NGC 3324: the Gabriela Mistral Nebula

The Gabriela Mistral Nebula is an emission nebula in Carina. NGC 3324 is an HII region excited by an open star cluster (OCL 819) in its center. It is located about 7,200 light-years away at the northwest corner of the Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) in the southern constellation of Carina. In fact, IC 2599 is the southern part of NGC 3324.

A rich deposit of gas and dust in the NGC 3324 region fuelled a burst of starbirth millions of years ago and led to the creation of several extremely massive and very hot stars. The intense ultraviolet radiation from these hot young stars causes the gas cloud to glow and has carved out a cavity in the surrounding gas and dust. In fact the stars are slowly eroding the gas cloud away.

Astronomers often attach nicknames to nebulae based on their shape and their earthly likenesses. The edge of the wall of gas and dust at the right bears a strong resemblance to a human face in profile, with the “bump” in the center corresponding to a nose. So, NGC 3324 is often called the Gabriela Mistral nebula, after the Nobel Prize-winning poet from Chile.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Astro-Physics 152mm f/7.5 Starfire EDF
Imaging cameras: FLI ProLine Proline 16803
Mounts: Software Bisque Paramount MX
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Takahashi FS-60C
Guiding cameras: Starlight Xpress Superstar
Focal reducers: Astro-Physics AP 4.0″ Field Flattener
Software: PixInsight 1.8, Software Bisque TheSky6 Professional, FocusMax, Cyanogen Maxim DL Pro 5, Photoshop CS Photo Shop CS5, CCD Autopilot 5
Filters: Astrodon E-series LRGB Ha 5nm
Accessories: Sirius Dome
Dates: Feb. 7, 2014
Locations: Sydney Australia
Frames: 22×1200″
Integration: 7.3 hours

Author: David Nguyen

AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI

25 March 2014