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Sharpless 171 emission nebula and Berkeley 59 open cluster in Cepheus

by Antonio Fernandez Sharpless 171 emission nebula and Berkeley 59 open cluster in Cepheus

Explanation: Cosmic pillars of cold molecular gas and clouds of dark dust lie within Sharpless 171, a star-forming region some 3,000 light-years away in the royal constellation Cepheus. This tantalizing false-color skyscape spans about 20 light-years across the nebula's bright central region. It also highlights the pervasive glow of emission from atomic gas using narrowband filters and a color palette made popular in Hubble Space Telescope images. Powering the nebular glow are the young, hot stars of a newly formed cluster, Berkeley 59. Of course, this star-forming region is entry number 171 in the famous 1959 catalog of emission nebulae compiled by astronomer Stewart Sharpless.

Image credit and copyright:

This image is © 2008 by Antonio Fernandez. All rights reserved. Antonio has graciously allowed me to show his image here and on my cards. Thank you Antonio!

I first saw this image as the October 18, 2008 Astronomy Picture of the Day. I assumed this must be an image made by a professional team using government level equimpent. Possibly a research University or maybe even an orbital telescope. I've since discovered this was taken by an Amateur Astronomer using his own equipment at a home built observatory! I was so intrigued and inspired by this, I've chosen it as the background image for my QSL cards. I see Antonio's accomplishment, the quality of this image and the craftsmanship that went into it as an example of the finest in the Amateur communities. It's no surprise to me that he's also a licensed ham operator.

Antonio sets a high bar for all of us to work towards. His technical knowledge and personal skill with his equipment has earned him recognition around the world.

Technical Details:

Object: S171 in Cepheus
Observing Site: Azor Observatory, Las Rozas, Madrid, Spain. 18.84 mag arcsec-2
Date: Data acquired on July 13-14 (Ha), August 30, 31 (OIII) and September 3 (SII). 2008
Camera: SBIG STL-11000M @ -15ÂșC
Telescope: ASA N10 Astrograph @ f/3.6, Astrophysics AP1200 mount
Filters: Astrodon 6nm H alpha, OIII and SII
Exposure: 1140 minutes (19 hours, 38x30 min subs)
Processing Software: Maxim DL, Photoshop
Comments: CCD Commander used for unattended data acquisition.

Other copies and sizes

Antonio's web site has several other images as well as other sizes of this image.


Don't know where or what Cepheus is? I didn't either. But this this site helped me find it!

Card Publisher

My cards were printed up for my by iQSLusa did a very nice job and was more than helpful in getting my cards just right.

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