The Wonders of Monoceros in Hydrogen Alpha – 18th January 2024
My first image of a new year continues the widefield run I’ve had recently, and I decided to go with a region that has a shedload to offer, and which I’ve imaged several times in far closer crops. Capturing with the Samyang 135mm and the Atik 383L+ Mono with a Hydrogen Alpha filter, this is the region to the northeast of Orion, and is an area awash with star-forming goodness.
It was captured with NINA at f2.8 on my Samyang 135mm, this time using the larger chip of the Atik 383L+ Mono CCD rather than the Player One one-shot-colour camera. The Atik has a larger chip compared to the Stacked and initial processing done in MaximDL, then post-processed in various tools, including Starnet++, Graxpert, Photoshop CC 2024, Lightroom Classic 2024, and Topaz Denoise, amongst others.
There’s a nice little bonus in this field of view – NGC2261, or “Hubble’s Variable Nebula” is a fascinating object, very small in this view, but with a very interesting property. The star that illuminates this nebula is a variable, and as it changes brightness over periods of a few weeks, it causes ‘ripples’ in the brightness of the illumination, which are propagating out (obviously at the speed of light!), but can be seen, as the object itself is still several light years in length.
Particularly interesting is a GIF that shows the ripples. This small animation was captured over the course of about a year by multiple imagers in a sort of crowdsourcing effort… It’s amazing how amateurs can contribute to this field of science!