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Contains:  IC 359, IC 360, The star Alcyone (τTau), The star χTau, The star φTau, The star 44Tau
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Dark Nebulae of Taurus Molecular Cloud

Technical card

Resolution: 3600x2410

Dates:Dec. 11, 2018

Frames: 43x120" ISO1600

Integration: 1.4 hours

Darks: ~20

Flats: ~16

Bias: ~50

Avg. Moon age: 3.84 days

Avg. Moon phase: 15.79%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 4.00

Mean SQM: 21.10

Mean FWHM: 2.90

Temperature: 10.70 job: 2464638

RA center: 67.540 degrees

DEC center: 26.307 degrees

Pixel scale: 9.860 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 178.407 degrees

Field radius: 5.933 degrees

Data source: Traveller


This wide field depicts part of the great Tarurus Molecular Cloud, with many dark dense clouds of gas and dust. These so called Dark Nebulae were catalogued by Barnard in early 20th century. Taurus molecular cloud is located some 400 light-years away, and is one of the closest regions of low-mass star formation [1]. In this image, some 20 full moons across, several of Barnard's clouds can be seen: Barnard's (B) 7, 10, 14, 18, 19, 22, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 220. [2] Small bluish reflection nebulae surround scattered fainter Taurus stars, as well as nebulae from other catalogues such as LBN and vdB.

This region is somewhat less imaged than the brighter and better known Pleiades (M45) Star Cluster and California (NGC1499) Emission Nebula. I find dark clouds to be incredibly beautiful, and a great target for wide field astrophotography.

Capturing dark nebulae is a challenge to any astrophotographer. The objects are so faint (they're indeed dark), that integrating several hours of exposure is often required for best results - to get wnough SNR. As already discussed in some previous posts, objects of the Southern Spring and Summer appear in the rainy period, thus capturing them is a challenge for Brazilian astrophotographers. This image was captured in a rare opportunity in early December 2018. The exposure time was limited to about 1h30. That is quite short to get a high-quality result of the target, but given the conditions, I'm happy to have registered these targets I hadn't captured until now.

Constructive criticism, comments and suggestions are more than welcome in the comments section. Thank you for taking your time to look at this image.

Date and Time: December 11, 2018;
Location: MG, Brazil. Rural Skies (Bortle 3-4, SQM ~21.1*calculated)
Camera: Canon EOS 80D (unmodded), at ISO 1600
Lens: Samyang 135mm f/2, operated at f/2.4
Mount: Sky-Watcher HEQ5, tracking, guided
Guiding: Starguider 50mm Guidescope + ASI120mm + PHD2; ~1.1”
Exposure Detail: 43x120s total 86 min

[1] APOD 21/03/2018 [2] Aladin/VizieR (Barnard's Catalogue of 349 Dark Objects in the Sky, 1927)



Gabriel R. Santos...
License: None (All rights reserved)

Sky plot

Sky plot


Dark Nebulae of Taurus Molecular Cloud, 


            Gabriel R. Santos...