EbolaBooze’s Fortnightly Astro Corner: The Tarantula Nebula

So, I’ve missed a couple of these recently! Clouds and rain are not conducive to astrophotography.

Getting this completed is a bit of a personal goal reached for me, as I’ve been trying to get a good picture of the Tarantula Nebula (also known as 30 Doradus, or NGC 2070), for the better part of my astrophotography career.


The Tarantula Nebula is a massive star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies. It contains some of the heaviest stars known to astronomers, and was the site of the closest supernova to Earth (SN1987A). It’s also bright enough that if it were as close to us as the Orion Nebula, it would cast shadows at night.


This picture is a narrowband bi-colour composition of 4 hours of hydrogen-alpha data plus 2 hours of oxygen-III exposures. It’s a pretty difficult target for my at this time of year, as it’s pretty low on the horizon already when I can start imaging, and the shopping centre to my south doesn’t help with the light pollution levels. Still, good processing can work miracles. Ideally I’d get another hour worth of hydrogen-alpha data, and another three of oxygen-III, but beggars can’t be choosers.


Clear skies!

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