This fortnight, we have a proper image!
NGC 2020 is an emission nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies. It’s a hotbed of star formation, and as such has huge starburst and very bright emission regions, and as such is one of my favourite photographic targets.
NGC 2020 is one of those odd nebulae with very few good photos available of it, so I decided to try my hand at it. Now, the only comparison image I have available to make is one taken by the European Space Organisation’s VLT (Very Large Telescope), which is an array of four 8.2 metre aperture telescopes.
Yes, I do have aperture envy.
What’s interesting is the absolute disparity between the hydrogen-alpha and oxygen-III regions in this molecular cloud; usually in emission nebulae, the two elements have prominent structure, but are intermixed. This image actually has two nebulae in it; to be precise, NGC 2020 is the formation in the lower left corner of the picture.
But enough talk, have an image!
This was composed of 2x1200s+2x600s+5x300s (5100s total integration per filter) exposures in Ha and O-III, colourised according to a bi-colour RGB processing method to approximate true colour.