Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405)

Flaming Star Nebula – Jan 2022

The Flaming Star nebula lies in the constellation of Auriga, in an area rich in nebulae and star clusters. This is primarily an emission nebula, which means it shines by the light of ionised Hydrogen, giving it a deep red colour. However there is a small patch of reflection nebula surrounding the star AE Auriga in the centre of the nebula structure. The nebula lies about 1,500 light years away and is about 5 light years across.   The star AE Auriga is responsible for ionising the nebula, and although it is only about 6th magnitude in our skies, it shines with a real luminosity 59,000 times that of our sun.  However the association of star and nebula is only temporary as AE Auriga is passing through the nebula and was not formed from it. In fact, it appears that the star originated from the belt region of Orion, but was ejected from its parent star cluster by some gravitational interaction.

The image above is a combined H-Alpha RGB image. Most of the exposure time was spent gathering H-alpha data under a full moon, which creates a mono image. This mono image was then used as a luminosity layer to provide detail to a relatively short full colour exposure. This technique allows astrophotography to be performed even under a full moon, making the most use of the relatively scarce clear nights.

The two sets of data were stacked using Deep Sky Stacker, then processed and combined in Photoshop.


Image Details

  • Date: H-Alpha – 5th Jan 2022, RGB – 11th & 12th Jan 2022.
  • Exposure Details: H-alpha – 47 x 900s (11hr 45min), F6, ISO400, 432mm Focal Length. RGB – 41 x 300s (3hr 25min), F4, ISO400, 300mm Focal Length.
  • Total Integration Time: 15hr 10min.
  • Camera: Canon EOS100D (modified).
  • Telescope: H-Alpha – Altair Astro 72EDF at 432mm focal length, RGB – Canon 300mm F4L Lens.
  • Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5.
  • Guide Scope: Altair Astro 60mm.
  • Guide Camera: QHY5LII.
  • Filters: H-alpha – Baader 7nm H-alpha 2 inch Filter. RGB – Astronomik CLS Clip-In Filter.

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