IC443 Supernova Remnant in Hydrogen Alpha

IC443 in Ha
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please click here or on image for a higher resolution image.
Please click here for a vertical view.

Magnitude:  Approximately 12.0
Size: 50'
Distance: 5000 light years
RA: 6h 17m 49s
Dec: 22 degrees 49' 00"

IC443 is a beautiful supernova remnant in the constellation Gemini, produced by a supernova explosion thought to have occurred about 30,000 years ago.   X-ray emissions are produced by a neutron star hidden deep within the nebula, which is all that remains of the original star.  The neutron star is highly dense and rapidly rotating, representing the end stage of a star with between 1.4 and 3 solar masses.   In addition to hydrogen, the nebula is comprised of other more complex elements such as oxygen, silicon, carbon, and iron, which were created during the star's lifetime through
nuclear fusion .  These elements may someday become part of a solar system that could support life.  Please click here for a vertical view that demonstates why this object is sometimes referred to as the "Jellyfish Nebula."

Photographic Details:

Date:  February 27, 2004
Scope:  Takahashi Sky 90 at f4.5 with field flattener/focal reducer, piggybacked on LX90 (which is mounted on a Meade Superwedge).
Autoguider:  STV with e-finder.
Camera:  SXV-H9.
Filter:  Astronomik Ha.
Exposures:  19 x 5' for a total of 95' exposure.
Conditions:  Temperature 25-30 degrees F; average transparency; below average seeing; intermittent breeze (enough to interfere with a few exposures).
No dark or bias frames used.  Two-star aligned in MaximDL; Sigma combine using RC Sigma Reject MaximDL, followed by DDP adjustment in ImagesPlus.  Levels and curves adjustments in Photoshop CS.  Smoothing performed using the Neat Image plug in (v3.17 Pro Plus), followed by selective unsharp masking of certain areas.  This is a relatively faint object that required some work to coax out the delicate tendrils of gas without saturating the stars or increasing background noise.

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