Sh2-114 The Flying Dragon Nebula (Colour)
Click image for full size version
August 24, 2014
For the last three weeks, I have spent every chance I had to image this faint Sharpless nebula. I think it is the faintest object I have ever imaged. When I first found it in a catalogue I was intrigued by the fine structure in the centre, as well as the outer wings. Together the whole scene reminded me of a dragon in flight, tail swooping down to the left and wings outstretched upwards. Then I researched it further and discovered it’s nickname is the Flying Dragon Nebula! As with some other faint Sharpless nebulae, I haven’t been able to find much information about its distance, size, age or how it was formed. I did read that the strands in the centre are similar to those in supernovae remnants, but this object doesn’t seem to have been formed by a supernova (I haven’t found any suggestion to that effect anyhow). This object is in the Cygnus Milky Way, which is why there are so many stars scattered throughout the field.
In addition to this colour image, I produced a black and white image of this object using only the H-alpha data.
Acquisition in Maxim DL. All pre-processing and processing in PixInsight. Acquired from my SkyShed in Guelph, ON. SBIG STL-11000 with Baader HaRGB filters. 10″ ASA @ f/6.8 on a Paramount MX. Guiding with SV-80 80 mm f/6 refractor and camera’s Remote Guide Head. Imaging runs were scripted using CCDCommander. No moon for RGB data and gibbous to full for H-alpha. Transparency and seeing average for R, G and B and excellent for H-alpha.
12x10m R, 12x10m G, 13x10m B and 60x10m Ha (total – 16hr 10m)
The batch pre-processing script was used to calibrate, register and combine the frames. First R, G, B and Ha channels were cropped, then R, G and B were combined, and Ha and RGB were background corrected with ABE. The NB-RGB Combine script was used to combine the Ha and RGB data (Ha scale of 1.2). The resulting HaRGB file was processed with ColorCalibration, HistogramTransformation, TGVDenoise, and another stretch. Then MultiscaleMedianTransform was used to separate the large scale (>8px) from small scale structures. Large scale was stretched and saturation increased before recombining the scales to make a new image MULTI. Then NB-RGB Combine script was run with the stretched Ha image and the MULTI file to boost the nebula a little further. A slight curve was applied to the entire image. Image scale is 1.1 arcsec/pixel.