Skies By Africa

Images of the Heavens By Eric Africa

IC 405, the "Flaming Star" Nebula

IC 405
HaRGB Mono H-alpha RGB Only
IC 405 is also known as the Flaming Star Nebula. It is both an emission (glow from ionized gas) and reflection (light reflected from dust) nebula. What makes this nebula different from most other emission nebulae is that the primary source of its glow, AE Aurigae, was not born within this nebula. In fact, the star has been traced back to having come from the Trapezium region of the Orion Nebula!

Auriga the Charioteer, which is where this object lies, is a constellation in the northern sky that follows in the heels of the heroic constellation Perseus. Orion is way south of Auriga from our perspective. AE Aurigae has travelled at least a quarter of the way across our sky from our perspective!

IAs is the case with many of these objects, IC 405 is also catalogued as Sharpless 229 and Caldwell 31.

In the course of processing my recent nebula images, especially those with H-alpha data, I often see structures or details in the RGB data (without H-alpha) that stand out on their own. This is especially true in the case of this target. The very interesting blue reflection clouds tend to disappear when the H-alpha component is blended in. For that reason, I am including the RGB only data for this target in addition to the H-alpha only and H-alpha/RGB data. Please click on the thumbnails above to see larger versions of the images.
Constellation: Auriga
When Visible: November - April
Distance: 1,500 light-years
Date: December 2013
Location: Rancho Hidalgo, Animas, NM
Exposure Details:
H-alpha: 28 x 30 Minutes Binned 1x1
R: 16 x 10 Minutes binned 1x1
G: 16 x 10 Minutes binned 1x1
B: 16 x 10 Minutes binned 1x1

22 hours total exposure time
Equipment Used:  12.5" PlaneWave CDK on a Paramount ME mount. SBIG STL-6303 camera with 5-position filter wheel and Astrodon filters. Internally guided with the SBIG internal guide chip.
Acquisition Software : MaximDL, TheSky6, CCDAutopilot
Processing Software: MaximDL, Photoshop CS5, Carboni Tools, IrFanView
The last time I shot this object was in 2006 wtih a Takahashi FSQ-106N and the same camera, which can be seen here. The FSQ-106N has a focal length of 530mm vs. the PlaneWave's focal length of about 2550mm. As can be seen in the 2006 image, the field of view with the FSQ-106 and the STL-6303 includes the neighboring object IC410. The PlaneWave, having a much longer focal length, allows the imager to zoom in on the target being imaged, which also reveals more fine details of the subject in question.