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Astrophotography by Bob Franke

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IC 2118 The Witch Head Nebula

 

Click the image for a larger view.
 

Instrument

Takahashi FSQ-106ED @ f/5.0 (530 mm F.L.) Captured at 2.1 arcsec/pixel.  Shown at 4.2 and 10.66 arcsec/pixel.

Mount

Losmandy G11 with Gemini L4 v1.0

Camera

SBIG STF-8300M Self Guiding Package w/ mono ST-i, using Baader LRGB filters.

Acquisition Data

2/5/2013 to 11/9/2013 Chino Valley, AZ... with CCDAutoPilot5 & CCDSoft.

Exposure

 Lum 525 min. (35 x 15 min. bin 1x1)

Red

120 min. (8 x 15 min. each bin 1x1)

Green

135 min. (9 x 15 min. each bin 1x1)

Blue

165 min. (11 x 15 min. each bin 1x1)

Software & Processing Notes

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

  • eXcalibrator v4.2 for (g:r) color balancing, using 59 stars from the SDSS-DR9 database.

  • CCDStack to calibrate, register, normalize, data reject, combine the sub exposures and to create the RGB and luminance image.

  • PixInsight for color gradient removal, and initial non-linear stretching.

  • PhotoShop for the LRGB combine & final touch-up.

  • Noiseware 5, a PhotoShop plug-in.

Comment

The nebula is shown rotated 180, with North to the bottom.

 

IC 2118, also known as the Witch Head Nebula, is a faint reflection nebula in the constellation Eridanus, at a distance of about 900 light-years from Earth. The nearby bright star Rigel illuminates the nebula. Although Rigel is a blue star, IC 2118 gets much of its blue color because the gas and dust scatter blue light more so than red. This same effect makes our sky appear blue.

 

Observations, at radio wavelengths, show areas of carbon monoxide emission throughout parts of IC 2118. This indicates the presence of molecular clouds and star formation within the nebula.