The Heart Nebula (IC 1805) and Melotte 15

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Thursday, July 21, 2011

Photo by Ken Crawford

Cosmic clouds form fantastic shapes in the central regions of the Heart Nebula (IC 1805). Stellar winds and radiation from massive hot stars in the nebula’s newborn star cluster, Melotte 15, sculpt the gas. Only about 1.5 million years old, the cluster’s stars seem to float in the foreground of this colorful skyscape. This composite through three narrowband and three visible-band filters spans about 40 light-years. Melotte 15 and the rest of the Heart Nebula lie some 7,500 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia.

Data: 20-inch RC Optical Systems Ritchey-Chrétien reflector at f/8.3, Apogee Alta U9000 CCD camera, Hydrogen-alpha/Oxygen-II/Sulfur-II/RGB image with exposures of 12, 10,10, 1, 1, and 1 hour, respectively

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