Tarantula Nebula

Tarantula Nebula

Bright Emission Nebula in the LMC

Constellation: Dorado
Ra: 5hr 38m 38s
Dec: -69d 05m 39s
Distance: 160,000 light years
Image Size: 35' x 35'
North: Lower left



The Tarantula Nebula is an incredibly bright emission nebula located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) in the southern constellation of Dorado with an apparent magnitude of +8 at a distance of 160,000 light years. It is huge, being nearly 640 light years across. It is also known as 30 Doradus, Caldwell 103 and NGC 2070. It is the most active region of star formation in our local group of galaxies. This image is a bit larger than 1/2 degree square. North is to the lower left. Supernova 1987A occurred at the edge of the Tarantula.
This image shows the incredibly intricate and varied structure from the use of narrowband filters that significantly increase structural contrast. Similar to the Hubble Space Telescope’s (HST) "Pillars of Creation", this is a false color image, where hydrogen (H-a), oxygen (OIII) and sulfur (SII) emissions are color-mapped to green, blue and red, respectively.
For comparison, I’ve remapped the color to represent "natural" color in the image below which has been cropped and rotated to the conventional north being up. This version would be closer to what would be obtained with RGB filters, except the detail is much greater using narrowband filters.

Exposure: 17.5hrs Total: 5.5hrs each NB, 1hr RGB
Telescope: PlaneWave CDK20 20in f/6.8
Mount: PlaneWave Ascension 200h
Oag: Astrodon MonsterMOAG
Acquisition: CCDAutoPilot5
Calibration: CCDStack
Observatory Site: Siding Spring, iTelescope.net, NSW, Australia
Camera: Apogee U16M
Filters: Astrodon 3 nm OIII, 3 nm SII, 5 nm H-a, RGB
Guider: SBIG ST-i
Camera Operation: Maxim 5.24
Processing: Photoshop CC, PixInsight 1.8
Image Date: 10/26/2013 - 10/31/2013

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