February 14, 2008
The photo above shows the appropriately named Heart Nebula (IC 1805), in the constellation of Cassiopeia. This very faint, quite large and alluring nebula, a rim of expanding gas expelled from the cluster of stars near the center of the "heart," is much too distant and too dim to be visible with the unaided eye, binoculars or small telescope. A large aperture telescope is required to observe such an object. The Heart Nebula lies about 7,500 light years away. It glows in red (magenta) light emitted by hydrogen. Three nights of viewing and a total of 5.5 hours of imaging were needed to finally capture the Heart Nebula. Photo taken in late January (2008).
Photo details: Takahashi 4" refractor telescope with field flattener, SBIG STL11000 CCD camera, and Software Bisque Paramount ME Robotic Telescope mount. Though the scope is located in Huntsville, Alabama, I remotely operated it from Dayton, Ohio.