Photo of the Week for February 9, 2018
What counts as a showpiece deep-sky object? There was a time when such things were defined strictly by how they appeared in the eyepiece of a modest telescope. As large-aperture instruments became more common, the list rapidly expanded to include sights that were once regarded as difficult. And now, as the capabilities of backyard astrophotographers grow by leaps and bounds, we have a whole new roster of deep-sky wonders to marvel at—objects that photograph well, but may not be visually compelling. The Heart Nebula (IC1805) in Cassiopeia is a perfect example. The Heart is a stunner photographically, but too big and faint to impress even in a monster Dobsonian—that is, if you can see it at all.
This richly detailed photo of the Heart Nebula was captured by Nepean, Ontario, imager Oleg Bouevitch. He used a Takahashi FSQ 106 EDX III astrographic telescope with a 0.73× focal reducer (for a working focal ratio of f/3.65) and Atik 383L+ CCD camera to acquire a total of 14½ hours exposure through Astrodon narrowband filters.
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