Witch Head Nebula (IC 2118)

IC 2118
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

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FOV: Approximately 6 x 6
RA (J2000): 05h 09m 48s
Dec (J2000): Minus 08 degrees 18' 31"
Position Angle: 179 degrees

This is a 5 hour exposure of the Witch Head Nebula (IC2118), a large and very faint reflection nebula in the constellation Eridanus, taken through the Samyang 135mm f2.0 lens (stopped down to f3.1 using step down rings) and a full-spectrum modified Canon T7i DSLR. The nebula is located left of center, and Rigel is the bright star located right of center.  The molecular cloud that forms this nebula contains carbon monoxide, which is a surrogate marker of molecular hydrogen and a characteristic of stellar nurseries such as those common in the Orion OB1 complex
Although IC2118 is a reflection nebula that is often portrayed as more blue in color due to preferential scattering of blue light by dust particles within the molecular cloud, in my image the nebula clearly has a reddish hue.  In my location in a suburb of Boston, MA, IC2118 was as low as 26 degrees at the start of the session and rose to only 40 degrees altitude during this image.  Thus, I suspect that the low altitude of this target in my location has resulted in atmospheric extinction of blue light, with relative enhancement of red and, to a lesser extent, green light.  More information about this region can be found on  Rob Gendler's website.

Photographic Details:

Dates:  November 28, 2022.
Scope:  Samyang 135mm f2.0 prime lens on the Skywatcher Star Adventurer portable tracker.
Autoguider:  ASI178M with the SvBony 30mm guidescope (focal length 120mm, f4).  PhD2 was used for guiding.
Camera:  Self-modified Canon T7i (full spectrum).

Astronomik CLS-CCD clip on EOS filter.
Exposures:  60 second subs for a total of 5 hours data.
Processing:  PixInsight for Preprocessing (WBPP and NSG scripts) .  Photoshop for Postprocessing.

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