HAPPY HALLOWEEN, from 1,200 light years away!


THE GHOSTS OF CEPHEUS present a cosmic view with the chiaroscuro that the old great painters might have applied to their canvases. Here a few bright stars illuminate an otherwise dark and cold molecular cloud of gas and dust some 1,200 light years away.

Their ghoulish and scalloped shapes are as surprising as they are rare in other similar clouds. Note the conical outflows on the right side of the cloud where a star is forming and blowing dust from deep within.

Optics 32-inch Schulman Telescope (RCOS)
Camera SBIG STX CCD Camera
Filters Astrodon Gen II
Dates Summer 2011
Location Mount Lemmon SkyCenter
Exposure LRGB = 360:70:70:70 minutes
Acquisition ACP Observatory Control Software (DC-3 Dreams),TheSky (Software Bisque), Maxim DL/CCD (Cyanogen)
Processing CCDStack (CCDWare), Photoshop CS5 (Adobe)

Top Five Halloween Objects:

1. M45 – The Pleiades
2. The ET Cluster, NGC 457, in Cassiopeia
3. M11 – The Wild Duck Cluster in Scutum
4. M13 – The Great Hercules Cluster in Hercules
5. M31 – The Great Andromeda Galaxy in Andromeda.