Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 21:20 EDT
Cassiopeias Bubble Nebula
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Cassiopeia's Bubble Nebula

December 6, 2012
[ Read the Article: New One Degree Imager Camera Captures Stunning Image Of The Bubble Nebula ]

Just in time for the holidays, a spectacular image of the Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635) demonstrates the potential of the new camera known as the One Degree Imager, or ODI, that is being commissioned at the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope on Kitt Peak. The Bubble Nebula is a shell of gas and dust carved out by the stellar wind of the massive central star (BD+60 2522), and ionized by the same star’s high-energy light. Located in the constellation Cassiopeia, this nebula is about 10 light-years across.

The accompanying wide field of the Bubble Nebula covers an area of the sky of 25 by 25 arc minutes, just a little smaller than the full moon. The exquisite resolution, or sharpness, of the stars right to the edge of the image is a hint of things to come.

This image of the Bubble Nebula was created using three different filters (referred to as g, r and i) which are then assigned to the colors blue, red and yellow, respectively. The wide field color image has not been fully corrected to remove all defects and artifacts from the data reduction process, but the accompanying smaller image showing the heart of the nebula is in a final form. Color combining of astronomical images is an art as well as a science: the work on this image was done by Dr. Travis Rector, who explained, “When making an image in effect we are translating what the telescope can see into something our eyes can see. In the process of generating an image we assign different colors to each filter that we use. Where possible we assign colors to each filter that roughly correspond to what the human eye would see.”

Credits: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), WIYN ODI team & WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF