Intergalactic Crocodile departing for Auriga


Paul C Swift

Valencia, Spain

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Vixen VSD
Imaging cameras: Starlight Express SXVR-H18
Mounts: Sky-Watcher MX
Guiding telescopes or lenses:Vixen VSD
Guiding cameras: sx loadstar
Software: Sequence Generator Pro, PHD, Photoshop CS5
Filters: Baader Ha, OIII & SII
Accessories: Starlight Xpress USB filter wheel, Baader Planetarium 36mm narrowband filters

This is a mosaic made up of three panels with an integration of around 35 to 45 hours of exposure.

Caldwell 31, a huge, sprawling nebula spanning five light years and surrounding the ‘Flaming Star’, AE Aurigae, the bright star visible in the upper portion of the nebula. AE Aur (mag. +6) is an runaway star that is thought to have been one of three stars ejected from near the Trapezium in Orion 2.7 million years ago. It’s a class-O hydrogen fusing dwarf that is at least 30,000 times more luminous than our Sun. The nebula and the star lie around 1500 light years away.

The smaller nebula at the top is IC405, commonly known as the Tadpole Nebula for the small ‘tadpole-like’ structures of dense, cooler gas that are being shaped by the intense radiation from the hot stars of the young open cluster NGC 1893, embedded in the nebulosity. It’s just possible to see the tadpoles to the upper right of the largest dark section at the centre of the nebulosity, with the open cluster just above. IC405 lies 12,000 light years away.