Monday, April 16, 2018

Southern Belle


 Rain, rain, rain... my astronomical activities are certainly taking a bath right now. Fortunately, in this age of the internet, I can hook up with some remote-control telescopes, located in areas which are much more likely to have clear skies. One such telescope is located in Chile and is made available to members of Slooh.com, an organization oriented to the world-wide astronomical community.

Some of the most impressive astronomical objects are located in the southern sky, visible at night only from areas close to, and south of the Earth's equator. One of those objects is Eta Carina.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Carina Nebula (catalogued as NGC 3372; also known as the Grand Nebula, Great Nebula in Carina, or Eta Carinae Nebula) is a large, complex area of bright and dark nebulosity in the constellation Carina, and is located in the Carina–Sagittarius Arm of our galaxy (Milky Way). It has an estimated distance between 6,500 and 10,000 light-years (2,000 and 3,100 parsec) from Earth.

The nebula is contains many other objects, from the intrinsically brightest star in our galaxy to several star clusters, gaseous star-forming regions, and other interesting sights.  It is one of the largest diffuse nebulae in our skies. Although it is some four times as large and even brighter than the famous Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is much less well known due to its location in the southern sky. It was discovered by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille in 1752 from the Cape of Good Hope.



a wide-field view of (η) Eta Carina

Here's a larger image of Eta Carina Nebula's core.


At this time, we have no plans to travel south; from a narrow point of view, to take a photo of this nebula/star assembly remotely saves the money. None-the-less, it would be nice to see this southern belle directly, it is a beauty even in binoculars, though you won't see the colours seen in the two images.

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