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Running Chicken to Eta Carinae: The area of the southern sky west of the Southern Cross is in richness of nebulae and highlight objects comparable with Orion´s Sword. This wide field image, spanning nearly 10x7 degrees, displays this extraordinary skyscape with it´s plentitude of emission and dark nebulae.

At the lower left corner you find Running Chicken Nebula (IC 2944), then in the center the two galactic nebulae NGC 3676 and 3603, and in the upper right corner Eta Carinae Nebula (NGC 3372), the prime highlight of the southern skies.

Three splendid Open Clusters are also contained in the image: On top of Running chicken is NGC 3766, at the upper edge NGC 3532 and beyond Eta Carinae to the upper right NGC 3293.

Please also have a look at the High-Res version to see more details.

The RGB part of the image was taken under the very clear sky of Sutherland close to the site of the South African Large Telescope (SALT).

I want to extend my sincere thanks to Jurg Wagener from Sutherland for providing me with one of his observation enclosures for setting up my equipment and his support during my stay. His every night starshows about the wonders of the Southern Sky are an unforgettable attraction for all Sutherland visitors. Find out more about Sutherland and its attractions here.


This image has been selected Astronomy Picture of the Day


Object Running Chicken to Eta Carinae
Category Nebulae
Designation Running Chicken to Eta Carinae
Constellation Centaurus-Carina
Optics Canon EF lens 200mm 1:2.8 @ f/3.5
Mount Takahashi EM-11, Astro-Physics GTO 900 (H-alpha)
Camera SBIG STL 11000M with internal CFW 5
Exposure 9 x 20min Baader H-alpha filter, 6 x 5min each Astrodon RGB filterset. Maxim DL for image acquisition
Calibration Dark + Flat Frame
Guiding Selfguiding
Processing Maxim DL5,Photoshop. Color Code L:H-alpha,R:H-alpha/R,G,B
Location-Date Sutherland, South Africa - 12 Feb 2010, Somerset West - 5 Jan 2010
Remark The RGB frames were taken in Sutherland, the H-alpha in Somerset West
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