The California Nebula (NGC 1499) in Hydrogen Alpha

California Nebula
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please click here or on image for a larger image

Magnitude:  5.0
Size: 2.7 degrees
Distance: 1000 light years
RA: 4h 03m 14s
Dec: 36 degrees 22' 03"

This is a very large and textured nebula in hydrogen alpha light.   This grayscale version permits a greater appreciation of this nebula's intricate detail and 3 dimensional appearance compared to color renditions, where subtle detail can be lost.   The large size of this object makes it difficult to capture its entire extent with the FSQ106 and CM10 combination, although I tried to frame the most interesting area containing many tendrils of hydrogen gas, associated dust regions, and shadows.   This is a deep image that shows the outer "skirt" of the nebula very well.  Please check the higher resolution view to examine this region in greater detail.  More information about this object may be found here

Photographic Details:

Dates:  October 14, 2006
Scope:  Takahashi FSQ106, on the G11 Losmandy Mount.
Autoguider:  SBIG STV with e-finder.
Camera:  Maxcam CM10.

Astronomiks 6nm Ha filter.
Exposures:  26 x 10' unbinned, total exposure 4.3 hours.
Conditions:  Temperature 45 degrees F, average transparency, average seeing; intermittent breeze; clear. 
Post-processing:  Subs were debloomed with Ron Wodaski's Debloomer software, calibrated and aligned in Maxim (using Astrometric align feature, which works very well).  Sigma combined using RC Sigma Reject, followed by DDP in ImagesPlus (IP).  Further processing in Photoshop CS (16 bit format).

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