Eta Carinae Nebula

Eta Carinae Nebula(400)ab.jpg (130957 bytes)

Object Type:   Emission Nebula
  120' x 120'

The Eta Carinae Nebula is one of the most spectacular objects in the night sky, located at a distance of 10,000 light-years.  Although it is not as bright as the brightest portion of the Orion Nebula, its apparent size is about four times as large.   At the heart of the nebula is the variable star Eta Carinae.  Eta Carinae is one of the most massive stars in the known universe, at more than 100 solar masses, and also one of the most luminous, being 4 million times more luminous than our Sun.   Since it was first cataloged by Edmond Halley in 1677, Eta Carinae has varied in brightness from eighth magnitude to as bright as -1 magnitude.  Currently it is around sixth magnitude.

Instrument:   Vixen 102-ED, on a Great Polaris mount
  2 x 30 minutes, manually guided
  E200, pushed one stop to 320
  June 20 and 21, 2001
  Chisamba, Zambia
Technical Notes:  Two exposures were digitally blended to create the final image.  I experienced difficulty with guiding due to severe declination backlash from a loose set screw on the declination drive gear, which accounted for the slight trailing in the image.

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