Milky Way from Taurus to Perseus
On this page a 25°×35° wide-field view of the Milky Way in the constellations Taurus, Auriga and Perseus is presented in different color composites.
The region south of the galactic plane is full of Molecular clouds.
The pictures below are downscaled versions.
Selected details are shown in the second section. The third section contains a presentation of some discoveries.
Image and instrument data can be found at the end of this page.
This image is a false color composite where H-alpha (including red continuum) is mapped to red, blue continuum (including [OIII] and H-beta emissions) is mapped to green and red continuum (without H-alpha) is mapped to blue,
i.e. HII regions appear reddish and reflection nebulae appear blue to green.
Stars are partially subtracted in order to make the faint nebulae visible.
This visualization is a pseudo color image which only uses the H-alpha data (including some red continuum). It shows much more details of the emission nebulae than the image above.
Color composition: After partial star subtraction the dynamic range was compressed using a non-linear hi-pass filter. That leads to a compression ratio r which is used to calculate the color as depicted in the legend.
(The legend shows the compression c:=1-r). Blue regions least compressed while white regions are most compressed. The luminance is determined by the tonal curve corrected result of the dynamic range compression.
An almost-true color image.
Unlike to the other images the stars are not subtracted. This improves the visibility of dark nebulae that absorb the light from the stars behind.
Due to limited resolution in continuum channels the image is only presented at half resolution.
The greenish star cluster at the bottom are the Pleiades (M45, greenish here because blue continuum is mapped to green).
Distance is about 130pc (430 light-years). The dust which scatters the light from the stars lies about 0.3pc to 0.7pc (1 to 2 light-years) in front of the stars, see .
Most of the other reflection nebulae (greenish to blue) belongs to the Taurus Molecular Cloud (the picture covers most of it) which extends within a distance of about 130pc to 200pc (420 to 650 light-years), see .
Thus, Pleiades nebula and and Taurus Molecular Cloud may be associated.
The reflection nebulae (blue to green) in top left quarter belong to Taurus Molecular Cloud.
The dense structure (partly as dark nebula) in bottom left quarter belong to Perseus Molecular cloud which extends within a distance of about 280pc to 320pc (910 ly to 1040 light years, see .
Further molecular clouds that are visible in that image where measured in .
These molecular clouds partly obscure a huge HII region (red) which brightest part seems to be the California Nebula (NGC 1499).
That structure is analyzed in detail at separate page:
HII region around California Nebula (NGC 1499).
The Spaghetti Nebula (SH2-240, Simeis 147) is a supernova remnant.
HII region containing IC 405 (Flaming Star Nebula, Sh2-229, the lower bright area in the bottom left quarter) and IC 410 (SH2-236, the upper bright area in the bottom left quarter).
and to define new objects.)
Some (probably not all) of these unexplored nebulae have been collected in the list below. Click on the following links for a presentation.
Objects that are not cataloged by now and objects the are related to them. The list does not contain objects that are only minor extensions of known structures.
For a detailed description of the object H1, also see the HII region around California Nebula (NGC 1499).
Uncataloged HII rings and arcs. Some of these structures may be random, some may be projections of spherical shells (bubbles).
Such structures are always circular in the image because stereographic projection was used.
The outlines of these structures (all but CA1) are completed to circles.
It may be helpful to toggle these plots on and off by pressing the '2' key in order to improve the visibility.
False color images containing H-alpha and continuum:
H-alpha is mapped to red, blue continuum is mapped to green and red continuum (without H-alpha) is mapped to blue.
Color of molecular clouds and reflection nebulae in the false color image is something between green (bluish in reality) and blue (reddish in reality).
HII regions (ionized hydrogen) appear red to orange, depending on the amount of OIII (doubly ionized oxygen) which is detected by the blue continuum filter.
A repository with the discoveries can be found at GitHub
Images where captured with a camera array which is described on the
Image data are:
RA: 4h36', DEC: 32°
Above: North is right
10 arcsec/pixel (in center at maximum resolution)
35°×25° (RA×DEC, through center)
Sum of exposure times of all frames used to calculate the image.
H-alpha: 7.4 d
Continuum channels: 5.8 d
All image processing steps are deterministic, i.e. there was no manual retouching or any other kind of non-reproducible adjustment. The software which was used can be downloaded
Image processing steps where:
Bias correction, dark current subtraction, flatfield correction
Alignment and brightness calibration using stars from reference image
Stacking with masking unlikely values and background correction
Denoising and deconvolution both components (stars and residual)
RGB-composition (same factor for stars and residual for the true color composite)
Dynamic range compression using non-linear high-pass filter
Tonal curve correction
Gibson, S.J.; Nordsieck, K.H.
"The Pleiades Reflection Nebula. II. Simple Model Constraints on Dust Properties and Scattering Geometry".
The Astrophysical Journal. 589 (1): 362–377.
P. A. B. Galli 1, L. Loinard 2,3 H. Bouy 1, L. M. Sarro 4, G. N. Ortiz-León 5, S. A. Dzib 5, J. Olivares 1, M. Heyer 6, J. Hernandez 7, C. Román-Zúñiga 7, M. Kounkel 8, and K. Covey,
"Structure and kinematics of the Taurus star-forming region from Gaia-DR2 and VLBI astrometry".
Astronomy & Astrophysics 630: A137.
Gisela N. Ortiz-León et al.
"The Gould's Belt Distances Survey (GOBELINS). V. Distances and Kinematics of the Perseus Molecular Cloud."
The Astrophysical Journal, 865 (1): 73
Ungerechts, H. & Thaddeus, P.
"A CO survey of the dark nebulae in Perseus, Taurus, and Auriga".
Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 63: 645-660.