IC 405 the flaming star nebula in Auriga

IC405 the Flaming Star Nebula in Auriga

IC405, also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, is a bright and colourful emission nebula located in the constellation Auriga. This beautiful celestial object is located about 1,500 light-years away from Earth, and it is a popular target for astrophotographers.

The last time I imaged this nebula was in January 2021. The first time I ever imaged it was in November 2010. I returned to IC405 here in February 2023 to image it once again using new equipment and new post-processing techniques.

The Flaming Star Nebula gets its name from its distinctive appearance, which resembles a bright, fiery flame. The nebula is primarily composed of hydrogen gas, which is ionized by the intense radiation of nearby stars, causing it to glow brightly in a characteristic reddish hue.

While IC405 is primarily classified as an emission nebula, it also contains a fainter and more diffuse cloud of dust and gas, which appears bluish in color. This bluish cloud is a reflection nebula, which means it reflects light from nearby stars rather than emitting light on its own.

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IC405 h-alpha 3nm Optlong
A closer look at the intricate details of IC405 the Flaming Star Nebula. This is the hydrogen-alpha (Ha) component of the nebula, taken with the Optolong 3nm Ha filter.

The bluish outer cloud around the central region of the nebula is thought to be the remnant of a supernova explosion that occurred in the vicinity of the nebula many thousands of years ago.

This bluish dust lane partially obscures the light from the stars behind it, creating a striking contrast between the bright, glowing gas and the dark, shadowy dust.

IC405 is best observed with a telescope or a pair of binoculars. It is also best observed during the winter months, when it is highest in the sky and free from the interference of the moon.

The Flaming Star Nebula (IC405) is a beautiful and fascinating celestial object.


Image technical:

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