Sh2-119 – The Fireball XL5 Nebula


Ron Brecher

Guelph, Ontario, Canada

SBIG STL-11000M camera, Baader Ha, R, G and B filters, 10″ f/6.8 ASA astrograph, Paramount MX. Guided with QHY5 guide camera and 80 mm f/6 Stellar-Vue refractor. Acquisition, guiding and mount control with TheSkyX. Focusing with FocusMax. Automation with CCDCommander. All preprocessing and post-processing in PixInsight. Shot from my SkyShed in Guelph, Ontario. Nearly full Moon for Ha and little moonlight for RGB. Good to excellent transparency and poor to good seeing throughout acquisition.

12x15m R, 6x15mG, 5x15mB and 25x20m Ha unbinned frames (total=14hr05m).

This patch of glowing hydrogen lies “beneath†(so more or less east) of the Pelican Nebula. Although it is captured in many images that I’ve seen of this region, I’ve only seen a few where this patch is the main subject of the image. It is catalogued as LBN400 and Sh2-119. Since it is part of the complex around the North American Nebula, it’s distance is on the order of 1,800 light years.

When I initially couldn’t find a catalogue number for this object, I asked Gail and my daughter Chelsea help me name this nebula. We quickly landed on “Fireball XL5 Nebula†in honour of the Thunderbirds’ space ship. One of the many, many things that my wife, Gail, and I have in common is that we both loved The Thunderbirds growing up (“Filmed in SUPERMARIONATIONâ€).

The colour image blends the red, green and blue colour channels with data collected through a deep red H-alpha filter. The black and white image shows the H-alpha data on its own.