Russell Croman Astrophotography  



The Dragon's Egg

About This Photograph

This enigmatic nebula is NGC 6164, popularly known as the Dragon's Egg due to its proximity to the larger nebula complex known as the Fighting Dragons of Ara, linked below. The bright star at the center of the nebula is so hot that its ultraviolet light causes the surrounding shroud of gas to glow – a giant cosmic black light. Most nebulas like this are known as "planetary" nebulas, formed when dying stars shed their outer layers, but NGC 6164 is different: the central star is still in its prime. Researchers think that it may have expelled the surrounding gas due to its very high rotation rate – it literally spun material off into space. These gas shells were possibly further channeled and shaped by the star's strong magnetic field.


Related Photographs

The Fighting Dragons of Ara

Technical Details

Optics:PlaneWave 14" f/7.2 CDK
Mount:Paramount ME II
Filters:Chroma [S II], H⍺, [O III]
Dates/Times:21 Jun 2021 - 27 Jul 2022
Location:RC-Astro South Observatory at ObsTech Observatorio El Sauce (Chile)
Exposure Details:SHO = 12:8:8 hours (28 hours total)
Acquisition:MaxIm DL, ACP Expert
Processing:PixInsight, Photoshop