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Monday, July 20, 2020

Featured Deep-Sky Object - Gum 15 Nebula

As Insight Observatory's affiliate 12.5" f/9 Ritchey-Chretien (ATEO-3) remote telescope, located at Deep Sky Chile, undergoes some upgrading in preparation for its next round of imaging for Starbase and education projects, we thought it would be appropriate to feature an interesting deep-sky object imaged on ATEO-3 in the past year.

Gum 15, an emission nebula, is a little-known object located in the southern constellation Vela at a distance of about 3,000 light-years from Earth. The glowing cloud is a perfect example of an HII region. This nebula has many similarities to the more famous HII region, Messier 20, the Trifid Nebula located in the constellation Sagittarius. It is shaped by aggressive winds flowing from the stars within and around it. The bright star in the center of the nebula is HD 74804, a double star.

Gum 15 Nebula located in the southern constellation Vela imaged on ATEO-3. Image data acquired by  Franck Jobard and processed by Utkarsh Mishra.  Image set available for download on Starbase.
Gum 15 Nebula located in the southern constellation Vela imaged on ATEO-3. Image data acquired by
Franck Jobard and processed by Utkarsh Mishra.  Image set available for download on Starbase.

The blueish whisps are dusty streamers from the scattering of blue light of the star HD 74804. Dark dust all throughout the nebula is detected through a thick lane in the middle of the nebula. The material is perhaps behind the star, on the far side from our viewpoint, therefore we don't see the scattered light. Also, to the lower left, you can see what looks like the bright outline of a dark mountain, pointing inward toward the star. That feature is designated SFO 58.

Gum 15 Nebula image data is currently available for subscription and downloading in Insight Observatory's image set repository, Starbase. Below are the image parameters available for the nebula image set.

ATEO-3 - 12.5" f/9 Quasar Ritchey-Chretien:


Sources: Wikipedia, European Southern Observatory (ESO), and Bad Astronomy - Phil Plait.

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