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A Heart (but no Soul)

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As the weather here in the UK is still terrible, I’m still messing about with older data. Here is a re-processed image of IC 1805 – The Heart Nebula which lies in the constellation of Cassiopeia. This image, taken through a 7nm Hydrogen-Alpha narrowband filter, is composed of about 8 hours of exposures, each of 20 minutes. To help appreciate the apparent scale of this image, the full moon would fit about 4 times across it, but the field is not wide enough to include the nearby Soul Nebula – hence the title for this blog entry.

This large emission nebula is a region about 200 light-years across and lies in the Perseus arm of our Milky Way galaxy. Our Solar Syatem is located on the Orion-Cygnus arm which is just ‘inside’ and next to the Perseus arm. The IC 1805 region is about 7,500 light years away (compared to the overall diameter of the Milky Way which is roughly 100,000 light-years across).


This emissions from this lovely nebula are powered by a cluster of hot, young stars, collectively known as Melotte 15. ‘Young’ at only 1.5 million years old, really means just that, when you consider our Sun is over 5 billion years old. However, some of these youngsters weigh in at about 50 times the mass of our Sun, and will burn bright and fast. Here is the center of the Heart in more detail.