Pencil Nebula
Part of the Vela Supernova Remnant

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NGC2736 is a small piece of a supernova remnant in the constellation Vela (in the sky in the southern hemisphere). A supernova is a dramatic event that happens when a very massive star (at least 8 times the mass of our sun) runs out of fusionable material and collapses into its core, triggering a massive explosion. This explosion results in a brightness that exceeds the total brightness of a typical galaxy. The outer part of the star is expelled at great velocity; the Vela supernova initially had a velocity of some millions of miles per hour, and has since slowed (as it has gathered other space dust) to about 400,000 miles per hour. This explosion was seen in our sky about 11,000 years ago, and took place only about 815 light years from Earth; it would have been easily visible during the daytime on Earth. The pencil nebula is about 5 light years long.

The supernova remnant is formed as the shock wave from the explosion gathers in interstellar dust, explaining its delicate, curvy shape. The dramatic colors are the result of ionized hydrogen (the reddish hue) and ionized oxygen (the blueish hue).


Technical Information:

(LHaOIII)(RHa)(GOIII)(BOIII): Luminance layer consists of a blend of thirty 15-minute images through the luminance filter, twenty-two 30-minute images through an Ha filter, and thirteen 30-minute images through an OIII filter; Red channel consists of a blend of fifteen 15-minute images through the Red filter and the Ha data; Green channel consists of a blend of fifteen 15-minute images through the Green filter and the OIII data; Blue channel consists of a blend of ten 15-minute images through a Blue filter and the OIII data. All images unbinned.

Equipment: RC Optical Systems 14.5 inch Ritchey–Chrétien carbon fiber truss telescope, with ion-milled optics, at about f/9, and an SBIG STL-11000M with internal filter wheel ( Astrodon type II filter set), guided by a MOAG/AO-L combination, all riding 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, and combined in Pixinsight. Color combine in Pixinsight. Finish work (curves and levels, adjustment of contrast, High Pass Filter and Smart Sharpen of the luminance layer, and Neat Image noise reduction) was done in Photoshop CS5.

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

Date: Images taken on many nights in February and March of 2016. Image posted April 28, 2016.

CCD Chip temperature: -5C

Copyright 2016 Mark de Regt

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