Monkey Head Nebula in Narrowband

The Monkey Head nebula – ngc2174 is an emission nebula (click here for an explanation on emission nebulae) located in the Orion Constellation. It was given this name because of its resemblance to the side face of a monkey, as you can see well from the photo.

About 6,400 light-years distant, the glowing cosmic cloud of gases (primarily Hydrogen but consisting of many gases such as Oxygen & Sulphur) surrounds loose clusters of young stars. As seen from Earth, the nebula covers an area larger than the full Moon in the sky.

This image was taken in narrowband, which basically means that I put filters on that only took specific section of the light spectrum and then assigned specific colors. It’s a different variant of Hubble Palette technique, as I have used more of pastel pink for Sulphur emission (whereas Hubble palette uses primarily red), with blue for Oxygen emissions and green/red for Hydrogen Alpha.

This nebula is larger than the field of view of my telescope/camera combination, so I had to take two side-by-side images and then had to merge them using Maxim DL mosaic tool (similar to Panorama technique).

I spent a whopping 47 hours on this image. For each of the two panels, I took 33 Ha (Hydrogen Alpha), 15 OIII (Oxygen III) & 22 SII (Sulphur II) images of 20 minutes each. This kind of long exposure is the key reason why we have so much smooth data recovered from this dim object.

Leave a Reply