Hershel’s Ray (or the Pencil Nebula) – 800 light years distant.

Brightest part of the huge Vela Supernova Remnant – travelling across space at 500,000 km/hr
20hrs exposure, using two narrowband filters (Ha & O3) RG & B stars – and Cannistra Bicolour processing technique.

1hr each RG & B 60 secs

Processed in Astropixel Processor & Photoshop CC 2018


NGC 2736 Hershels Ray
NGC 2736 Hershels Ray

Capture Details

TelescopeSidereal Trading Skywatcher 10" F4 CF Newtonian
CameraQSI 683 WSG8
MountTak NJP
FiltersAstrodon 5nm Ha, O3 & RGB
Guiding CameraStarlight Xpress Lodestar X2
Integration time (Exposure)20 hrs
LocationBurwood, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
DateJan, 2019

About this Nebula

Moving from top to bottom in the frame near the centre of this sharply detailed colour composite, thin, bright, braided filaments are actually long ripples in a cosmic sheet of glowing gas seen almost edge-on. The shock wave plows through interstellar space at over 500,000 kilometres per hour. Cataloged as NGC 2736, its elongated appearance suggests its popular name, the Pencil Nebula. The Pencil Nebula is about 5 light-years long and 800 light-years away, but represents only a small part of the Vela supernova remnant. The Vela remnant itself is around 100 light-years in diameter, the expanding debris cloud of a star that was seen to explode about 11,000 years ago. Initially, the shock wave was moving at millions of kilometres per hour but has slowed considerably, sweeping up surrounding interstellar material. In the narrowband, wide field image, red and blue colours track the characteristic glow of ionised hydrogen and oxygen atoms. (APOD)

Hershel’s Ray

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“That is the exploration that awaits you! Not mapping stars and studying nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence.”

- Leonard Nimoy