Sharpless 86 (Sh2-86) is a rich and beautiful emission nebula surrounding the open star cluster NGC 6823 plus small reflection nebula NGC 6820 in Vulpecula. The star cluster including 50 to 100 stars was discovered by William Herschel in 1785 and is about 6000 light years away. The remarkable pillar like features that are pointing markedly towards NGC 6823 are probably formed by radiation from the brightest nearby cluster stars. This is where new stars are born. A research paper on the cluster can be found here.

The above image is a composite of Ha, OIII and SII narrowband data with more than 24 hours of total exposure time from the Deep Sky West Observatory. As usual, the Ha channel has ample of data and structures, while the other are fighting with noise. As an experiment I processed the Ha data after drizzle integration at double the resolution and used it as luminance channel. The other channels were stretched and denoised at their original resolution without taking too much care about sharpness or fine details – just to get the color information. After PixelMath and LRGBCombination followed by some further enhancements, I down-sampled the image to its original resolution.

Exposure: HOS, (22,14,16) x 1800sec Date: 2016-06-18…2016-09-09
Setup: Takahashi FSQ106 EDXIII with QSI 683WSG-8 Site: Deep Sky West Observatory, NM, USA

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