Fire in the Cat’s Paw Nebula

Deep H-alpha image of the Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334) in Scorpius obtained from my backyard, 15 km from Sydney’s city centre.

This image combines 40 frames I got during some few nights during late September and early October 2020 using the ZWO ASI1600MM Pro and the H-alpha Baader 3.5nm ultra-narrow filter.

All frames had an exposition time of 900s (15 minutes), hence this image combines a total of 10 hours of telescope time!

Telescope: Skywatcher Black Diamond 80, f=600mm (f/7.5)

Equipment: I used the ZWO ASIAir to control the camera, the mount (Skywatcher AZ-EQ6) and the guiding system (ASI120MM + Orion 50mm finderscope). The H-alpha filter was in the ZWO filter drawer.

Processing: Data processed with Siril software. FITS converted on TIFF using NASA’s Fits Liberator considering a logarithmic function. Color / saturation / levels / contrast / smart sharpen with Photoshop.

For this image I decided to give some false colour instead of just the greyscale image, I used Photoshop to get the kind of “fire” aspect to the gas in the nebulae.

I would love to get some data in broad-band filters to get the colours, but I’m afraid this will have to wait till next year, as Scorpius is already a bit too low over the western horizon, and some palm tress block the view from my backyard.

Full resolution image in my Flickr.

Credit: Ángel R. López-Sánchez (AAO-MQ).


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