NGC 1333 - A Stellar Nursery in Perseus
NGC 1333 - A Stellar Nursery in Perseus
NGC 1333 - A Stellar Nursery in Perseus
The constellation of Perseus contains some extraordinary molecular clouds, many of which are areas of star formation. One of the very youngest in the Perseus OB2 association is NGC 1333. This beautiful nebula contains hundreds of stars that are as young as a million years old, and is one of the nearest star forming regions to us. The youngest of these protostars create outflows that collide with the surrounding medium to create Herbig-Haro objects. NGC 1333 is known to contain at least 36 of these HH objects and many of them can be seen in the bright red emission regions within NGC 1333.

The blue nebulae in this image are areas of dust that are reflecting the light from the hot blue stars in front of the dust. In addition to the reflection nebula within NGC 1333, this image also shows another reflection nebula, vdB 13 (blue nebula towards lower right).

Additionally, this image shows several dark nebulae where the dust obscures the light behind it. As shown in the annotated version of this image, Barnard 205 is below NGC 1333, and just below vdb 13 is Barnard 203.

Visible throughout this astrophoto is a portion of the large dusty Perseus OB2 molecular cloud. These clouds are an impressive dusty brown and are punctuated with regions of blue reflection nebulae as well.

This image shows a section of sky roughly 2.9 x 1.8. degrees. In this image, North is Up.

Exposure Details
Lens Nikon 600mm f/4 ED IF
Focal Length 600mm
Focal Ratio f/6
Mount Schaefer GEM - 7 1/2 inch Byers gear
Guiding William Optics 50mm guide scope, Lodestar autoguider, PHD Guiding
Camera Hutech modified Canon 6D
Exposure 185 subs of 300 sec @ ISO 1600 (15+ hours total exposure)
Calibration 30 darks, 30 flats, 30 flat darks, 30 bias
Date August 16, September 8, October 9, 10, and 11, 2015
Temperature 70F on 8/16, 69F on 9/8, 63F on 10/9, 60F on 10/10 and 10/11
SQM Reading 21.45 (Bortle 4) on 8/16 and 9/8, 21.40 on 10/9 and 10/10, 21.35 on 10/11
Seeing 4/5 on 8/16 , 5/5 on 9/8, 3/5 on 10/9, 4/5 on 10/10, 5/5 on 10/11
Location Pine Mountain Club, California
Software Used Images Plus 5.75 for camera control. Images Plus 6.0.5 for calibration, stacking, ArcSinH stretching, star size reduction, smoothing and noise reduction, vertical band suppression, color channel splitting and recombination, and saturation microcurves. Photoshop CS5 used for levels and curves, screen mask invert, high pass filter, lab color, saturation adjustments, selective color, and match color. Gradient Xterminator for gradient removal. Carboni Tools for additional noise reduction and smoothing. HLVG for additional color correction. Registar 64 for subexposure alignment and color channel alignment. Pixinsight 1.8 for automatic background extraction, background neutralization, color calibration, histogram transformation, multiscale median transformation, star removal, and morphological transformation.
Notes This portion of the sky contains some fantastic contrasting colors combined with some impressive expanses of nebulosity. I'm quite happy with this final image, as I think I was able to bring out the structures of these nebulae well, along with capturing the colorful beauty of the area.

This image was published by Astronomy Magazine as its Picture of the Day for October 28, 2019!

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NGC 1333 - A Stellar Nursery in Perseus (QSI Version)