Cat’s Paw Nebula

An emission nebula with the resemblance of an animal’s paw print, in the constellation of Scorpius. It is a stellar nursery containing some massive new stars.

The red hue comes from ionised hydrogen atoms.

NGC 6334:

Visual magnitude: +10.0.
Apparent diameter: 40 x 30 arc-min.
Actual diameter: 30 light years.
Distance: 820 light years.


Exposure: 4 x 4 min ISO 1250.
Date: 2017-08-22.
Location: The Oaks, NSW.
Sky: semi-dark rural sky, clear.
Processing: Canon DPP, Deep Sky Stacker and GIMP.
Cropping: yes.

Telescope: Skywatcher ED120 refractor, 840mm focal length, f/7 focal ratio.
Mount: SkyWatcher EQ6-R.
Polar aligning: QHYCCD PoleMaster.
Guiding: Orion ShortTube 80 OTA, Orion StarShoot camera and PHD2 software.
Camera: Canon EOS 60D.
No filter, no flattener.




Image © R.Powell



  1. Such a wonderful capture of this great nebula, Roger!
    If we to ask the computer to run this nebula forward into time, a few million years from now, it may look still less like a cat’s paw than it does today.
    Stars are born, stars evolve, stars die. The more massive the star, the faster it burns up…


  2. That’s right, Kazia.
    Most stuff in the Universe gets recycled. The molecules that our bodies are composed of were all previously located inside at least one star and maybe more.


  3. True, Roger.
    Our Sun eventually will burn out and the Earth will not survive the sun’s expansion into a full-blown red giant star.
    In the end, our molecules will flow into space with the atoms in the planet Earth back into the gas and dust it was before.
    For a time being let’s look at the night sky as often as we can, our future home. It contains all the wonder what we know.


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