NGC 1499 - The California Nebula in Hydrogen-Alpha light


Copyright 2009 Hap Griffin

Known as NGC 1499, the California Nebula is so named because of its loose resemblance to the shape of the state.  Radiation from the hot blue-white main sequence star Xi Persei, shown at the bottom-right, causes this huge cloud of hydrogen to fluoresce.  This emission nebula covers a large patch of sky over two degrees long and is sometimes faintly visible to the naked eye from very dark locations.  It lies at a distance of 1000 light years.

This image was captured through a narrowband filter admitting only a narrow slice of spectrum around the wavelength of glowing hydrogen.  Thus it is a monochrome (single color) image displayed as shades of grey.

Click HERE for a full resolution version.

  Click HERE for a color version.


Date/Location:    November 27, 2009     Griffin/Hunter Observatory    Bethune, SC
Camera: QSI 583wsg
Filters: Astrodon E Series Generation 2 HA (5nm BW)
CCD Temperature: -20 C
Instrument:    Takahashi FSQ-106N 
Focal Ratio:   f/5
Mount: AP-1200
Guiding:    Auto via the QSI camera's built in Off-Axis Guider mirror and a SX Lodestar Guider
Conditions:    Clear and cold with 70% moon
Weather:    40 F - 32F, still
Exposure: 160 minutes total (8 x 20 min)
Capture: CCDAutopilot 4 w/ Maxim DL Camera Control, focused automatically w/ FocusMax and Robofocus.  
Processing:    Frame calibrations, alignment, initial DDP with ImagesPlus v3.80.  Finishing in Photoshop CS4.