Hemisphere:  Southern  ·  Constellation: Orion (Ori)  ·  Contains:  NGC 1999
NGC1999 - The Keyhole, 


            Jason Guenzel
NGC1999 - The Keyhole
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NGC1999 - The Keyhole

Technical card

Imaging telescopes or lenses: CELESTRON EdgeHD 800

Imaging cameras: ZWO ASI1600MM-Cool

Mounts: Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G

Guiding telescopes or lenses: CELESTRON EdgeHD 800

Guiding cameras: ASI120MM

Focal reducers: Celestron 0.7x Focal Reducer

Software: Sequence Generator Pro  ·  PixInsight  ·  Adobe Photoshop

Filters: Astronomik Deep-Sky R 1.25"  ·  Astronomik Deep-Sky G 1.25"  ·  Astronomik Deep-Sky B 1.25"  ·  Astronomik L-3 UV-IR Block 1.25"  ·  Astronomik H-alpha 6nm CCD 1.25"

Accessory: Moonlite CHL 2.5" Large Format Crayford Edge Focuser  ·  Orion Thin Off-Axis Guider (TOAG)

Dates:Jan. 4, 2019Jan. 5, 2019Jan. 6, 2019Jan. 20, 2019Jan. 21, 2019Jan. 22, 2019Feb. 1, 2019Feb. 9, 2019Feb. 18, 2019March 3, 2019March 8, 2019March 11, 2019March 25, 2019

Astronomik Deep-Sky B 1.25": 25x240" (gain: 0.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik Deep-Sky G 1.25": 24x240" (gain: 0.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik Deep-Sky R 1.25": 25x240" (gain: 0.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik H-alpha 6nm CCD 1.25": 162x240" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik L-3 UV-IR Block 1.25": 128x180" (gain: 0.00) -20C bin 1x1

Integration: 22.1 hours

Darks: ~50

Flats: ~50

Bias: ~256

Avg. Moon age: 15.33 days

Avg. Moon phase: 41.11%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 5.00

Basic astrometry details

Astrometry.net job: 2957254

RA center: 5h 36' 2"

DEC center: -6° 36' 0"

Pixel scale: 1.053 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 0.889 degrees

Field radius: 0.412 degrees

Resolution: 1760x2200

Data source: Backyard


Located 1500 light years away, just below the tip of Orion’s sword, lies this complex stellar nursery. The area is bathed in hydrogen (red emission clouds) but deep within in the brightest area is a tiny feature called “The Keyhole”.

The Keyhole appears as a dark patch within a the blue reflection nebula. While first theorized to be a collection of dark dust, infrared studies have confirmed this to actually be a rift, through which the dark background sky can be seen. Astronomers surmise that this hole was punched out by the local energetic star-birth activity, but it’s true cause is still conjecture.

Herbig-Haro objects are scattered throughout this image. They are bright patches of nebulosity associated with newborn stars. The stars throw out ionized jets of gas which interact with the nearby clouds. They appear as small bright tendrils in orange/red.

As always, enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments!

I find it a shame this nebula is always overshadowed by its next door neighbor.