Astrophoto: Spectacular View of the Triffid Nebula in Narrowband

by Nancy Atkinson on May 30, 2014

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M20,  the Triffid Nebula in narrowband, Taken remotely from Siding Springs Observatory in Australia.  38 hours of exposure, taken during May 2014.  Credit and copyright:  Ian Sharp.

M20, the Triffid Nebula in narrowband, Taken remotely from Siding Springs Observatory in Australia. 38 hours of exposure, taken during May 2014. Credit and copyright: Ian Sharp.

What a gorgeous deep sky astrophoto! M20, also known as the Trifid Nebula is located in Sagittarius, and its name means ‘divided into three lobes.’ The ‘lobes’ are clearly visible in this very pretty palette of colors by astrophotographer Ian Sharp.

“I’ve been agonising about this one because it was a real struggle to find a palette that worked because the Hα data was so strong,” Ian told Universe Today via email. He said the regular Hubble palette caused a very green result, so instead he used this mix of channels:

R: (Hα x 0.50) + (SII x 0.50)
G: (OIII x 0.85) + (Hα x 0.15)
B: OIII

This was taken remotely from Siding Spring Observatory in Australia over the past few weeks, with 38 hours of exposure.

Hα: 27 x 1800s
OIII: 28 x 1800s
SII: 21 x 1800s

Here’s the link to the photo on Ian’s website.

The details of the equipment used to take this are below:

Optical Tube Assembly RCOS 12.5” F/9 (2857mm focal length) Carbon-Fibre Tube w/TCC2, PIR and FFC
Equatorial Mount Bisque Paramount ME
Imaging Camera Apogee F16M-D9 (KAF-16803) with 7 slot filter wheel
Imaging Camera Filters Astrodon Series II L,R,G,B, Ha (5nm), OIII (3nm) and SII (3nm)
Guide Camera MMOAG with SBIG ST-402ME
The system delivers a 44×44 arcmin FoV operating at .65 arcsec/pixel

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About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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