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About the image:
This is a true colour wide field photograph of NGC1499, also known as the California nebula due to it resembling the shape of the state of California. The image was captured as a focal length of 135mm using the Samyang 135mm F2 manual lens and the ZWO 294 dedicated astro camera cooled to -10 C. I am particularly please with how this image cam out as you can see the very faint dark dust that surrounds the main nebula region. The California Nebula is a large HII Emission nebula located in the constellation of Perseus, visually it is very dim and therefore difficult to see with the naked eye in all but the darkest of skies. It is relatively close to the Suns position in the galaxy (see galaxy map below) at a modest 1,000 light years away.
Due to being only 1,000 light year away and relatively large, at a diameter of 60 light years across, the California nebula spans 2.5 degrees, or 5 full moons lined up side by side.
The whole nebula is emitting its own light due to the gases being excited by high energy particle from the nearby O7 type star, Menkib, found just above the main nebula in this image - also see the annotated version below.
Where in our galaxy is it?
The California nebula is right in our galactic backyard at a mere 1,000 light years away looking in the direction of the Perseus constellation.
Original map by Nasa
Where in the sky is it?
The California Nebula can be found in the constellation of Perseus, high in the night sky of the UK during the winter months. It is fairly close to the famed Pleiades star cluster.