Sharpless 71
Planetery Nebula in Aquila

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Sh2-71 is an unusual planetary nebula, visually located in the constellation Aquila, in the midst of the Milky Way disc as seen from earth (so it appears to be in a dense star field). It is unusual both for its complex shape (in addition to being bipolar, it has other oddities), and for the speculation by some astronomers that that shape is a result of the progenitor star being part of a triple-star system (most believe that it is part of a binary star system). In addition, the nebula is over 1000 times as bright as our sun (total luminosity).

This beautiful little nebula is approximately 3200 light years from us; it is about 2.4 light years long (assuming that distance from us is correct).


Technical Information:

(HaL)(HaR)(OIIIG)(OIIIB): Ha:OIII:L:R:G:B--600:660:610:180:180:240 (a bit over 41 hours of total exposure time); Luminance layer is a blend of 33 fifteen-minute images through the luminance filter, 23 five-minute images through the luminance filter, and 20 thirty-minute images through the Ha filter; Red channel is a blend of the Ha data and 12 fifteen-minute images through a red filter; Green channel is a blend of 21 thirty-minute images through an OIII filter and 12 fifteen-minute images thorugh a green filter; the Blue channel is a blend of the OIII data and 12 twenty-minute images through a blue filter. All images were unbinned.

Equipment: RC Optical Systems 14.5 inch Ritchey-Chrétien carbon fiber truss telescope, with ion-milled optics and RCOS field flattener, at about f/9, and an SBIG STX-16803 with internal filter wheel (SBIG filter set), guided by an SBIG AO-X/STX Guider, all riding on a Bisque Paramount ME German Equatorial Mount.

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

Processing: All images calibrated (darks, bias and sky flats), aligned, and combined in Pixinsight. Color combine in Pixinsight. Some finish work (background neutralization, color calibration, gradient removal, noise reduction and deconvolution) done in Pixinsight; some finish work (Neat Image noise reduction, LRGB combination, contrast and saturation adjustment) was done in Photoshop CC.

Location: Data acquired remotely from Sierra Remote Observatories, Auberry, California, USA.

Date: Images taken on many nights during August and September of 2022. Image posted October 24, 2022.

Date: Image scale of full-resolution image: 0.56 arcseconds per pixel.

Seeing: Generally good

CCD Chip temperature: -25C

Copyright 2022 Mark de Regt

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