NGC 3324

Gabriela Mistral Nebula in Carina

Image exposure:
32 minutes
Image size:
35.4 x 23.7 arcmin
Image date:
one arcmin is a sixtieth of a degree.

NGC 3324 was one of the first five objects imaged by the Webb Telescope a couple of months ago. Webb zoomed in on a very tiny portion of the nebula and captured it in infrared with incredible detail.

I’ve imaged this object once before. I found it a difficult object, due to the low brightness as it fades across the nebula from one side to the other. It was just as difficult the second time and it should have deserved a longer exposure.

It is called the Gabriela Mistral Nebula after a Nobel Prize winning poet from Chile. I’m not too sure about the likeness though.

The object is an outlying associate of the much larger Eta Carinae Nebula, NGC 3372. If Eta Carina were to be likened to Australia, then Gabriela Mistral would be the island state of Tasmania.

(Technically, the catalogue number NGC 3324 refers to the small open star cluster near the centre, whilst the emission nebula is catalogued IC 2599 and also known as Gum 31).

Cosmic Focus Observatory

I know you are all dying to know what that timber thingy on the left hand side is for. It is a masonite sheet attached to pole. It looks a bit like a basketball practice rig โ€“ without the ring.

For those that don’t remember, I had a glare problem from a nearby street light, which was made considerable worse a couple of years ago when a higher pole with a new outrageously bright LED and unshielded lantern was installed by the Council.

The black masonite is my glare protection shield, which I can strategically place to defend the telescope aperture from the unwanted stray light, which the rascals at my local council are throwing at me, from entering the optical tube.

I call it my Universal Street-lighting Over-brightness Defence Shieldโ€ฆ.

โ€ฆ..or USODSTM for short. ๐Ÿ˜„

โ—ฝ Meade LX-90 200mm Schmidt-Cassegrain 2000 mm @ f/10.
โ—ฝ Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro mount.
โ—ฝ ZWO ASI 071 MC cooled imaging camera.
โ—ฝ Images ยฉ Roger Powell

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  1. It’s called a Bahtinov Mask. It’s a cheap and simple aid to manually focus a telescope, prior to imaging an object.

    It’s a plastic disc with grating cut-outs.

    A bright nearby star is centred in the ‘scope and the mask is placed on the front end of the telescope.

    When approaching a fine focal adjustment, the pattern of the grating produces three straight lines through the star. When the lines are symmetrical, the ‘scope is in focus and the mask can be removed.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. One is enough. I have several offending street lights but I just position the screen to protect from a light which is in the same direction as the ‘scope is pointing.

      I built it from bits and pieces bought from Bunnings. I put trolley wheels on the first version and soon realised what a bad idea that was….

      Liked by 1 person

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