The “Heart and Soul” Nebulae

Northwest of the famous Double Cluster in the northern constellation Perseus, and just over the border of Cassiopeia, lies the pair of photogenic emission nebulae IC 1805 and IC 1848.  These sprawling complexes are just visible in small telescopes, but they are rewarding targets for astrophotographers.  Here are two fine new images of these objects, which are often called the Heart and Soul Nebulae.

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The Heart Nebula, IC 1805, lies about 5º NW of the famous Double Cluster in Perseus.  The nebula is an elusive object in a small telescope.  But it overlaps with the attractive star cluster Melotte 15 which shows 30-40 stars spread over a patch of sky half the size of the full Moon.  The nebula itself pops out in dark sky in a small telescope at low magnification.  A UHC or OIII filter help improve the contrast of the nebula.  It’s not an easy visual target.  But here’s a fine recent image by astrophotographer Terry Hancock…

IC1805_aug30_TMB92_QHY9_10x1800_HA_OIII_SII_reproc2

I*C 1805, the “Heart Nebula”. Credit: Terry Hancock. Click to enlarge.

IC 1848, the “Soul Nebula”, lies just 2.5º southeast of the “Heart”. While it’s a little hard to say what a soul looks like, in some images this nebula looks very much like a small human body, or perhaps a fetus.  Like the “Heart”, the Soul Nebula is just barely visible in a small telescope at low power with a good filter in a telescope in dark sky.  But the nebula photographs well.  Here is the companion image to the one above…

IC 1848, the “Soul Nebula”. Credit: Terry Hancock. Click to enlarge.

Thanks to Terry Hancock for sharing these images.  You can learn more about how Terry took these images, and see more of his work here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/terryhancock/8502897249

And here is a map to show you where to look for these nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia…

Map showing location of the Heart (IC 1805) and Soul (IC 1848) Nebulae.  Click to enlarge.

Map showing location of the Heart (IC 1805) and Soul (IC 1848) Nebulae. Click to enlarge.