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Astrophotography by Bob Franke

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IC 405 The Flaming Star Nebula


Click the image for a larger view.


Takahashi FSQ-106ED @ f/5.0 (530 mm F.L.) Captured at 2.1 arcsec/pixel.  Shown at 4.2 and 9.38 arcsec/pixel.


Losmandy G11 with Gemini L4 v1.0


SBIG STF-8300M Self Guiding Package w/ mono ST-i, using AstroDon SII, Ha and OIII filters.

Acquisition Data

11/10/2013 to 1/29/2014 Chino Valley, AZ... with CCDAutoPilot5 & CCDSoft.


 SII 480 min. (32 x 15 min. bin 1x1)
 Ha 360 min. (24 x 15 min. bin 1x1)


435 min. (29 x 15 min. bin 1x1)

Click here for the LRGB color image.

Click here for an Ha filtered b/w image.

Software & Processing Notes

  • CCDSoft, CCDStack, Photoshop CS6, PixInsight and Noel Carboni's actions.

  • CCDStack to calibrate the sub exposures.

  • PixInsight for registration and stacking the sub exposures, and the initial non-linear stretching.

  • PhotoShop for the RGB combine & color balance touch-up.

  • Noiseware 5, a PhotoShop plug-in.


The nebula is shown with North to the top.


IC 405 (also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, SH 2-229, or Caldwell 31) is an emission/reflection nebula in the constellation Auriga, about 1,500 light-years from Earth. The rippling dust and gas lanes surround the star AE Aurigae and give the impression that the star is aflame... hence the nebula's popular name.

The star, AE Aurigae, creates the red glow by energizing the nebula's hydrogen. The blush areas are created by dust that scatters and reflects the stars blue light.


The colors use the Hubble Palette, where SII, Ha and OIII filters are mapped to the red, green and blue channels respectively. In spite of using a 3nm OIII filter, the camera captured almost no data for the blue channel.  Therefore, this is essentially a bi-color image.