The California Nebula (NGC 1499)

Posted by azindarkskies
on Friday, November 25, 2011

The California Nebula (NGC1499) is an emission  nebula located in the constellation Perseus. It is so named because it appears to resemble the outline of the State of California on long exposure photographs. Its characteristic glow of atomic hydrogen gas is powered by ultraviolet light from luminous blue star Xi Persei.  The area around this star is the only trace of OIII in the FOV. The nebula is almost 2.5° long on the sky and, because of its very low surface brightness it is extremely difficult to observe visually. It can be observed with a H-Beta filter (isolates the H-Beta line at 486 nm) in a rich-field telescope under dark skies. It lies at a distance of about 1,000 light-years from Earth. The image represents 14 hours of exposure in the narrowband Ha,OIII,& SII filters using a Takahashi FSQ106ED refractor telescope and a QSI583wsg CCD camera. An Astro-Physics Mach 1 German Equatorial Mount and a Starlight Express Lodestar was used for tracking and guiding during the long exposures.

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