The Heart Nebula, IC 1805, Sharpless 2-190, lies some 7500 light years away from Earth and is located in the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. This is an emission nebula showing glowing gas and darker dust lanes. The nebula is formed by plasma of ionized hydrogen and free electrons.
The nebula's intense red output and its configuration are driven by the radiation emanating from a small group of stars on the left hand side of the image. This open cluster of stars known as Melotte 15 contains a few bright stars nearly 50 times the mass of our Sun, and many more dim stars that are only a fraction of our Sun's mass. The cluster used to contain a microquasar that was expelled millions of years ago.
Equipment and processing
Telescope: Orion 8 inch F5
Mount: Orion Atlas
Camera: ST 8300M
Filters: Baader Ha,SII,OIII 7nm
Capture software: Maxim
Exposures: Ha: bin1 64x600 OIII: bin2 26x600,SII: bin2 20x600