IC2118 - The Witch Head Nebula

Reflection Nebula in a Sea of Emission Nebulosity

Uploaded 12/26/04

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 At first glance, the color balance of this image looks too red. Its not. The entire field is filled with glowing wreaths of red emission nebulosity with only a few spots where the neutral gray sky pokes through. This is one of the dimmest and most challenging of nebula for the astrophotographer to photograph. It is illuminated by the bright star to the lower left, Rigel which is bluish itself. The night was spectacularly dark and the seeing was better than 1 arcsecond.

I shot four images in a row of this object at skyfog limit, and stacked them in Picture Window Pro which stretches the curved focal plane images to a flat profile perfectly registered. The images were not summed as a CCD shot is, but rather with film you use a stack of negatives and multiply them. The net effect is a stack of negatives on al light table. The image is then reinverted and processed normally. Pix Insight was used to flatten the background with a synthetic flat field.

Instrument: 8" f/1.5 Celestron Schmidt Camera Platform: Homemade GEM Film: Kodak Supra 400 CCD Autoguider: ST4 Exposure: 4x8mins Filters: NONE Location: Happy Jack, Arizona Elevation: 6800 ft. Sky: Seeing 10/10, Transparency 10/10 Outside Temperature: -10 C Processing: Photoshop, PixInsight. HOME SCHMIDT GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS 


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