A helping hand in Cassiopeia
Published 1 Jan 2022

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Full image field here: full resolution

About this object

This image shows a marvelous and busy area in the constellation Cassiopeia. It contains a large amount of dust, several dark nebula and several reflection nebula along with two interesting stars. Near the top center is the star SU Cassiopeiae which is a Cepheid variable at Mag 5.94. SU Cass is a Yellow giant with a spectral class of F5:lb-11. It's 19 times larger than our sun. SU Cass lies 1289 light years distant. Surrounding it is the blue reflection nebula VdB 9 which is lit up by SU Cass. The blue wisps extend quite a ways around this area. The other interesting star in the lower center left is the star RZ Cassiopeiae. RZ Cass is a white A3V main sequence star at mag 6.26. It's an eclipsing variable star which is 219 light years distant. The bluish nebulosity surrounding it is listed as VdB 7. However RZ Cass is apparently not the source to light up VdB 7 but another smaller 11th mag star nearby. Several dark nebula are right of center in the image. The upper part of this nebula looks like an opened hand, hence the nickname (The helping hand). The dark area of the hand, near the top finger is designated as LDN 1357 and below it near the palm, LDN 1355. The long dark area near center right is the dark nebula LDN 1358. Throughout this entire area encompassing the field of view is lots of molecular dust of varying thickness and color. Check out the annotated image showing where these objects are. Also check out the full res image to see lots of interesting detail. This image was taken under the dark skies of the Okie Tex Star Party in October 2021. It encompasses 14.3 hrs of exposure time using LRGB filters.
Image Details

  • Optics : Stellarvue SVX 152T refractor @f8 1200mm FL
  • Mount: Paramount MYT
  • Camera: ZWO ASI6200
  • Filters: Chroma 50mm LRGB
  • Exposure (min): LRGB 295:195:190:180 14.3 hrs, 2x2 binning
  • Automation Control: The Sky X, Voyager, PrimaluceLab Eagle 4
  • Guiding: StarlightXpress Lodestar X2
  • Processing Software: PixInsight
  • Location: Okie Tex Star Party, Kenton OK
  • Sky: Typical SQM 21.8, Bortle 1, Dark
  • Date: 3-8 Oct 2021
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