things down to understand what's really going on here.

The Little Rosette Nebula, or Sh2-170, is a lesser-known celestial wonder that is about 7,500 light years from us. Resembling a flower in the vastness of space, this emission nebula offers a mesmerizing view of star formation in action. There is an open star cluster called Stock 18 at the heart of this nebula, and one of the stars in that cluster is ionizing this huge expanse of gas, causing it to glow. We can clearly see red, indicating hydrogen, however green (shifting the red to yellow) and blue (shifting the red to magenta) indicate that sulfur and oxygen gasses are also present.

NGC7822 aka Sharpless 171 is an emission nebula that spans a region of about 50 light-years and is located approximately 3,000 light-years away from Earth. It contains the young star cluster Berkeley 59 which is a site of active star formation. The intense radiation from the young stars in Berkeley 59 is causing the surrounding nebula to glow, resulting in the emission we see and actually carves out cavities in the gas and dust, creating a landscape of pillars, ridges, and valleys - a cosmic playground where stars come to life.

NGC7762 is an open star cluster that is 7,900 light-years from Earth. It is relatively young, with an estimated age of about 315 million years. The stars that make it up are bound together by gravitational forces, and they all rotate around a central area. As you observe NGC7762, you're not just seeing a cluster of stars, but a family of suns, each with its own unique story.


Without going into too much detail, this image was made with the wide field rig which is a Vixen VSD100D coupled to a Central DS 5DMkIV. There were 90 minutes total exposure with an LPro filter and 2.5 hours through each of the Hydrogen, Sulfur and Oxygen narrowband filters which was stacked and corrected in Pixinsight.


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