The Tarantula Nebula, Chile

The Tarantula Nebula
Hacienda los Andes, Chile   –   February 18, 2023
— Ralph Paonessa
Canon 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 (avg spiral galaxy 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