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IC 59 and IC 63
IC 59 and IC 63
Exposure Data
  • Image Field of View: 54.9' x 36.6'
  • Camera Field of View: 75' x 50'
  • Scope: 130 mm f/8 triplet apochromatic refractor
  • Focal Length: 1,025 mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/8
  • Camera: Canon 20Da
  • ISO: 1600
  • Exposure: 6 x 600 seconds (60 minutes total)
  • Filter: None
  • SQM: 20.80

IC 59 and IC 63 are a combination of emission and reflection nebulae located near the super luminous star Gamma Cassiopeiae in the constellation of Cassiopeia. They are 600 light years away from Earth.

The blue reflection portion of the nebulosity is illuminated by the light of Gamma, the brilliant star at the top of the frame. The red nebulosity glows from hydrogen gas ionized by the ultraviolet radiation from Gamma.

Gamma Cassiopeiae, which varies in brightness from magnitude 1.6 to 3.0, is the middle star in Cassiopeia, whose constellation figure looks like the letter "M" or "W" depending on whether the constellation is above or below Polaris.

Although Gamma is a bright star, it has no Arabic or Latin name. It does have the name of Tsih, which means the "Whip" in Chinese. It also has the nickname of "Navi". Virgil Ivan Gus Grissom, the second astronaut in space for the United States, named this star after his own middle name spelled backwards. Gamma, or Navi, was used for celestial navigation early in the days of manned space flight because it was easy to find and identify visually.

The General Catalog of Variable Stars lists Gamma as an eruptive variable star and says: "Eruptive variable stars vary in brightness because of violent processes and flares occurring in their chromospheres and coronae. The light changes are usually accompanied by shell events or mass outflow in the form of stellar winds of variable intensity and / or by interaction with the surrounding interstellar medium."

North is to the bottom in the above image.

IC 59, IC 63
  • Catalogs:
    • IC 59, LBN 620, Sh2-185
    • IC 63, LBN 623, Ced 4b
  • Object Type: Emission and Reflection Nebulae
  • Size: 15' x 12' each
  • Constellation: Cassiopeia
  • Image Field Centered At:
    • RA: 00h 57m 22s
    • Dec: +60° 58' 31"

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