Rigel and The Witch Head Nebula Immersed in Faint Nebulosity and a Background Fullfiled by Galaxies

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Located at about 800 light-years away in the constellation of Eridanus, IC 2118, also known as the Witch Head Nebula, is a large faint reflection nebula which spans about 50 light-years and is made of fine interstellar dust particles that are reflecting the strong blue light of the blue-white supergiant star Rigel, in Orion constellation, which lies at about 2.5 degrees from the Witch nebula. The field also shows portions of brown dust as this region lie on the Orion-Eridanus molecular hydrogen cloud, blown out by the powerful hot blue stars near by. Almost hidden by the bright glow of Rigel, is also possible to notice a “spermatozoid” shaped dust, like if it was scape from the stellar cradle. Many Lynds Bright Nebula, like LBN 960, LBN 959, LBN 968 are included in this deepsky colorful scene, but what most astonishing me, is the fact that if we look close and carefully, we can notice that the scene is fulfilled by hundreds of galaxies, in fact at least 370 faint distant galaxies were identified in the annotated version produced by PixInsight script, based in several known catalogues like Messier; NGC-IC; PGC; CGPN; ARP, and thus spread behind the visible background dust. See below the annotated version available in portrait and landscape mode.

PT: Localizada a cerca de 800 anos-luz de distância na constelação de Eridanus, IC 2118, também conhecida como Nebulosa da Cabeça da Bruxa, é uma grande nebulosa de reflexão ténue com uma extensão de 50 anos-luz e é feita de partículas de poeira interestelar muito finas e que refletem a forte luz azul da estrela supergigante azul-branca Rigel, na constelação de Orion, que fica a cerca de 2,5 graus da Nebulosa. O campo também mostra porções de poeira castanha dado que esta região se encontra na nuvem molecular de hidrogénio Orion-Eridanus, soprada pelas poderosas estrelas azuis quentes mais próximas. Quase escondido pelo brilho intenso de Rigel, também é possível notar uma poeira em forma de “espermatozóide”, como se estivesse a escapar do berço estelar. Muitas “Lynds Bright Nebula”, como LBN 960, LBN 959, LBN 968 estão incluídas neste cenário colorido do céu mais profundo, mas o que mais me surpreende neste imagem, é perceber que se olharmos de perto e com atenção, podemos notar que este cenário celeste está preenchido por centenas de galáxias, na verdade, pelo menos 370 galáxias distantes ténues foram identificadas na versão anotada produzida pelo script do PixInsight – baseado em vários catálogos reconhecidos como Messier; NGC-IC; PGC; CGPN; ARP – e que assim se espalham por de trás da poeira de fundo visível. Veja em baixo a versão anotada da imagem disponível em modo retrato e paisagem.


Above from left to right, a landscape and portrait version shows the annotated version produced with PixInsight script, based in several known catalogues to identify the main objects in the image like Messier; NGC-IC; PGC; CGPN; ARP, LDN, LBN, VdB.

PT: Acima, da esquerda para a direita, uma versão em modo paisagem e retrato revela a legenda com anotação produzida pelo script do PixInsight baseado em vários catálogos reconhecidos, identificando assim os principais objectos visíveis na imagem como Messier; NGC-IC; PGC; CGPN; ARP, LDN, LBN, VdB.

Technical details | Detalhes Técnicos

Canon fixed prime lens 300mm at f/3,2 + Canon 6D modified | ISO2500 – sub Exp. of 80 seconds in a total of 765 Lights. Mount EQ6 Pro – Auto-guiding off |Total integration of 1020 minutes (17 hours). Processing on PixInsight 1.8.9-1 and Photoshop CC 2022. Cumeada Observatory from Dark Sky® Alqueva Reserve, Reguengos de Monsaraz..


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