Running Chicken Nebula
Emission Nebula in Centaurus

Click here for other versions: 1580x1529 40% uncropped  2567x2484 65% uncropped  3949x3821 full res uncropped
Click on image to toggle between the color version, the Ha-only version, and a color version showing the names of the more prominent cataloged objects in the field


Running Chicken Nebula, IC2948: This is a two-panel mosaic of this large emission nebula/star-forming region; it may not be clear why this nebula has the name it does, but if you ignore the blob on top of the main nebula, you can see the shape of a legless chicken flapping its wings and running toward the right of the frame. The red color of the nebulae is a result of the hydrogen gas surrounding the bright new stars being ionized by the stars. Some of the objects in this field are labeled on an image you can reach by clicking on the image above: IC2948 is the main nebula; IC2944 generally is said to be the star cluster inside IC2948, but that's not entirely clear; Lambda Centauri is a bright (mag 3) star not associated with the nebula (it's much closer to us than the nebula); GUM 39, Gum 41 and IC2872 are associated emission nebulae; NGC3766, IC2714 and Melotte 105 are star clusters in the field (but not associated with the nebulae); a nice little (literally) bonus is the tiny planetary nebula PK294-0.1; the small (a light year or so acroos) dark lumps in the nebula (easier to see in the pure Ha version than in the color version) are "Bok globules," although these particular Bok globules are called "Thackery globules" after the man who discovered these particular Bok globules. This beautiful nebula is very close to the spectacular "Eta Carinae Nebula." Estimates of its distance from Earth vary, but tend to be around 6000 light years; This field is perhaps 100 light years across.


Technical Information:

(HaL)(HaR)GB: 360:225:180:180:180 for each piece of the mosaic; Luminance layer consists of a blending of twelve 30-minute images through an Astrodon Ha filter and fifteen 15-minute images taken through an Astrodon luminance filter; red channel consists of a blending of the Ha and red-filtered data; all individual color images were 15-minute exposures through Astrodon filters. All images unbinned.

Equipment: Takahashi FSQ106 quadruplet fluorite apochromatic refractor, SBIG STL11000M with internal color filter wheel (Astrodon Generation 2 filter set), on a Bisque Paramount ME German Equatorial Mount.

Image Acquisition/Camera Control: Maxim DL, controlled with ACP, working in concert with TheSky v6.

Processing: All images calibrated (darks and dawn flats), aligned, combined and deconvolved (Ha and L data only) in CCDStack. Color combine in Photoshop. Finish work (curves and levels, adjustment of contrast, and high pass filter/layer mask of Ha and Luminance layers) was done in Photoshop CS5.

Image Scale: 3.5 arcseconds per pixel in the full-resolution version. The image on this page is 25% of full resolution.

Location: Data acquired remotely from Fair Dinkum Skies, Moorook, South Australia.

Date: Images taken on many nights in March and April 2013. Image posted April 9, 2013.

Copyright 2013 Mark de Regt

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