Photo of the Week for August 5, 2016
The sky is full of deep-sky objects that look great in long-exposure photographs, but are very difficult to see even with big telescopes. The California Nebula (NGC1499) in Perseus falls into that category. As a visual subject, it has two strikes against it. First, it’s very big, spanning nearly three degrees. Second, it has low surface brightness. Yet under dark skies the nebula can be seen—the key is the right filter (H-beta) and low magnification. However, the human eye simply isn’t sensitive enough to see anything close to the level of remarkable detail displayed in the above image by Quebec astrophotographer, Paul Paradis.
Paul recorded this view of the California Nebula from Saint-Alexandre, Quebec, over a three night span last autumn. A total of 380 minutes exposure was recorded with a trio of narrow-band filters (SII, H-alpha and OIII) and a QSI 583 CCD camera attached to a Takahashi FSQ106EDXIII apochromatic refractor telescope.