RCW 86 Supernova Remnant

RCW 86 Supernova Remnant

Bright Southwest Section

Constellation: Centaurus
Ra: 14h 40m 32s
Dec: -62d 38m 32s
Distance: 3000 light years ??
Image Size: 27.4' x 27.4'
North: Up; East Left



Supernova Remnant (SNR) RCW 86 (G 315.2-2.3) is a large 40′ shell in the southern constellation of Centaurus near the bright star Alpha Centauri.  It is thought to originate from a supernova observed in A.D. 185, which is the first historical report of a Galactic supernova. It is one of the brightest SNRs observed in X-Rays in our Galaxy.  Its full size based upon the radio data is larger than our field-of-view, so the bright southwest (SW) section was imaged with 18.5 hours of H-a and OIII data.  Its distance has been a subject of great debate, ranging from about 3,000 – 10,000 light years. It’s age is estimated to be 1,800 years.


The image above is about 27 x 27′.  North is up and East is left.  H-a  was color-mapped to red/magenta and OIII to blue-green with short RGB data for star colors. The image below is an H-a map from R.C. Smith (Astron. J., “The Discovery of Balmer-Filaments Encircling SNR RWC 86”, v114, No. 6, 1997, p 2666) that shows the full SNR.  My image captured SW1, W2b and W1r, which are annotated on my image below Smith’s image.   A most unusual imaging target.



RCW86_Southwest Annotated

Exposure: 20 hrs Total: 10 hrs H-a, 8.5hrs OIII, 1.5hrs RGB
Telescope: PlaneWave CDK20 0.5m f/6.8
Mount: PlaneWave Ascension 200h
Oag: Astrodon MonsterMOAG
Acquisition: ACP8-Expert
Calibration: CCDStackV2
Observatory Site: iTelescope.net, Siding Spring, NSW, Australia
Camera: SBIG STX16803
Filters: Astrodon 5 nm H-a, 3 nm OIII, Gen2 E-Series RGB
Guider: SBIG ST-i
Camera Operation: MaximDL4.23
Processing: Photoshop CC2015
Image Date: 03/21/2016 - 04/02/2016

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