NGC 3324. The Gabriela Mistral nebula

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NGC 3324 is an emission nebula belonging to the Eta Carinae Nebula Complex. It receives the name of Gabriela Mistral, the Chilean Nobel Prize in Literature for its resemblance to her (see accompanying image of her). Located at its Northwest corner, about 7,500 light years from us, it is a region where star birth rates are high. In this case, even the name NGC 3324 is associated to the open cluster present inside this nebula, in the official NGC Catalogue. In this image, it is easy to see that the presence of dust shows off in the darker marks that, not only over the “face” but also just on its rear side, are to be seen. The “profiled” line that enhances the similarity to a face is due to the stellar winds coming from these very young stars in the cluster. The teal-bluish region, off center to the right, reveals the doubly ionized oxygen atoms (OIII) and has been enhanced to add information to this detailed narrowband image.


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A different processing of the same image set. This time it is a modified Hubble Color Palette. OIII has not been mapped to Blue, but to its real teal-bluish color. The result has been partially blended with a narrowband image mapped to “real” color. This is another attempt to reveal better detail from the different gases that compose the nebula.

This image has been selected as AAPOD (Amateur Astronomical Picture of the Day) on July, 8th, 2017:

Additional Information


Name(s): NGC 3324. The Gabriela Mistral Nebula

Type: Emission Nebula

RA:  10h 37m 20s

Dec: -58º 37’ 57”

Constellation: Carina

Size (arcmin): 12×15

Magnitude: +6.7

Distance: 7,500 ly


Date: 2016-04-27 thru 2016-06-29

Location:, SSO near Coonabarabran, NSW Australia

Size (arcmin): 36.5×36.5

Telescope: Planewave CDK 20” f/6.8

Camera: SBIG STX16803 (4096x4096pix)

Guiding: Astrodon MonsterMOAG off-axis guider

Total exposure: 20.3 hours (Ha: 10x30min; OIII: 15x30min; SII: 10x30min; RGB: 2h50m, 34x5min)

Processing: CCDStack, Photoshop CC 2016

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