The Heart Nebula, IC 1805, lies some 7500 light years away from Earth and is located in the Perseus arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. This is an emission nebula showing glowing gas and darker dust lanes. The nebula is formed by plasma of ionized hydrogen and free electrons.
The very brightest part of this nebula (the knot at the bottom left) is separately classified as NGC 896, because it was the first part of this nebula to be discovered.
The nebula's intense red output and its configuration are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars near the nebula's center. This open cluster of stars known as Melotte 15 contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, and many more dim stars that are only a fraction of our Sun's mass. The cluster used to contain a microquasar that was expelled millions of years ago.
This is a combination of 43 subs of Ha data and 44 subs of RGB data. Processed with ImagesPlus 3.80 and PhotoShop CS4
Telescope: WO 110mm Megrez ED Doublet with WO 0.8 FF Ver. II
Mount: Atlas EQ-G controlled with EQMOD
Camera: Canon 350D Modified with Baader-ACF
Filter: Astronomik 13nm Ha EOS clip filter and Astronomic CLS clip filter
Guide Telescope: StellarVue AT1010 78mm Achromat
Guide Camera: Orion StarShoot AutoGuider using PHD Guiding software