The Heart and Soul Nebulae in HaOIIIRGB
The Heart and Soul Nebulae in HaOIIIRGB
The Heart and Soul Nebulae in HaOIIIRGB
The Heart Nebula (IC 1805) and the Soul Nebula (IC 1848) are two giant molecular clouds located in the constellation of Cassiopeia. The two clouds are physically connected by a bridge of gas and reside in the Perseus arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. In the center of the Heart Nebula is the open cluster Melotte 15, which is one of many clusters formed from the molecular cloud. These clusters within the clouds are known as the Cas OB6 association, and the energy from their hot stars illuminate the surrounding nebulae.

This photo is a collaboration between Rich Richins and Scott Rosen. It is a composite of Scott's Hydrogen Alpha version, Scott's RGB (color) version, and Rich's Oxygen III data. The Hydrogen Alpha data brings out the deep red nebulae throughout the image, while the Oxygen III data helps display the blue/teal colored OIII regions within the nebulae. The RGB color data is used to provide natural color to the stars and reflection nebulae within the image.

In this image, North is up.

Exposure Details
Lens Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
Focal Length 200mm
Focal Ratio f/3.5 for Ha and RGB, f/2.8 for OIII
Mount Ha/RGB - Schaefer GEM - 7 1/2 inch Byers gear; OIII - Losmandy G11 with Gemini System
Guiding Ha/RGB - Piggybacked on C8, guided with an ONAG On-Axis Guider, Lodestar autoguider, PHD Guiding; OIII-side by side guiding with Orion ED80, Imaging Source DFK 31AF03, Phd Guiding
Camera Ha/RGB - Canon 450D - Gary Honis modified (Baader Mod), OIII - modified Canon T2i
Exposure 106 subexposures of 600 sec @ ISO 1600 (17 2/3 hours) using Astronomik 6nm Ha clip filter, 57 subexposures of 300 sec @ ISO 400 (4 3/4 hours), plus 30 subexposures of 120 sec @ ISO 1600 (1 hour) using an Astronomik 12nm OIII-CCD clip filter
Calibration Ha/RGB - 30 darks, 30 flats, 30 flat darks, 30 bias; OIII - 10 darks
Date Ha/RGB - September 11, 12, 13, and 14, 2013; OIII - January 14, 2013
Temperature 60F on 9/12, 62F on 9/13, 64F on 9/14
SQM Reading Ha/RGB - 21.45 (Bortle 4) on 9/12, 20.0 to 21.5 on (Bortle 5 to 4) on 9/12 and 9/13, 19.50 to 21.50 (Bortle 5 to 4) on 9/14; OIII - Bortle 5 to 6
Seeing Ha/RGB - 5/5 on all 4 nights; OIII - 4/5
Location Ha/RGB -Pine Mountain Club, California; OIII - Southern New Mexico
Software Used Images Plus 5.5 for camera control, calibration, stacking, digital development, smoothing and noise reduction, multiresolution sharpening, and star size and halo reduction. Photoshop CS5 used for levels and curves, high pass filter, star shrinking, screen mask invert, lab color, match color, vibrance, selective color, hue adjustments, and unsharp mask. Gradient Xterminator for gradient removal. Registar for registration and stack alignment. Carboni Tools for additional noise reduction and smoothing.
Notes After posting my HaRGB version of this image, Rich Richins was generous enough to offer his OIII data for me to add to my image. Rich had some very good data that happened to be taken with the same lens, so the field of view was quite similar. I was very happy with the extra punch that the OIII data provided, as it creates a beautiful contrast to the Ha within each of the two main nebulae.