“Ain’t no chickens here!”

Resembling Ja Ja Binks or the little alien dudes from Toy Story, here we have the the entire nebulosity of IC 2944, as seen through the new widefield Stellarvue SV70T.

There’s a lot going on for the eye to see and the mind to imagine here.

If you look closely at the top left “eye” it somewhat resembles it’s nearby neighbour, NGC 3324 Gabrielle Mistral, (or perhaps her husband) and the middle “eye” pays homage to the Cat’s Paw, NGC 6334.

The right “eye” is the angry Hound of the Baskervilles, and the lower nebula resembles a big blue jumping flea!

I’m intrigued by the swirling blue region at the lower right, which is presumably O3 gas blown by hot stellar winds from the hot young stars in the centre.
The hard yellow S2 shock fronts also seem to act as a cosmic dam for the inner O3 region.

Anyway, lots more to see and ponder and that’s why I invested in a wide field ‘scope.

A bonus was picking up the “Pearl Cluster” lower left of the frame. But I’m not sure if my RGB stars are quite right, there’s still a bit of unregistered red spill going on, so maybe I need to reprocess/re-align them or maybe capture them from a dark site with no LP.

This data set was all captured from my light polluted suburban backyard in Melbourne.

I was keen to go pretty deep on this, so courtesy of a nice burst of stable Melbourne weather, albiet under a full-ish moon, I spent five nights in all capturing around 30 hrs of Narrowband data, and 20mins ea of 1min R,G& B for the stars.

Silver Award (with Distinction) 2016 AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards

Silver Award (with Distinction) 2016 AIPP Victorian Professional Photography Awards

Image chosen as NASA APOD May 31, 2016

Click to View

IC2944 Running Chicken Nebula narrowband image
IC 2944 Running Chicken Nebula

Capture Details

TelescopeStellarvue SV70T
CameraQSI 683 WSG8
MountSkywatcher EQ6 Pro
FiltersAstrodon 3nm Ha, O3, S2 & RGB
Guiding CameraStarlight Xpress Lodestar X2
Integration time (Exposure)30 Hrs
LocationBurwood, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
DateMarch 2016

About this Nebula

To some, it looks like a giant chicken running across the sky. To others, it looks like a gaseous nebula where star formation takes place. Cataloged as IC 2944, the Running Chicken Nebula spans about 100 light years and lies about 6,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Centaur (Centaurus). The featured image, shown in scientifically assigned colors, was captured recently in an 11-hour exposure from a backyard near Melbourne, Australia. Two star clusters are visible: the Pearl Cluster seen on the far left, and Collinder 249 embedded in the nebula’s glowing gas. Although difficult to discern here, several dark molecular clouds with distinct shapes can be found inside the nebula. (APOD)

Image chosen as NASA APOD June 24th, 2016


About APOD

Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) is originated, written, coordinated, and edited since 1995 by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell. The APOD archive contains the largest collection of annotated astronomical images on the internet.

APOD in general and the APOD site served from NASA specifically places links solely on information content and does not endorse any commercial product nor guarantee claims or sales made on any linked pages.
In real life, Bob and Jerry are two professional astronomers who spend most of their time researching the universe. Bob is a professor at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, USA, while Jerry is a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland USA. They are two married, mild and lazy guys who might appear relatively normal to an unsuspecting guest. Together, they have found new and unusual ways of annoying people such as staging astronomical debates.

Apod selects images from the Hubble, Cassini Spacecraft, and the world’s top observatories. A select few amateur astronomy images are occasionally featured. To have one’s image chosen by APOD/NASA is generally regarded as the highest honour for an amateur astrophotographer.


“First Light and first APOD for my new Stellarvue SV70T Telescope!”


- Andy Campbell