IC 1848 (Soul Nebula)

IC 1848
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

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Magnitude:  6.5 (open star cluster)
Size: about 60'
Distance: 6,150 light years
RA: 2h 51m 47s
Dec: 60 degrees 26' 08"

IC 1848 is a faint emission nebula located near IC1805.  It is sometimes referred to as the "Soul Nebula," presumably because of its juxtaposition with IC1805, which is also known as the "Heart Nebula".   On the higher magnification view, note that the central "knob" has a distinct blue-gray hue.  This suggests a reflection component, although I have not usually yet seen this in other images of this region, including my own from last year.   Please click here for more information about this object.

Photographic Details:

Date:  September 3 and 4, 2005
Scope:  Takahashi FS102 at f8, on the G11 Losmandy Mount.
Autoguider:  SBIG STV with e-finder.
Camera:  Maxcam CM10.

Astrodon Ha filter (6 nm bandpass); Astronomiks Type II  RGB filter set (color data through the IDAS-LPS filter).
Exposures:  Ha filter, 24 x 10', Red filter, 8 x 10'; Green and Blue filters, 12 x 10' (all unbinned).  Total exposure: 9.3 hours.
Conditions:  Kite string was used to create the diffraction spikes.  Temperature 60-75 degrees F; above average transparency, below average seeing; calm; clear. 
Post-processing:  This is an HaR:G:B image (i.e., no luminance channel was used) and was created as follows.  The Ha data were first subjected to a mild DDP stretch.  At this point, the Ha image lacks contrast but the signal is easily seen.  Without further manipulation, this "understretched" Ha image was combined with the R data using lighten mode at 100% opacity.  This permitted use of the entire Ha image (100% opacity), without producing an overpowering red signal, and also preserved star color.  I repeated the procedure by processing the original Ha image to reveal a bit more detail, followed by combining it with the Red channel once again (which is really an HaR combine from the first iteration).  I repeated this process for a third time to achieve the balance of color and detail seen above.  Final processing with levels and curves in PS CS.
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