Why it is called the Heart Nebula (for me)
In the process of putting this image together, I came across two objects that I was unfamiliar with. Anytime a section of sky is sampled, the direction in which you look could contain many different kinds of objects at various distances. This field is taken with a telescope and large chip that yields an exceptionally large field of view ( See the Astronomy Picture of the Day with the Moon and M31 that Tim and I worked on ). I usually clean the images by removing artifacts from left to right while looking at the image at 200-300% of its normal size.
In doing so I came across a very strange object directly to the East (left) of the rim of Heart Nebula. I quickly identified this as a small elliptical Planetary Nebula. However, I noted it really only showed up well in the Hydrogen-alpha data and it was otherwise fairly dim. This is the first time my heart skipped a beat. I thought to myself that this little guy may be yet unknown to the astronomical community! After about an hours worth of research I finally came across a reference to this object, called WeBo 1. It was discovered serendipitiously near a well-known stellar X-ray source in the same direction. Darn!
As I continued to clean and lamented my missed opportunity, I eventually worked my way to the top right of the frame where once again my heart had reason to deviate from its normal rhythm. I noticed some interesting striations of nebulosity that seemed out of place and not part of the rest of the nebulous complex in the field. My mind quickly settled on the idea that these were the result of a supernova explosion. So I attempted to find supernovae remnants in various catalogues. Eventually, with the help of the Matthias Kronberger from the Deep Sky Hunters Yahoo Group, indeed it was a known object of this type. (this seems to be the Eastern arc of the SNR HB 3, which is listed by Green in the latest version of the Catalogue of Galactic Supernova Remnants ( VII/227 in VIZIER )). Again Darn!
So in addition to the Heart Nebulas morphological characteristics, it also literally played havoc with my heart as I attempted to produce the image seen above.
Date: Acquired December 2006
Telescope: Televue 127is
Camera: Apogee U9000
Total Integration Time: Ha = 10.75 hours : R = 4.5 hours : G = 3.5 hours : B = 3.5 hours
This is an R(+Ha)GB image.
Minimum Credit Line: Adam Block and Tim Puckett.
See the full caption with annotated links at: