Pictures of the Heart and Soul Nebulae

Images of the Heart and Soul Nebulae and facts about these two star-forming regions in Cassiopeia.

The Heart and Soul Nebulae, Keith Bramley, Lancashire, 14-22 February 2019. Equipment: Atik 383L+ mono camera, Samyang 135mm f/2 telephoto lens, Sky-Watcher EQ6 Pro mount.

The Heart Nebula, also known as IC 1805, is an emission nebula located 7,500 lightyears away in the Cassiopeia constellation.

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The term ’emission’ means that the cosmic gas that forms the nebula is actually glowing itself, rather than reflecting starlight (as is the case with a reflection nebula).

Over the years IC 1805 has been designated as the ‘Heart Nebula’ due to its resemblance to the shape of a human heart.

It’s one of many nebulae that have been given nicknames by astronomers because they resemble familiar objects, such as the Horsehead Nebula, the Running Man Nebula or the Wizard Nebula.

Heart Nebula by Joshua Rhoades, Elkhart, Illinois, USA. Equipment: Celestron Advanced VX mount, Stellarvue Access 80 mm refractor telescope, Stellarvue 0.8x Focal Reducer/Flattener for the SV80, Stellarvue 9x50 finderscope, QHY5L-II guiding camera, Canon EOS T3i modded, Astronomik UHC Clip Filter inserted into the Canon EOS T3i
Heart Nebula by Joshua Rhoades, Elkhart, Illinois, USA. Equipment: Celestron Advanced VX mount, Stellarvue Access 80 mm refractor telescope, Stellarvue 0.8x Focal Reducer/Flattener for the SV80, Stellarvue 9×50 finderscope, QHY5L-II guiding camera, Canon EOS T3i modded, Astronomik UHC Clip Filter inserted into the Canon EOS T3i

At the centre of the Heart Nebula is an open star cluster called Melotte 15, which contains bright stars that are about 50 times as massive as our own Sun.

The stars of Melotte 15 are blasting the surrounding hydrogen and causing it to emit light, powering the Heart Nebula’s beautiful glow.

The Soul Nebula

IC 1848 Soul Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount & Equinox 80mm refractor, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik HaRGB filters.
IC 1848 Soul Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount & Equinox 80mm refractor, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik HaRGB filters.

The Heart Nebula is often imaged with IC 1848, which is known as the Soul Nebula. It’s also located in Cassiopeia and is 6,500 lightyears away.

The Soul Nebula is a cloud of cosmic gas and dust 150 lightyears wide that’s being illuminated and carved by powerful streams of charged particles emanating from an open cluster of stars.

Like the Heart Nebula, it too is an emission nebula.

The Heart and Soul Nebulae are both located in the Perseus arm of our galaxy, the Milky Way, and together stretch about 600 lightyears across.

The Heart and Soul Nebulae Prabhakaran (Prabhu), Buraq and Mleiha, UAE, 14, 15 and 21 September 2020 Equipment: ZWO ASI 1600MM Pro camera, Samyang 135mm f/2.8 lens, Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 mount
The Heart and Soul Nebulae, by Prabhakaran (Prabhu), Buraq and Mleiha, UAE, 14, 15 and 21 September 2020. Equipment: ZWO ASI 1600MM Pro camera, Samyang 135mm f/2.8 lens, Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 mount

These star-forming regions are a popular target for astrophotographers, who love capturing the Heart and Soul together in one shot.

Below is a selection of images of the Heart and Soul Nebulae captured by astrophotographers and BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers.

For advice on photographing a nebula, read our guide to deep-sky astrophotography or our tips on the best astrophotography cameras.

If you’re already a seasoned nebula astrophotographer, read our guide on how to use Photoshop masks to fine-tune nebula astrophotos.

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And don’t forget to send us your images or share them with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Heart and Soul Nebulae Richard Jackson, Pyrenees, France, 25 and 26 August 2020. Equipment: SBIG STL-11000M CCD camera, Takahashi Sky-90 apo refractor
The Heart and Soul Nebulae by Richard Jackson, Pyrenees, France, 25 and 26 August 2020. Equipment: SBIG STL-11000M CCD camera, Takahashi Sky-90 apo refractor
The Heart and Soul Nebulae, Keith Bramley, Lancashire, 14-22 February 2019. Equipment: Atik 383L+ mono camera, Samyang 135mm f/2 telephoto lens, Sky-Watcher EQ6 Pro mount.
The Heart and Soul Nebulae, Keith Bramley, Lancashire, 14-22 February 2019. Equipment: Atik 383L+ mono camera, Samyang 135mm f/2 telephoto lens, Sky-Watcher EQ6 Pro mount.
Heart Nebula by Lee Housden, Essex, UK. Equipment: Celestron Cpc 8
Heart Nebula by Lee Housden, Essex, UK. Equipment: Celestron Cpc 8″ QHY5 Guide Camera, Skywatcher 80mm Apo, Canon 450d Modded, Clip Filter
Heart and Soul by Martin Bailey, Gnosall, Staffordshire, UK. Equipment: Modified Canon 1000D, Astronomik CLS CCD, H alpha CCD clip in filters, Tamron A15 LD DiII 55-200 lens, Celestron CG5 mount.
Heart and Soul by Martin Bailey, Gnosall, Staffordshire, UK. Equipment: Modified Canon 1000D, Astronomik CLS CCD, H alpha CCD clip in filters, Tamron A15 LD DiII 55-200 lens, Celestron CG5 mount.
IC 1805 The Heart Nebula by James L Mcconnachie, East Ayrshire, Scotland. Equipment: Williams optics zs70, Celestron CGEM mount, Canon EOS 400d baader modded, Astronomik clip filter Ha 12nm
IC 1805 The Heart Nebula by James L Mcconnachie, East Ayrshire, Scotland. Equipment: Williams optics zs70, Celestron CGEM mount, Canon EOS 400d baader modded, Astronomik clip filter Ha 12nm
Heart Nebula by John Maclean, Exeter, UK. Equipment: WOZ66, Atik 314L+
Heart Nebula by John Maclean, Exeter, UK. Equipment: WOZ66, Atik 314L+
Heart Nebula by John Maclean, Exeter, UK. Equipment: WOZ66, Atik 314L+
Heart Nebula by John Maclean, Exeter, UK. Equipment: WOZ66, Atik 314L+
IC1805 in Ha by Andy Jensen, Suffolk, UK Equipment: Skywatcher 80mm Equinox, Atik 383l, 7nm Ha, Neq6 Mount
IC1805 in Ha by Andy Jensen, Suffolk, UK Equipment: Skywatcher 80mm Equinox, Atik 383l, 7nm Ha, Neq6 Mount
IC1805 The heart of the heart nebula by Andre van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: TEC-140/NEQ-6, SXV-H9 CCD camera, Astrodon 3nm OIII filter/Custom Scientific 4,5nm H-alpha, 11x1800s OIII / 9x1800s H-alpha
IC1805 The heart of the heart nebula by Andre van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: TEC-140/NEQ-6, SXV-H9 CCD camera, Astrodon 3nm OIII filter/Custom Scientific 4,5nm H-alpha, 11x1800s OIII / 9x1800s H-alpha
Melotte 15 in the Heart Nebula by Andre van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: SXV-H9, TEC-140, NEQ-6, DMK21-618 OAG.
Melotte 15 in the Heart Nebula by Andre van der Hoeven, HI-Ambacht, The Netherlands. Equipment: SXV-H9, TEC-140, NEQ-6, DMK21-618 OAG.
NGC 896 in the Heart by Andi Turner, Leek, Staffordshire, UK. Equipment: Takahashi FSQ-85 @ f3.9, SXV-H9 Mono Camera, HEQ-5
NGC 896 in the Heart by Andi Turner, Leek, Staffordshire, UK. Equipment: Takahashi FSQ-85 @ f3.9, SXV-H9 Mono Camera, HEQ-5
C50 Open Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron c11 sct, skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Canon Eos 1100d self-modified and Astronomik CLS CCD clip filter.
C50 Open Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron c11 sct, skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Canon Eos 1100d self-modified and Astronomik CLS CCD clip filter.
Melotte 15 Open Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount & Equinox 80mm refractor, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik HaRGB filters.
Melotte 15 Open Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount & Equinox 80mm refractor, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik HaRGB filters.
IC1805 and IC1848 in false colour by Sara Wager, Spain. Equipment: HEQ5 and Avalon Linear Fast reverse mount, Takahashi FSQ85 with 0.73x reducer, Atik 460EXM with 3nm Ha and 3nm OIII filters
IC1805 and IC1848 in false colour by Sara Wager, Spain. Equipment: HEQ5 and Avalon Linear Fast reverse mount, Takahashi FSQ85 with 0.73x reducer, Atik 460EXM with 3nm Ha and 3nm OIII filters
NGC896 Cracked Egg Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: GSO 8
NGC896 Cracked Egg Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: GSO 8″ Richey-Chretien Optical tube, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
The Heart Nebula by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK. Equipment: Nikon D7000 DSLR, TS 65mm quadruplet refractor, EQ6 mount.
The Heart Nebula by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK. Equipment: Nikon D7000 DSLR, TS 65mm quadruplet refractor, EQ6 mount.
The heart of the Heart Nebula with Melotte 15 by Stephen Jennette, Morecambe, UK. Equipment: Atik 428 camera, Skywatcher Equinox 80 fitted with motorized Moonlite, Skywatcher EQ8 mount, TRF-2008 focal reducer, PHD guiding with QHY5 and Skywatcher off-axis guider.
The heart of the Heart Nebula with Melotte 15 by Stephen Jennette, Morecambe, UK. Equipment: Atik 428 camera, Skywatcher Equinox 80 fitted with motorized Moonlite, Skywatcher EQ8 mount, TRF-2008 focal reducer, PHD guiding with QHY5 and Skywatcher off-axis guider.
Melotte 15 - Heart of the Heart by Chris Heapy, Macclesfield, UK. Equipment: Televue NP127is refractor, Atik 490EX CCD, Losmandy G11 equatorial mount, Televue Pronto guidescope, SX Lodestar guide camera, Baader Ha and SII(7nM), Astrodon OIII(3nM) filters.
Melotte 15 – Heart of the Heart by Chris Heapy, Macclesfield, UK. Equipment: Televue NP127is refractor, Atik 490EX CCD, Losmandy G11 equatorial mount, Televue Pronto guidescope, SX Lodestar guide camera, Baader Ha and SII(7nM), Astrodon OIII(3nM) filters.
Melotte 15 in the Heart Nebula by Jesper Sundh, Lyon, France. Equipment: Skywatcher ED80, Atik 460EXm, Astro-Physics 1600GTO, Astrodon 3nm HA/SII/OIII filters(42h15m), Baader RGB filters for the stars (13h30m).
Melotte 15 in the Heart Nebula by Jesper Sundh, Lyon, France. Equipment: Skywatcher ED80, Atik 460EXm, Astro-Physics 1600GTO, Astrodon 3nm HA/SII/OIII filters(42h15m), Baader RGB filters for the stars (13h30m).
NGC896 & Melotte15 Nebula & Open Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, UK. Equipment: Telescope service 8
NGC896 & Melotte15 Nebula & Open Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, UK. Equipment: Telescope service 8″ Boren simon power newtonian, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
IC1871 The Soul Nebula by David Slack, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. Equipment: Orion ed80, Canon 1000d, Revelation ed66mm, Canon 1100d, 2 x Altair 0.6 reducers, Astronomik 12nm Ha and Oiii filters, PHD + finder guider & Skywatcher HEQ5 syntrek. Processed with DSS, Pix Insight, Registar & PSP CS 5.
IC1871 The Soul Nebula by David Slack, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. Equipment: Orion ed80, Canon 1000d, Revelation ed66mm, Canon 1100d, 2 x Altair 0.6 reducers, Astronomik 12nm Ha and Oiii filters, PHD + finder guider & Skywatcher HEQ5 syntrek. Processed with DSS, Pix Insight, Registar & PSP CS 5.
Heart Nebula in Ha by David Slack, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Equipment: Revelation ed66 refractor, Canon EOS 1000d, Astronomik 12nm Ha clip filter, Skywatcher HEQ5 syntrek mount. EQmod, PHD guiding, Deep sky stacker, Pix Insight, Photoshop CS5
Heart Nebula in Ha by David Slack, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Equipment: Revelation ed66 refractor, Canon EOS 1000d, Astronomik 12nm Ha clip filter, Skywatcher HEQ5 syntrek mount. EQmod, PHD guiding, Deep sky stacker, Pix Insight, Photoshop CS5
IC1848 Soul Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 8
IC1848 Soul Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 8″ Boren simon power newtonian, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
The Heart Nebula by Chris Grimmer, Seething, Norfolk, UK. Equipment: William Optics GT81 Triplet, SXVR H694 CCD, Baader filters, iOptron cem60 standard.
The Heart Nebula by Chris Grimmer, Seething, Norfolk, UK. Equipment: William Optics GT81 Triplet, SXVR H694 CCD, Baader filters, iOptron cem60 standard.
IC1805 Centre of the Heart Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters. F6.3 focal reducer.
IC1805 Centre of the Heart Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters. F6.3 focal reducer.
The Soul Nebula by Lee Housden, Essex, UK. Equipment: QHY10, SkyWatcher ED 80 Apo, Celestron C8.
The Soul Nebula by Lee Housden, Essex, UK. Equipment: QHY10, SkyWatcher ED 80 Apo, Celestron C8.
Melotte 15 by Jaspal Chadha, London, United Kingdom. Equipment: RC 250TT, Ioptron CEM60, QSI 690 CCD, Ha, SII, OIII.
Melotte 15 by Jaspal Chadha, London, United Kingdom. Equipment: RC 250TT, Ioptron CEM60, QSI 690 CCD, Ha, SII, OIII.
IC1805 - The Heart Nebula by Gavin James, Marlborough, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 80ED, QSI683-WSG.
IC1805 – The Heart Nebula by Gavin James, Marlborough, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 80ED, QSI683-WSG.
IC1805 by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Espirt 100ED Telescope, QSI 690 CCD, Ioptron CEM60 Mount
IC1805 by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Espirt 100ED Telescope, QSI 690 CCD, Ioptron CEM60 Mount
Heart Nebula by Alastair Woodward, Derby, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 150p, HEQ5 Pro GOTO, Modded Canon 1000d, CLS Clip Filter, Skywatcher Coma Corrector, QHY5L-II, PHD2, ST80 Guidescope.
Heart Nebula by Alastair Woodward, Derby, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 150p, HEQ5 Pro GOTO, Modded Canon 1000d, CLS Clip Filter, Skywatcher Coma Corrector, QHY5L-II, PHD2, ST80 Guidescope.
Heart Nebula by Rob Bates, Worksop, UK. Equipment: HEQ5 pro with belt mod, QHY5ii guide cam, 9x50 finder, Equinox 80, Modded Canon 70d with CLS filter.
Heart Nebula by Rob Bates, Worksop, UK. Equipment: HEQ5 pro with belt mod, QHY5ii guide cam, 9×50 finder, Equinox 80, Modded Canon 70d with CLS filter.
NGC896 Fish Head Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12
NGC896 Fish Head Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount, Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik Sii, Ha, Oiii filters, Astro physics 0.67 reducer.
IC1805 Centre of the Heart Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12
IC1805 Centre of the Heart Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount, Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik Ha filter, Astro physics 0.67 reducer.
IC1848 Soul Nebula Closeup by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12
IC1848 Soul Nebula Closeup by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount, Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik Sii, Ha, Oiii filters, Astro physics 0.67 reducer.
The Way Through by Paul C Swift, Valencia, Spain. Equipment: Takahashi TSA 102, Starlight Express SXVR-H18, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro, Takahashi TSA 102, SX Loadstar, Takahashi TOA/FS Reducer.
The Way Through by Paul C Swift, Valencia, Spain. Equipment: Takahashi TSA 102, Starlight Express SXVR-H18, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro, Takahashi TSA 102, SX Loadstar, Takahashi TOA/FS Reducer.
Melotte 15 by Roger Brooker, Seasalter, Kent, UK. Equipment: W/O 110mm Triplet @ f5.6 + SX694, & Baader Filter 7nm Ha
Melotte 15 by Roger Brooker, Seasalter, Kent, UK. Equipment: W/O 110mm Triplet @ f5.6 + SX694, & Baader Filter 7nm Ha
IC1805 Heart Nebula by Peter Jenkins, Mansfield, UK. Equipment: Officina Stellare Hyper Apo 115 with Atik 383L+ and Atik filter wheel (EFW2) Guided with William Optics ZS71 and QHY5 II. All on an Skywatcher NEQ6 Mount
IC1805 Heart Nebula by Peter Jenkins, Mansfield, UK. Equipment: Officina Stellare Hyper Apo 115 with Atik 383L+ and Atik filter wheel (EFW2) Guided with William Optics ZS71 and QHY5 II. All on an Skywatcher NEQ6 Mount
Melotte 15 by Roger Brooker, Seasalter, Kent, UK. Equipment: W/O 110mm triplet, @ f5.6, Sx694 Mono, Baader Ha & OIII filters, lodestar + Ts9mm OAG, Eq6 pro belt mod.
Melotte 15 by Roger Brooker, Seasalter, Kent, UK. Equipment: W/O 110mm triplet, @ f5.6, Sx694 Mono, Baader Ha & OIII filters, lodestar + Ts9mm OAG, Eq6 pro belt mod.