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Melotte 15 (The Heart Nebula)

  Melotte 15 is a stunningly beautiful and vibrant cluster of stars located in the heart of the enormous and complex molecular cloud complex known as the W80 region. This region is located in the constellation of Sagittarius, and Melotte 15 is thought to be one of the youngest and most massive star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. The cluster is made up of hundreds of hot and bright stars, ranging from massive blue giants to smaller, cooler red dwarfs. The stars are tightly packed together, forming a dense and compact cluster that is surrounded by a haze of glowing gas and dust. The colors of the stars range from bright blue to deep red, creating a dazzling display of celestial beauty.

Higher resolution can be found here:

| A Bristle in the heart of the Heart |

Cosmic clouds form fantastic shapes in the central regions of emission nebula IC 1805. The clouds are sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from massive hot stars in the nebula's newborn star cluster, Melotte 15. About 1.5 million years young, the cluster stars are toward the right in this colorful skyscape, along with dark dust clouds in silhouette against glowing atomic gas. A composite of narrowband and broadband telescopic images, the view spans about 30 light-years and includes emission from ionized hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms mapped to green, red, and blue hues in the popular Hubble Palette. 

Took just over 2 months since the commencement of the first sub-exposure!

Tried out a new processing workflow which was meant bring more emphasis on the dark and central gas structures while keeping the highlights toned down. I made a few variants of the Hubble palette but eventually settled on the good ol' traditional Hubble Palette colour grading. I finally created my own Luminance layering technique, which also brought out the sharp and cripsy details in the dark nebula region. The use of good masks were crucial for selective sharpening of the Luminance layer while the final layering was done traditionally in Photoshop CS 6.

Imaged from Central London

Image Details:

122 x 180s Ha
41 x 180s Oiii
80 x 180s S2

Scope/Lens: Skywatcher Quattro Series 8" F/4 newtonian
Camera: QHY 294M-pro
Mount: Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GT
Edited in Pixinsight and final tuches in Photoshop CS6.

Hope you enjoy it and Clear Skies!

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