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The Devil's Tower Nebula - RCW85 in Narrowband (April 2024)


This is an image of a not popular and rarely imaged and very faint nebula located almost exactly in between Alpha and Beta Centauri making it a deep southern sky object.
It’s labeled as ”The Devils Tower”, resembling the "Devil's Tower National Monument" in the USA. This nebula is about 6000 light year away and it is number 85 in the RCW (Rodgers, Campbell & Whiteoak) catalog… which is an astronomical catalogue or Hα-emission regions in the southern Milky Way.
This image was exposed through a C8 SCT at f6.3 with a QHY268M camera cooled to -5°C between 29 March and 15 April 2024.
The total integration time was 46 hours and 38 minutes of subs in Hα, OIII and SII narrowband with RGB wideband color.
This photo consists of 53x120s of Red, 49x180s of Green and 49x300s of Blue wideband subs with most of the signal picked up through the narrowband filters consisting of 68x600 of Hα, 42x1200 of SII, 52x900 of OIII subs.
Software used to capture, stack and process this image was APT 4.42, PHD 2.6.13, DSS 5.1.5, Siril 1.2.1 and Photoshop.

Update: I discovered that collimation of my SCT was way out of alignment during my setup to image the next object, which explains why my image of RCW85 turned out so soft… much softer than it should be when imaged at f6.3 through my C8 judging by my past results.
Initially I suspected that the softness of the image were due to imaging during nights of poor seeing but now I know that it’s poor collimation... oh well, all I can do it try and re-image this object with an attempt to improve on this photo, perhaps I'll image this nebula again next year.


© Mariusz Goralski

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