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BAA Gallery Picture of the Week

SH2-129 - the Flying Bat Nebula and Ou4 - the Squid Nebula


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About this observation
Jan Rek
Time of observation
09/08/2019 - 23:00
Observing location
ICAstro site, Alcalali then Oria, Spain. Elevation 1022 m Lat 38°:45.4 N, Long 00°:02.1W
Tak FSQ106N at 530 mm focal length, F/5
Camera - Moravian Instruments G3-16200 with 7 position FW and OAG
Starlight Instruments Boss Focuser with FSQ rear cell replacement
Lodestar guide camera
L:20 x 10 min + R:G:B 10 x 10 min each Narrowband exposures: Ha 16 x 20 min, OIII 44x20min + 30x30 min. Total exposure time 43hrs 20min

This image was captured by Jan in remote sessions using Splashtop control from his home in Ravenshead, UK.

Discovered in 2011 by French astro-imager Nicolas Outters, the Squid Nebula's alluring bipolar shape is distinguished here by the telltale blue-green emission from doubly ionized oxygen atoms. Though apparently completely surrounded by the reddish hydrogen emission region SH2-129, the true distance and nature of the Squid Nebula have been difficult to determine. A recent investigation suggests Ou4 really does lie within SH2-129 some 2,300 light-years away. Consistent with that scenario, Ou4 would represent a spectacular outflow driven by HR8119, a triple system of hot, massive stars seen near the center of the nebula. If so, the truly giant Squid Nebula would physically be nearly 50 light-years across.

This field is approx 141 x 176 arcminutes - ie ~ 6 x 4 Moon diameters and the emission nebula lies approx 2.5 degrees south of alpha Cephei (Aleramin).

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