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From the Cats Paw Nebula to the Ptolemy Star Cluster | by TransientAstronomer
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From the Cats Paw Nebula to the Ptolemy Star Cluster

This three-pane panoramic image covers a uniquely beautiful part of the constellation Scorpius from the Cat’s Paw and War and Peace nebulae to the beautiful Ptolemy Star Cluster. This part of the night sky covers roughly 9 x 5 degrees, for reference the full moon is about half a degree in width.


The glowing red nebulae in this area to the right are is the aptly named Cat's Paw Nebula and the War and Peace Nebula. The Cat's Paw Nebula, an emission nebula and active star forming area located about 5,500 light years distant and bears a striking resemblance to a cat’s paw. The War and Peace Nebula also called the Lobster Nebula is also an emission nebula that contains proto-stars forming in the clouds of gas and dust that lie within this area. Also, in the War in Peace Nebula is the open cluster Pismis 24 which contains some of the more massive stars known, some of them approaching 100x the mass of our Sun.


As you move to the left in this image you'll notice the bright clouds of the Milky Way and dark dust lanes that are highlighted by two bright blueish stars at the bottom Shaula on the left and Lesath to the right, Shaula the second brightest star in the constellation Scorpius is relatively close to Earth and very bright at about 10,000 times the luminosity of the Sun which is why it shines at a 1.62 magnitude in our night sky. As you move further to the left there are two orange/yellow points of light, one is the star HR 6630 a close star to our solar system at around 126 light years away, and to the left of it is a much farther away Globular Cluster NGC6441 which is about 38,000 light years away!


Then finally once you head up to the top left of this image the very beautiful Ptolemy cluster shines with stars blue and golden in color. This open star cluster is visible to the naked eye and gets its name from Ptolemy who mentioned it around 130 AD when he described it as a, 'little cloud following the stinger of Scorpius.' The Ptolemy Cluster is about 1.3 degrees across in our night sky and has an actual diameter of 18-25 light years. It contains about 80 stars and being only 800-1000 light years distant they appear very bright in our night sky.


Cat's Paw Nebula on APOD:


War and Peace Nebula wiki:


Shaula wiki:


NGC 6441 wiki:


Ptolemy Cluster from Universe Today:



Technical Info:


~10x240" three-panel mosaic at 1600ISO

10x Dark

10x Flats

20x Bias


Camera: Canon 6D Hutech UV/IR Mod

Telescope: William Optics Star 71 Astrograph

Reveal Focus Filter by David Lane

Mount: Celestron Advanced VX

Guide Scope: Orion Mag Mini With SSAG


Capture Software: Backyard EOS

Stacking: Deep Sky Stacker

Processing: Photoshop CC, PixInsight


Date: 7/4/2019 PDT

Location: Los Padres National Forest, CA


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Taken on July 5, 2019