Month: February 2023

SH 2-240 Spaghetti nebula IC 405 Flaming star nebula

The Spaghetti nebula (upper left corner) is a supernova remnant. This means, roughly 40’000 years ago, there was a massive star in the middle of the spherical conglomerate of filaments. The star ended its life in a spectacular explosion and turned into a new form – a pulsar. I knew from the beginning, that I would be chasing the ghost. Cosmic Spaghetti are a very dim nebula and to capture them one needs a wide-angle telescope, fast optics, narrow band filter, and a lot of patience. I didn’t use a telescope, but a lens Samyang 135 mm f 2.0 slowed down to f 2.8, combined with a brand new dual-narrow band Antlia filter, optimized for high-speed optics, and in total, I collected the photons for nearly 10 hours.

The much brighter nebula in the bottom right corner is called Flaming Star Nebula, cataloged under IC 405. Compared to the Spaghetti Nebula, which represents the death of the star, the Flaming Star Nebula represents the vital part of the life of the star AE Aurigae. This star radiates so strongly, that it excites surrounding hydrogen gas. Therefore it is called an emission nebula.

Visually not far away, the comet C/2022 E3 ZTF was passing around Mars, but I was not distracted by that, because I was concentrating to capture as many pictures of the Spaghetti as possible. Besides, I already captured this comet recently.

TelescopeSamyang 135 mm f2.0 @ f2.8
Aperture48 mm
Focal length135 mm
MountiOptron Skyguider Pro
AutoguidingZWO 178MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope 30/130 mm
CameraZWO ASI 6200 MC @-10 °C
FiltersAntlia Dualband High speed
Exposure113x300s, gain 100

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)

This comet is all over the internet right now. Even mainstream media are reporting about the “Neandertal” comet with the poetic name C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which visited us last time 50’000 years ago. I was somehow losing hope to see or take a picture of this comet because the weather was constantly cloudy since October. However, on Sunday 30.1.2023 the sky cleared and I had a time window till 2 o’clock when the clouds rolled in. Unfortunately, the whole event was partially ruined by the Moon in the first quarter, so the best conditions occurred after midnight when the Moon was setting. Anyway, if you want to know why it has such a name, which resembles the password of the wifi at a hotel lobby? In fact, the comet’s naming follows the conventions. The letter C stands for a non-periodic comet, 2022 is the year of discovery, E refers to the month of discovery (first half of March), number 3 means a third comet discovered in this part of the month and ZTF stands for who or what discovered the comet. This specific comet was discovered by Zwicky Transient Facility. And why the nucleus of the comet glows green? Because most of the comets contain dicarbone (C2) molecules, which break apart by solar radiation, and during this process, the energy in form of light is released at carbon specific wavelength of 518 nm, which is a green visible light.

TelescopeSharpstar 94EDPH
Aperture94 mm
Focal length414 mm
MountRainbow Astro RST 135
AutoguidingZWO 178MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope
CameraZWO 6200MC @-10°C
CorrectorF4.4 Quad Reducer
Exposure51x120s, Gain 100, bin 1×1,

And here is an animation, which goes back and forth. For half of the animation (forward movement) I used 38 frames, each 2 minutes long, which means 76 minutes in total. This gives you an idea of how quickly the comet moves with respect to the background.