Skies By Africa

Images of the Heavens By Eric Africa

NGC 1499, the California Nebula

NGC 1499
Hubble Mono H-alpha
In the heroic northern constellation of Perseus lies a large cloud of gas and dust looking very much like a map of California, giving this nebula its popular nickname. NGC 1499 is an emission nebula, a large cloud of gas and dust 100 light-years long and about 1,500 light-years away, covering a 1 x 4 degree section of sky. Unlike other emission nebulae depicted in this site, NGC1499 is not glowing from the ionizing radiation of hot stars embedded within itself. It is thought that Xi Persei, the bright star to the lower right of the nebula in the picture, is the source of the radiation that is causing this cloud to glow. And Xi Persei, a giant star with a mass of about 14 times the Sun, is apparently just “passing through the neighborhood”: it is moving at a different speed and direction as NGC 1499, meaning that these two objects are not related at all. Which means that it was not born from within the nebula!

The California Nebula is almost visible with the naked eye under a very dark sky. It is very dim and diffused, meaning that telescopic views of it are not easy, and it lends itself better to astrophotography.
Constellation: Perseus
When Visible: December - April
Distance: 1,500 light-years
Date: October 2006
Location: West Chester, Ohio
Exposure Details:
H-alpha: 6 x 30 Minutes Binned 1x1 (used for H-alpha Monochrome version)
S-II: 6 x 30 minutes Binned 1x1
H-Alpha and S-II data combined in various ratios for R/G/B to come up with the image colors rendered.
Equipment Used:  Takahashi FSQ-106N on a Takahashi EM200 Temma-PC mount. SBIG STL-6303 camera with 5-position filter wheel and Astrodon narrowband filters. Externally guided with an SBIG
Remote Guide Head on a Borg 76ED refractor.
Acquisition Software : MaximDL, TheSky6, CCDAutopilot
Processing Software: MaximDL, Photoshop CS, IrFanView