I have questions.  LOTS of questions.  Don’t we all have questions?  Well, it turns out that space also has questions.. or at least one anyway!  This week’s Picture of the Week features the Question Mark Nebula (NGC 7822)  both at 100mm (above) and 300mm (below).

As I’ve been experimenting with light painting over the years (using flashlights to illuminate foreground objects, or in some cases, to make light streaks), I can’t say I’ve ever had much of a purpose when I’ve done it.  I typically just keep playing around until I end up with something I like.  Well, last year when I was looking at an image of the winter Milky Way I had created, it occurred to me that what I should have done was make a C shape with the light I was holding to mimic Bernard’s Loop in the sky.  I didn’t have the occasion to remake it, but it got me thinking: what if I used light painting more purposeful.  This week and next week’s Picture of the Week are the fruit of that idea.  For this week’s picture, I had Holly make a question mark in the air with a flashlight, which I thought helped the viewer make sense of the nebula a bit better (especially since it appears “sideways” and “upside down” from our perspective here in the northern hemisphere).

As I mention above, the first image is shot at 100mm and represents just over 4 hours of total integration time.  The image below is at 300mm, and represents almost 5 hours of total integration time.  For the image below, you’ll note that I processed it a bit differently, which ultimately changes it appearance a little bit, but hopefully illustrates the detail of the nebula a bit better.

More next week!

–Dan Thompson

Title Address Description
Doughton Park
CRF9+JG Whitehead, NC, USA

Alternate Perspective

ˈȯl-tər-nət pər-ˈspek-tiv
  1. A substitute or different visible scene.
  2. Another view or angle.

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