Heart of the Soul Nebula in Hydrogen Alpha – 16/09/2018

The Heart of the Soul

This beauty is the core of the Soul Nebula (also known as Westerhout 5), in Cassiopeia. this is an Emission Nebula, that has large cavities carved out of it by the radiation and solar winds from the most massive stars embedded in it.


I love the shapes of the clouds in this – always think it looks like a giant bat rising up out of a cloud of smoke.  This is 3hrs and 50min of Ha-filtered loveliness, captured through my ED70.  I’ll be revisiting this one in future to make it a bi-colour by capturing some OIII to go along with this.  The view I got in Skysafari whilst framing this object can be seen in the screen shot on the left here.  SkySafari is so good for framing that I rarely use a planetarium on the capture PC any more.  I find that SkySafari has most of the objects I’ve been imaging recently.  There are a few missing, however, so in those cases, I usually resort to Stellarium.  You can see that it shows multiple fields of view – here it’s showing both the 102ED FOV (the smaller square) as well as the ED70 view (the larger one).  This helps me judge whether the framing is best with one or the other, and stops me wasting time on an object that would be better served on a narrower, or wider field of view.

Capture and Processing Information

  • Camera – Atik 314L Mono
  • Exposure – Ha – 3hr 50mins of 5-min subs
  • Filters – Astronomik 12nm Ha Filter
  • Telescope – Ikharos ED70
  • Mount  – Skywatcher HEQ5 with Rowan Belt Mod
  • Guidescope – Off-axis
  • Guidecam – SX Lodestar
  • Guide Software – PHD2
  • Capture Software – APT
  • Stacking and Initial Processing – MaximDL
  • Post-Processing – Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC.

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