The Tarantula Nebula (starless), Chile

The Tarantula Nebula (starless)
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.

This version was processed to remove all the stars, leaving only the nebulosity.

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 no stars