The Tarantula Nebula, Chile

The Tarantula Nebula
Hacienda los Andes, Chile   –   February 18, 2023
— Ralph Paonessa
EOS R6   *   TEC APO200FL f/8   *   ISO 1600   *   f/8

The Tarantula Nebula is a large and very luminous emission nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. It is the most active starburst region known in all the Local Group of galaxies.

RGB H-alpha modified camera.

65 x 2 min = 2.2 hr total exposure

Stacked and processed in PixInsight with the following steps:

- Weighted Batch Preprocessing

... dark subtraction

... cosmetic correction

... local normalization

... integration by PSF Signal Weight

... drizzle integration

- Dynamic Background Extraction

- Spectrophotometric Color Calibration (G2V white ref.)

- BlurXTerminator

- Histogram Transform to non-linear

- StarNet2 to separate nebula from stars

- HDR Multiscale Transform

- Local Histogram Equalization

- Curves for contrast and saturation

- Shrink stars and recombine

- NoiseXTerminator

- Multiscale Linear Transform (sharpen)

Because my first processing attempt showed more blue than I expected, I tried again with a different white reference (G2V star) which resulted in more red. But I've since learned that this nebula emits strong Oxygen-III (blue) light along with Hydrogen-alpha (red). It's debatable which color balance is more "correct," so it may be viewer's choice.

Photo ID: Tarantula Nebula RGB v3