Russell Croman Astrophotography  



The Pelican Nebula
in Elemental Colors

About This Photograph

This is a portion of the Pelican Nebula, in the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan. The "mountains" in this image are formed by an area of denser gas and dust that is slowly being eroded away by the ultraviolet radiation from nearby young, hot stars, forming what is known as an ionization front. By using special filters to isolate the light from individual chemical elements, and assigning these elements to different colors, subtle variations in the energy levels within the cloud can be brought into stark detail. Light from oxygen atoms is shown as blue, and represents the highest energy. Red represents sulphur, and details the areas of lowest energy level, right at the boundary that is the ionization front. The light from hydrogen atoms is used for the green channel and represents an intermediate energy level.

Click here for a natural-color view of the same region.

For a wide-field view of the Pelican and North America Nebula region, click here.


Related Photographs

The North America Nebula Region in Elemental Colors
NGC 7000 and IC 5070
in Elemental Colors
Mountains in the Mist
Mountains in the Mist

Technical Details

Optics:20" f/8 RCOS Ritchey-Chrétien Cassegrain
Camera:SBIG STL-11000M.
Mount:Software Bisque Paramount ME.
Filters:Custom Scientific 5nm [SII], H-alpha, [OIII], SBIG Standard LRGB.
Dates/Times:6 November - 8 December 2006, 3-8 August 2005.
Location:Dimension Point Observatory, Mayhill, New Mexico
Exposure Details:[SII]:Ha:[OIII] = 330:540:270 minutes, LRGB = 270:120:60:120 minutes.
Acquisition:MaxIm DL/CCD 4, TheSky6, CCDAutoPilot3
Processing:CCDStack, MaxIm DL/CCD 4, Photoshop CS2
Processing:The LRGB data is blended into the mapped-color data at an opacity of 15%.


Publication Data for this Photograph

Date Publication Type
2006-12-27 NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day Web Site