Russell Croman Astrophotography  



The Tadpole Nebula

About This Photograph

This patch of sky in the constellation of Auriga is home to a cluster of young stars and the remainder of the cloud of gas and dust from which they were hatched. The cluster, consisting of the band of stars to the lower-left of center, is referred to as NGC 1893. The ultraviolet light produced by these stars powers the nebula. Atoms of hydrogen and other elements in the nebula are made to emit their own light after being excited by this starlight, a sort of cosmic black-light effect.

The nebula itself is known as IC 410, and is home to a pair of intriguing structures popularly known as the "tadpoles." These are clumps of gas and dust left over from the formation of the cluster, and are likely forming yet new stars within them. The tails of the tadpoles are caused by the radiation pressure and solar wind from the stars of NGC 1893; note how they point away from the star cluster.

For a close-up of the tadpoles, click here.


Technical Details

Optics:20" f/8 RCOS Ritchey-Chrétien Cassegrain
Camera:SBIG STL-11000M, FLI CFW-7
Mount:Software Bisque Paramount ME
Filters:SBIG Standard LRGB
Dates/Times:4 December 2005 - 1 January 2006
Location:Dimension Point Observatory, Mayhill, New Mexico
Exposure Details:LRGB = 600:330:150:210 minutes
Acquisition:MaxIm DL/CCD 4, TheSky6, CCDAutoPilot2
Processing:CCDStack, Photoshop CS2