Today's Image

December’s deep sky: Photos of the Spaghetti Nebula and more

Red bulbous sphere of gas in deep sky with tinges of blue.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mainak Chakraborty in Kolkata, India, took this image on December 2, 2021. Mainak wrote: “The most difficult target I have ever faced till now: Simeis 147, the Spaghetti Nebula, or Sharpless 2-240. It’s a supernova remnant in the Milky Way, straddling the border between the constellations Auriga and Taurus. It’s difficult to observe due to its extremely low brightness. It was so faint … so faint … that first I was not capable of even locating it. So a GOTO mount was the only solution. Learning from the failures before, I was able to image the most difficult target I have ever faced. A memorable experience in my life.” Thank you, Mainak! See more of December’s deep sky below.

December deep sky photos

Enjoy these December deep sky photos of nebulae and galaxies taken by members of the EarthSky community.

The 2022 lunar calendars are here. Order yours before they’re gone!

Black and white image of the cloudy dust with a flame shape at left and horsehead at center.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hoskin in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, took this image on December 12, 2021. David wrote: “My most recent deep space image, the Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) and the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024). Both are in Orion near the star Alnitak in Orion’s Belt. Barnard 33 is a small and diffuse dark nebula about 1,500 light-years from Earth. NGC 2024 is an emission nebula approximately 1,350 light-years from us. This is a mostly hydrogen alpha image I created from red channel data captured using an L-eNhance narrowband filter that selects for hydrogen alpha, hydrogen beta, and oxygen III wavelengths of light.” Thank you, David!
Bright blue light at center with gas in shape of face profile looking down from top.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mainak Chakraborty in Kolkata, India, took this image of the Witch Head Nebula on December 6, 2021. Mainak wrote: “Presenting the image of the Witch Head Nebula (IC 2118). This is an extremely faint reflection nebula believed to be an ancient supernova remnant or gas cloud illuminated by nearby supergiant star Rigel in the constellation of Orion. It’s quite easy to locate Rigel. So framing Rigel will automatically frame this nebula. But photographing it is quite difficult.” Thank you, Mainak!
Red cave-like shape made of gas with bright blue stars.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mainak Chakraborty in Kolkata, India, took this image of the Orion Nebula on December 5, 2021. Mainak wrote: “Presenting the image of the Orion Nebula. The Orion Nebula is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way, being south of Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae and is visible to the unaided eye in the night sky. It’s quite easy to locate that nebula. But photographing it is a difficult thing. Specially, I had to notice that the core should not be overexposed. I have tried not to expose much. Hope you like it.” We do! Thank you, Mainak!
Three white dots in an angled line at top with reddish and lavender gas clouds.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Ken Chan in Portola Valley, California, captured this image of the area around Orion’s Belt on December 1, 2021. Ken wrote: “Headed out on a clear, moonless night to celebrate Orion’s return to the night sky. This constellation is pretty easy to locate with the prominent Orion’s Belt marking the waist of the Hunter. This area is also rich in targets with the Flame Nebula, Horsehead Nebula, Running Man Nebula and Orion Nebula all within the frame.” Thank you, Ken!

Two Triangulum Galaxies

Bluish-white points of light arranged in a spiral with hazy arms.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Samir Patel took this image of M33 on December 4, 2021. Samir wrote: “This is my very first image of the Triangulum Galaxy taken from Hope, New Jersey, at our local astronomy club grounds (UACNJ). The image has a total integration of around 3.5 hours (72 x 3 minutes).” Thank you, Samir!
Lavender spiral galaxy with arms swirling counterclockwise.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hoskin in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, took this image of the Triangulum galaxy on December 5, 2021. David wrote: “The Triangulum galaxy (Messier 33) is a spiral galaxy located in the small triangle-shaped constellation Triangulum. This galaxy, which is about half the size of our Milky Way galaxy, is 2.73 million light-years from Earth.” Thank you, David!

Other December galaxies

An edge-on spiral galaxy with a dust lane on its rim.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Karthik Easvur in Madurai, Tamilnadu, India, took this image of the Sombrero Galaxy on December 11, 2021. Karthik wrote: “Sombrero Galaxy from my balcony. It is around 30 million light-years away from Earth. It’s known for its bright nucleus, dust lane across the central bulge and super massive black hole in its center. It’s called Sombrero due to the resemblance to Mexican hat. This galaxy lies between the borders of the Virgo and Corvus constellations. Whenever I photograph a galaxy, it reminds me of the fact that we are just a dust particle in this massive universe.” Thank you, Karthik!
Cigar-shaped light at lower left and spiral shaped light at upper right.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mainak Chakraborty in Kolkata, India, took this image of M81 and M82 on December 16. 2021. Mainak wrote: “The Cigar and Bode’s Galaxies with my new GT81 IV. Like the other sessions, I have fully enjoyed this amazing scope. Hope you like it.” Thank you, Mainak!

Bottom line: Amazing astrophotographers in the EarthSky community shared their photos of December’s deep sky with us.

Posted 
December 31, 2021
 in 
Today's Image

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