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  • Chris Baker

What Am I Working On?

Each month I will now highlight one particular imaging project I am currently working on. This month it is the FIGHTING DRAGONS nebula - from the observatory in Australia

Equipment in Australia


At the end of June this year the configuration in Australia was finally ready for operation. My first image was the Eta Carinae nebula which was launched last month. You can see it here

It is winter down- under giving me long dark nights and the weather has improved over the last couple of weeks giving me many hours of imaging each night.

One current project is the Fighting Dragons Nebula - this is a stunning star-forming region 4000 light years away in the constellation of Ara. Why it is called that will become evident once it is completed!

I'm aiming for 24 hours of imaging data so it is a long project over many weeks. I photograph through 3 different filters, Ha, SII and OIII, each capturing the data at a different wavelength.

Throughout each night, I take what are called 'sub frames'. These are multiple single images, in this case each 30 minutes in duration. Later I will select the perfect ones, discard the others and then stack those good images to make the data for that particular filter. There are also many calibration steps but that's for another day!

Here is a screen shot of a single 30 minute exposure through the Hydrogen Alpha filter. It is unprocessed and really what I would call 'raw' data -but it gives you a feel of the exquisite nature of this vast star forming region.

Raw data Ha 30 minute exposure

I have nearly completed capturing the required data and will now begin the task of processing. I use a range of software tools to extract the beauty and hopefully produce something that will look stunning on a wall as a Galaxy on Glass piece!

If you are interested in being notified of the completion of this piece- in advance of launch - and receiving a special introductory price then simply let me know by email headed 'dragons'.

Next month - I will feature my work on the Large Magellanic Cloud....

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