IC 63 Ghost of Cassiopeia

Powerful gushers of energy from seething stars can sculpt eerie-looking figures with long flowing veils of gas and dust. One striking example is “the Ghost of Cassiopeia,” officially known as IC 63, located 550 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.

The nebula’s ethereal glow might remind people of apparitions such as those reported by paranormal investigators. In reality, it’s simply hydrogen that is being bombarded with ultraviolet radiation from the nearby, blue-giant star Gamma Cassiopeiae (not seen here), causing it to glow in red light. The blue color is from light reflected off of the nebula’s dust.

The IC 63 nebula is not the only object under the influence of the blinding star, which unleashes as much energy as 34,000 suns. The Ghost Nebula is part of a much larger nebulous region surrounding Gamma Cassiopeiae that measures approximately two degrees on the sky — roughly four times as wide as the full Moon.

The constellation Cassiopeia is visible every clear night from mid-northern and higher latitudes. Its distinctive “W” asterism, which forms the queen’s throne, is best seen high in the sky on autumn and winter evenings. Gamma Cassiopeiae, the middle star in the W, is visible to the unaided eye, but a large telescope is needed to see IC 63.

 

IC 63 Ghost of Casseipea
Dates: Oct. 1, 2021
Techincal Card of image
Imaging telescopes or lenses: William Optics 81GT IV
Imaging cameras: ZWO ASI 6200 MM Pro
Mounts: Celestron Advanced VX Goto GEM Celestron AVX
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Skywatcher Evoguide 50mm Skywatcher
Guiding cameras: ZWO ASI122mc ZWO
Software: Adobe Photoshop 2021  ·  PixInsight 1.8 Ripley PinInsight 1.8.8
Filters: ZWO OIII 7nm 2″  ·  ZWO SII 7nm 2″  ·  ZWO H-alpha 7nm 2″
Frames
ZWO H-alpha 7nm 2″: 17×500″ (2h 21′ 40″) (gain: 100.00) -15C bin 1×1
ZWO OIII 7nm 2″: 4×500″ (33′ 20″) (gain: 100.00) -15C bin 1×1
ZWO SII 7nm 2″: 14×500″ (1h 56′ 40″) (gain: 100.00) -15C bin 1×1
Integration: 4h 51′ 40″
Avg. Moon age: 24.39 days
Avg. Moon phase: 27.06%
RA center: 00h58m54s.910
DEC center: +60°4731.33
Pixel scale: 2.017 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: -177.568 degrees
Field radius: 1.921 degrees
WCS transformation: thin plate spline
More info:Open 
Frames:
ZWO H-alpha 7nm 2″: 17×500″ (2h 21′ 40″) (gain: 100.00) -15C bin 1×1
ZWO OIII 7nm 2″: 4×500″ (33′ 20″) (gain: 100.00) -15C bin 1×1
ZWO SII 7nm 2″: 14×500″ (1h 56′ 40″) (gain: 100.00) -15C bin 1×1
Integration: 4h 51′ 40″
Avg. Moon age: 24.39 days
Avg. Moon phase: 27.06%
Skymap
Histogram