At the heart of the Heart Nebula, shaping it, is an open cluster of stars. Located about 7,500 light years away, NASA says the cluster Melotte 15 contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, many dim stars only a fraction of the mass of our Sun, and an absent microquasar that was expelled millions of years ago.
A clear, crisp image of this cluster, taken by Dave Dev at last year’s Starfest, took the top spot in our Photo of the Week contest July 3, 2020.
Dev said the image data was taken over two days in August 2019 in Ayton, Ontario.
He said he used an Orion 115 mm refractor at f/7 on a EQ6 mount, with an ASI 1600 mono camera with Baader & AstroDon narrowband filters.
He wrote that imaging was: Ha, 3 min subs, for a total of 2.5 hours. O3, 5 min subs, for a total of 6 hrs. S2, 3 min subs, for a total of 3.5 hrs.
He processed the image in PixInsight, mapped to SHO (Hubble palette).
Our honourable mention this week goes to Jeff Zambory for ingenuity and chutzpah. His image, the “Can Cam Solargraph,” took six months, a pop can, patience and know-how to make.
Zambory said the image was exposed December 21, 2019 to June 21, 2020 in Ghost Lake, Alberta. He said the camera make was “pop can,” the lens was “pinhole” — and the focal ratio was “?”
“I cut the top off a tall pop can and put a small pinhole near the top of the can,” he said. “I the put a piece of light-sensitive photographic paper inside the can and then taped to the can to prevent the paper curling. I sealed up the can and secured it to a fence post and left it for six months. This is the result.”
He said he Photoshopped the image, inverting the colours to make the path of the Sun white, noting that it is dark on the paper as it comes out of the can.
“Brightness, contrast and such have been adjusted to make details clearer (foreground objects easier to see and the traces more distinct),” he said.