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IC342 (The Hidden Galaxy)

IC342 - The Hidden Galaxy in Camelopardalis IC342 - The Hidden Galaxy in Camelopardalis ©2015 Frederick Steiling

Winner of Reddit's /r/astrophotography DSO of the Year (2015): Announcement thread

Winner of the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri's Image of the Year (2015): Award Newsletter

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Target Information
Main Target Designations IC342, C5
RA Center 03h 46m 36.464s
DEC Center +68° 06' 13.02"
Rotation -0.466°
LHαRGB 460’/220'/120'/120'/120'
L subframes 1200" @ 1x1
Hα subframes 1200" @ 1x1
R/G/B subframes 600" @ 2x2
Total Integration 17hrs 20min
Date(s) of acquisition 12Oct2015, 15Oct2015, 08Nov2015, 09Nov2015
Locations Whiteside, MO
Imager SBIG STF-8300M
Telescope/Lens Orion 8" f/3.9 Astrograph
Mount Celestron CGEM
Guiding Apparatus OAG-8300
Guiding Camera QHY5L-II
Filter Wheel FW5-8300
Wide Filters Astronomik LRGB
Narrow Filters Astronomik 12nm Hα
Coma Corrector Baader MPCC Mark III
Collimator Orion LaserMate
Focusing Bahtinov mask
Acquisition Sequence Generator Pro
Guiding PHD2
Processing PixInsight 1.8

Here we get to play a little universal hide-and-seek.  Sitting directly behind an arm of the Milky Way sits this gorgeous barred spiral galaxy, IC342.  Also in the fifth position of the Caldwell catalog (C5), IC342 can only be viewed through the dust and countless stars of our own galaxy, making for a wildly colorful display of a corner of our universe.

IC342 contains many active star formation regions.  Previously, I've been unable to highlight these (as in my early NGC2403 image) because I lacked the proper filtering.  However, with the CCD and a Hα filter now at my disposal, these star formation regions come to light, presenting themselves as pink splotches through IC342's arms.  Much like emission nebulae, these star formation regions release a considerable amount of energy at the 656.28 nm wavelength in the red visible spectrum, and are just one more treat these giant ornaments provide us.

I've gone with 20' luminance subexposures in this image in order to maximize the detail of this galaxy, a difficult task with all the Milky Way dust in the way.  It paid off in spades, gifting us with the far reaches of its arms as a result.  The single downside of such long luminance subexposures is the oversaturation of brighter stars, which I may be able to combat in the future via HDR combination with a shorter set of subexposures.  In the meantime, however, we can enjoy this difficult hidden wonder, and claim victory in this game of intergalactic hide-and-seek.

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