The Witchhead Nebula

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Obj Type
Date Taken:
SSRO Published
IC 2118
Mayhill, NM

This image was appropriately chosen as the APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day)  for October 31, 2008.  This image was also chosen for the 2010 UNESCO Science day poaster.

Rigel (Beta Orionis) is illuminating this large reflection nebula and causing it to shine in the characteristic irregular shape that led to its popular name.  IC2118 was discovered photographically in 1909 by Max Wolf.

Processing Notes: Steve Mazlin produced this remarkable three panel mosaic using the STL-11000M camera and the FSQ.  It is an LRGB image with approximately 14 to 15 hours of total time.  The image were taken using 20 minute subexposures at -25C while the area around Rigel was also imaged using 1 minute subexposures used in an overlay.  Data reduction was done in CCDSoft, registration was done with Registar, and final processing was done using Photoshop CS with the NeatImage plug-in. 

A previous image of the Witchhead that was taken on January 13, 2005 by Rick and Jack can be seen by clicking here. This was a simple RGB with (30, 30, and 90 minutes of data)

Processing Notes for the 2005 version: Due to bad weather, there were only two good images for red and green so we duplicated a third image for each channel so that we could use Sigma Beta 10 to combine three images for each channel.  The data was then combined in the usual way for RGB but we adjusted the combine ratio to take into account the additional blue data.  The result was quite grainy so we used grain surgery at 40% to soften the grain. Jack made further adjustments for color and finally Rick removed the halos. 

Technical Details
Exposure Time:
Three panel mosaic LRGB 14-15 hours total time with 20 minute subexposures with some 1 minute subexposures for Rigel
Takahashi FSQ106N
Software Bisque Paramount ME
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