California Nebula, Stars and Clusters

This is part of the California Nebula taken in narrowband hydrogen-alpha (Hα).

The California Nebula is an extremely large emission nebula in the Perseus constellation. The above picture is about ten percent or so of the entire nebula, and it shows a section near the north-west edge. The star in the very center of the image is HIP 18518, a faint, blue-white star with high proper motion.

The data for this image was collected from my backyard over several different nights during September and October of 2020. Total imaging time on this photo was 18 hours, 45 minutes. There was a total of 75 frames collected, each fifteen minutes long and they were taken taken through the hydrogen-alpha (Hα) narrowband filter.

Mid-Winter Update
This winter there was an opportunity to get some images during a warm clear spell in January. These photos, and the images below of Leo Minor, were collected over a week spanning from January 12th to 19th.

This far north (53° N), mid-winter nights are very long indeed. In January, astronomical darkness (full darkness) is almost twelve hours per night. And when twilight is taken into account, the actual daylight around here is a mere eight hours or so.

Because of this, in just one week (and a lot of that week was interrupted by snow and cloud) there was still enough quality dark time to collect nine different star photos.

Some Stars in Leo Minor
Normally, it is not possible for me to take images of the Leo Minor constellation. That part of the sky is only visible from my backyard location during the middle of winter, a time that is usually far too cold and snowy for this sort of astrophotography.

But during the warm spell this year, I shoveled the snow off the back patio, set up imaging rig, and so it was possible to take some images in Leo Minor and here are the results.

27 and 30 Leo Minoris are fairly bright stars and are quite close to each other when viewed from Earth. In January, these two stars are in a favorable position for photograpy from my location and they provided me with an opportunity to finally get some images from the Leo Minor constellation.

The two images above were combined to produce the wide field mosaic image shown below. The original images overlap quite a lot and both include the orange double star near the top (UU LMi and HD 90024) and the bright orange star (30 Leo Minoris) located lower down.

The bright white star on the left is 30 LMi. The orange star in the lower center is 28 LMi. 27 LMi is the bright white star in the center-right area. The orange double star near the top is UU Leo Minoris and HD 90024.

The remaining images below were collected during the late summer and early fall of 2020. There are some new carbon stars, some single stars and at the bottom are a few star clusters and another two panel mosaic.

New Carbon Star Images
There are some new images in the carbon star gallery.

These are the carbons star images collected later on in 2020.

There are only two carbon star pictures this time around, but you can probably figure out that for yourself just by looking at the pictures.

NQ Cassiopeiae is a small and faint carbon star in the Cassiopeia constellation and a telescope is necessary to observe this star visually.

ST Cassiopeiae is also small and faint and a telescope is necessary to observe this star visually as well.

New Star Images
Below are some new images of various stars.

Xi Herculis is a yellow-white star located in the Hercules constellation. Lambda Cassiopeiae (λ Cas) is a moderately bright blue-white double star in the Cassiopeia constellation. In this image of λ Cas, the two components stars (A and B) are are less than half a pixel apart.

Rho Cassiopeiae (ρ Cas) is a somewhat rare yellow hypergiant star. This star is also in Cassiopeia and it shines about 300,000 times brighter than our sun. To the left and slightly below ρ Cas is V373 Cassiopeia, a blue-white spectroscopic binary.

Another giant star is Kappa Cassiopeiae, a blue supergiant. Also in the κ Cas photo, near the top edge, is NGC 146 and NGC 133, two small and sparse open clusters in Cassiopeiae.

New Star Cluster Images

NGC 146 and NGC 133 are two small and sparse open clusters in Cassiopiae.

The two clusters are quite close together and are also close to the star Kappa Cassiopeia shown above.

NGC 433 is another very small star cluster in Cassiopeiae. It is the small knot of stars shown in the center of the image.

Messier 35 is a large and bright cluster in the Gemini constellation. In the lower right corner of the M35 image is NGC 2158, a dense cluster that is much further away from our solar system than M35 is.

Two Panel Mosaic of κ Cas, NGC 146 and NGC 133

This image is a two panel mosaic. It combines the image of Kappa Cassiopia with the image of the nearby open clusters NGC 146 and NGC 133.

When seen from earth, all of these these objects appear fairly close together in space and can be seen with most small telescopes.

Kappa Cassiopeia is fairly bright and obvious blue-white star. The two clusters though, are rather sparse and in photos like this, they hardly stand out against the background stars.

NGC 146 is a cluster of stars directly above κ Cas. It is halfway between κ Cas and the top of the image. Directly to the right of NGC 146 is NGC 133. This is the upside down "Y" shaped grouping of stars and it is less than half the distance from center to the right edge.