Friday, October 31, 2014

Pacman detected

In the constellation of queen Cassiopeia among Milky Way stars there is one of many H II regions called Pacman Nebula for its resemblance of the video game character. 
Nebula has symbol NGC281. It was discovered in 1883 by E.E. Barnard, who described it as "a large faint nebula, very diffuse". The nebula is visible in amateur telescopes under dark sky. 

NGC281 is a star formation region. Inside there is young open star cluster IC1590 that contains hot, blue stars. It is placed about 9500 light years from Earth in Perseus spiral arm of our Galaxy. The largest Bok globule in Pacman nebula is about 2.6 light years large.
Picture above is shot in hydrogen alpha emission line, so you can see how the actual hydrogen clouds that are excited to shine with nearby hot stars.
Another one is close up of some Bok globules:

The first picture in this entry is false bicolor composition with additional frames made in oxygen emission lines.

Clear skies!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Elephant in red

Elephant's Trunk nebula is a part of IC1396 complex that contains both open star cluster and surrounding nebulosity. All this goods can be found in Cepheus, and the complex is about 2700 light years away. This region is pretty large - its apparent diameter is about three degrees, that is six times more than apparent diameter of the Moon.


The dark, dense globula IC1396A is commonly called the Elephant's Trunk because of its appearance at visible light wavelengths. The bright tim is the surface of the dense cloud that is beeing illuminated and ionized by very bright, massive star just to the west of the nebula. 

This star is multiple one - its members are hot, young and blue stars that emits most if its energy in UV light, ant this light causes the hydrogen molecules to shine in deep, red hue.
Elephant's Trunk nebula is supposed to be a star formation region. The IR pictures revealed a few very young stars in there (younger than 100,000 years).

Clear skies!

C/2014 E2 Jacques

This comet also currently moves away from Earth. You can see how faint it appears on the picture below (marked with red lines). At the moment the picture has been taken the comet was placed about 320 mln km both from Earth and Sun.

The globular cluster in the corner is NGC6760 about 24,000 light years away. One may wonder why so many stars in the field? Well, the frame is placed in the constellation of Aquila - all these stars belong to our Milky Way.

Monday, October 20, 2014

C/2011 J2 LINEAR

C/2011 J2 LINEAR is a comet, just another one, not very famous. Discovered in May, 2011 in LINEAR program. It had then apparent brightness of 19.7mag. Comet has not approched much Sun - the closest distance between comet and Sun was about 3.4AU (1AU is about 150mln km). 

Above is the two frames made in February, 2014. And below is negative stack 5x5 minutes:
It is actually possible to imagine a comet tail, if you try a little :)
And yesterday I made my last picture of this comet. It is currently escaping back to the space. Currently it is over 500 mln km from Earth:
In September, 2014 several astronomers discovered the fact comet ncule splitting. You can read more about it at http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/2014/09/19/c2011-j2-linear-nucleus-splitting/ page.

Clear skies!