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NGC 6543 "Cat's Eye"



Scope: Celestron 9.25 Edge HD 235 mm at f/7; Location: DAA Observatory, Shelter Valley, CA;  Dates:  14, 20 June 2023 and  8 May 2024; Camera: ASI294MM (Baader  Ha OIII LRGB Filters)

Exposure: Ha: 67 x 3.5 minutes (gain-160 2x2) , 64 x 1.5 minutes (gain - 121),  OIII: 68 x 3.5 minutes (gain-160 2x2), 64 x 1.5 minutes (gain - 121)

 RGB - 32 each x 2 minutes  and  24 each x 1 minute - (gain-121 2x2),:  Lum  40 x 8 seconds, 42 x 4 seconds (gain 121 2x2) - short exposures for the bright inner core

Processing: Data Collection -  N.I.N.A. (as FITs).  Sub-frame calibration - Pixinsight (WBPP). Sub-frame  registration and integration (Average combine -  Winsorized sigma clipping,  2X drizzle - NB only) - PixInsight (WBPP).  TGV Denoise (RGB) and MMT  (Ha, O3) - PixInsight.  Non-linear stretching for Ha and OIII - PixInsight.    RGB combine and stretching, Photometric RGB calibration (SPCC)  - PixInsight. Generation of starless Ha, OIII, and RGB image for later processing - StarXTerminator  (PixInsight.)  De-convolution - BlurXTerminator (AI4) - PixInsight.  Ha and OIII color mapping is a modified HOO palette of the starless stacks - PixInsight.  RGB star image is screened into the Ha and O3 narrow band starless construction - Pixinsight. Very short Luminance stacks were used for developing the bright inner core of NGC 6543. Final finishing  - Affinity Photo.  Annotation - PixInsight, Aladin (Simbad), and Affinity Photo. This image is a  modified HOO mapping with RGB stars.  Image processed at 8288x5644 resolution (2x drizzle stacks). Final crop Image size is approximately 6000x4087. 


North is up in this image - it is a wide field image of NGC 6543 (a planetary nebula) showing a wider region with background galaxies and Quasars. NGC 6543 has several common names - "Cat's Eye Nebula" is more widely used and in general refers to the inner core. "Sunflower Nebula" probably refers to the inner core with outer halo. "Snail Nebula"  also likely refers to the inner core. NGC 6543 is about 4,455 light years distant. Within its structure is a bright knot with a designation of IC 4677; the central star has a designation of HD164963.

In the wider field are galaxies NGC 6552 and PGC 61111. These are at distances of about 357 and 360 million light years respectively. There are several other PGC galaxies in background and some fainter, smaller galaxies that can only be seen in the full size images. One of these galaxies, PGC 94832 is notable in that it lies at about 1.126 billion light years distant.  Three Quasars are identified in the annotate image. One, RX j17594+6638, has a very large redshift of 4.238 and a light travel time of 12.3 billion years - it is visible in the full size annotated image at full magnification. These objects, information, and some of the brighter stars are identified in the annotated image.  

There is an earlier image taken in 2004 and an even earlier image taken in 2002 -  one of my earliest astrophotos. It is fun to revisit them after all these years. Follow the page links in sequence to these early images - warning they are quite crude and rough. (I have kept all of my images - many relegated to my "archives".)

The Horizontal FOV is approximately 0.636 degrees. Full size image scale is approximately 0.382 arcsec/pix.

Image Center approximately - Equatorial 2000: RA: 17h 58m 22s Dec: 6637'36"


All images and content remain the property of Jim Thommes - copyright 2003 - 2024

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