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Crux and Coalsack Nebula (C99)

The Crux constellation and the Coalsack Nebula (C99) are so close to each other that we can shot it through a 135mm and a cropped APS-C sensor.

And I finally did it! Let’s see how it ended.

The Crux constellation

The Crux constellation is probably the most known constellation of the southern hemisphere, and it’s easy to understand why. There are 4 stars, being the less brighter yet on magnitude 2.75, and disposed on a “cross” shape very easy to locate.

This constellation is full of surprises. Just to the left of the star called “Mimosa” (Beta Crucis) is the Jewel Box (NGC 4755), a beautiful, bright open cluster with stars of many colors.

The star Alfa Crucis, also known as “Magellanic Star”, is the brightest one, with 0,8 mag. This is also a multiple stelar system, with at least 3 stars.

The Coalsack Nebula (C99)

I don’t know why, but I just love dark nebulas. And the Coalsack is awesome! C99 is the biggest one seeing from earth, with dimensions of 7×5 degrees! It is HUGE!

I first discovered C99 a few years back, while I was on the firsts steps with astrophotography. I pointed my D5000 to the Crux with a tripod and toke some 15s shots. When I saw this huge shadow I couldn’t believe.

The picture itself

Shot it was pretty easy, to be fair. I started just after the sunset, but the first 4 frames was lost due to the INTENSE traffic of artificial sattelites. I should have thinking on that, right?

Then I made more 96 frames of 60 seconds with my D5000 and my Nikon 135mm f2.8 at f4.

This was the result:

Crux and Coalsack Nebula (C99)

Setup:

Nikon D5000
Nikon 135mm f2.8 AIs at f4
iOptron CEM25P

Exif:

96 x 60s ISO 400

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Eta Carinae Nebula (NGC 3372) Close-Up

So, after shoting Eta Carinae Nebula (NGC 3372) with a wide angle lens, now it’s time to shot this target again, this time to inaugurate my new OTA with a close-up of those beautiful hydrogen clouds and giantic star clusters.

Not everyone knows, but Eta Carinae Nebula (NGC 3372) is four times larger than the Orion Nebula (Messier 42) and even brighter. Don’t misunderstand me. Messier 42 is incredible, but Eta Carinae is special. It is so complex, with a lot of star clusters, Hydrogen Alpha regions, dark clouds… and it’s huge! And the big red giant in its center? Speechless. This red giant totally deserves an dedicated post for its own.

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Eta Carinae (NGC 3372) in wide angle

Finally, on January 7, I was able to try my “new” old Nikkor 135mm f2.8 AI, that promises to be a great wide angle lens. I chose as a target Eta Carinae Nebula, or NGC 3372.

This nebula is one of the most beloved targets of the south hemisphere. It is located on the Carina constellation, and just the main nebula itself (NGC 3372) have 2 degrees of aparent size. It is huuuuuge!

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