Flaming Star Nebula and Meteor

September 10, 2008


Provided by: John Chumack, Miami Valley Astronomical Society
Summary Author and Editor: John Chumack

The photo above shows the Flaming Star Nebula, in the constellation Auriga, a meteor streak and the very dim Comet 46/P Wirtanen. I captured this image from my home in Dayton, Ohio via remote imaging with a telescope located in Huntsville, Alabama. I knew the comet was going through the Flaming Star Nebula complex but conditions in the Dayton area in mid-to late March were not good due to light pollution and clouds. Even with magnification, it would be difficult to bring out the faint nebula section and the 9th magnitude comet. However, the skies in Huntsville were relatively clear. Comet 46/P (lower left) is the little green ball of light in front of the faint red gas of the IC405 Flaming Nebula Complex. You'll need to click on the image to see a larger view and spot 46/P.

Photo details: Takahashi FSQ106ED Refractor telescope and STL11000M CCD. Exposure time of 15 minutes each for the red, green and blue (RGB) visible wavelengths plus 30 minutes for H-Alpha -- used for detecting emission from hydrogen atoms (a total of 90 minutes). The comet moved a little during this exposure time, but I stacked the RGB filters on the comets head and then restacked on the stars to align them.