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Hemisphere:  Northern  ·  Contains:  Sh2-129
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The Flying Bat and the Squid (Sh2-129 & OU-4), 


            Luca Marinelli
Powered byPixInsight

The Flying Bat and the Squid (Sh2-129 & OU-4)

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Takahashi FSQ 106 EDX4

Imaging cameras: ZWO ASI1600MM Pro

Mounts: SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro (EQMOD)

Guiding telescopes or lenses: Baader Planetarium Baader Vario 60mm F4.1

Guiding cameras: ZWO ASI 290 MM MINI

Focal reducers: Takahashi CR Reducer 0.73x

Software: Starnet ++  ·  Photoshop CC  ·  PIXINSIGHT 1.8  ·  Seqence Generator Pro  ·  PHD2 Guiding PHD2 v2.6.5

Filters: Astrodon Narrowband 5nm OIII  ·  Astrodon Narrowband 5nm Ha  ·  Astrodon Tru-Balance Gen2 E-Series - B 36mm  ·  Astrodon Tru-Balance Gen2 E-Series - G 36mm  ·  Astrodon Tru-Balance Gen2 E-Series - R 36mm

Accessory: ZWO EFW 7 x 36mm  ·  Optec FocusLynx QuickSync FSQ Motor

Dates:Aug. 2, 2019Aug. 5, 2019Aug. 11, 2019Aug. 20, 2019Aug. 24, 2019

Astrodon Tru-Balance Gen2 E-Series - B 36mm: 20x60" (gain: 50.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astrodon Tru-Balance Gen2 E-Series - G 36mm: 20x60" (gain: 50.00)
Astrodon Tru-Balance Gen2 E-Series - R 36mm: 20x60" (gain: 50.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astrodon Narrowband 5nm Ha: 116x480" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astrodon Narrowband 5nm OIII: 222x480" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1

Integration: 46.1 hours

Darks: ~50

Flats: ~20

Flat darks: ~50

Bias: ~100

Avg. Moon age: 11.98 days

Avg. Moon phase: 46.81%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 5.00 job: 2891641

RA center: 21h 7' 46"

DEC center: +60° 7' 9"

Pixel scale: 4.026 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: -61.262 degrees

Field radius: 2.021 degrees

Resolution: 2120x2928

Locations: Home Observatory, Schenectady, New York, United States

Data source: Backyard


Sh2-129 is a large HII region known as the Flying Bat nebula in the constellation Cepheus, at a distance of 2,300 light years from the Sun. The field of view presented in this image spans 2 degrees by 3 degrees, or 4x6 full moon diameters. Inside Sh2-129 is the Squid nebula (Ou-4), discovered in 2011 by French astrophotographer Nicolas Outters . The curious bipolar shape of Ou-4 led the original investigators to hypothesize that the Squid could be a planetary nebula and its size, if its position was confirmed inside Sh2-129, would make it the closest observed planetary nebula to Earth.

A more recent investigation confirmed the location of Ou-4 within Sh2-129 but argued against Ou-4 being a planetary nebula concluding “it is reasonable to suppose that Ou-4 is an outflow launched some 90,000 years ago from the massive triple stem HR 8119” (the bright blue star in the center of Sh2-129 and Ou-4 responsible for the radiation that makes both nebulas glow). In this paper there is also a detailed morphological description of Ou-4, including the multiple arc shape of the bow shocks at the Northern and Southern tip of the nebula, visible in the image presented here. In this scenario, the Squid Nebula would physically be 50 light years across.

In addition to Sh2-129 and Ou-4, in the bottom left corner of the image, reflection nebula vdB 140 can also be identified with some of the blue continuum signal passing through the OIII filter.

To cover this field of view, I used the Takahashi FSQ106 with the 0.72x (equivalent focal length 385mm, f/3.6) and acquired data for a two panel mosaic. The data presented here is a combination of Ha and OIII narrowband images and RGB color for the stars. Data was collected with a ZWO ASI1600MM Pro (gain: 50, offset: 20 for RGB, gain:139, offset: 50 for narrowband). Processing in PixInsight (calibration, mosaic assembly, and linear processing) and Photoshop CC (non-linear processing).

Two-panel mosaic (top and bottom) :

Top: Ha: 57x8min, OIII: 97x8min, RGB: 20x1min each channel
Bottom: 59x8min, OIII: 125x8min, RGB: 20x1min each channel

Version G: Inverted OIII data in a cropped image around OU-4. I attempted to reproduce some of the morphological findings in Corradi et al. In the inset, the bow shocks at the South tip of OU-4 are sketched.



Luca Marinelli
License: None (All rights reserved)


    The Flying Bat and the Squid (Sh2-129 & OU-4), 


            Luca Marinelli
    The Flying Bat and the Squid (Sh2-129 & OU-4), 


            Luca Marinelli
  • Final
    The Flying Bat and the Squid (Sh2-129 & OU-4), 


            Luca Marinelli
    The Flying Bat and the Squid (Sh2-129 & OU-4), 


            Luca Marinelli


Description: Improved color saturation and tonal control in the highlights.


Description: Toned down background slightly.


Description: Inverted OIII cropped image of OU-4 to compare morphology of the nebula to what was reported in Corradi et al., arXiv:1407.4617v1 (2014). Inset: Enlargement of the south tip with highlighted bow shocks.

Sky plot

Sky plot


The Flying Bat and the Squid (Sh2-129 & OU-4), 


            Luca Marinelli