Melotte 15 – Heart of the Heart


Chris Heapy

Macclesfield, UK

Televue NP127is refractor @ 660mm focal length.
Atik 490EX CCD camera operating at 1×1 binning (1.1 arcseconds per pixel)
Losmandy G11 equatorial mount guided with a Televue Pronto guidescope and SX Lodestar guide camera.
Baader Ha and SII (7nM) and Astrodon OIII (3nM) filters.

Located at the center of the Heart Nebula (IC 1805) is a small star cluster called Melotte 15 together with its associated emission nebula. That was the primary target for this image and is seen as the brighter area upper-right of center. I love the tortuous twisted clouds of dust and gas which wind their way through the star cluster, and towards the bottom left of the image are darker clouds which form the boundary of the Heart Nebula itself. This image is a narrow-band composition consisting of H-alpha, OIII and SII with each channel being a stack of 10 x 20minute subframes (a total of 10hours exposure).