NGC 6334. The Cat’s Paw Nebula


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NGC 6334 is also known as the Cat’s Paw Nebula or the Bear Claw Nebula and is located in the constellation Scorpius. This very red emission nebula (the Hydrogen emission is many times stronger than any of the other usual lines captured with narrowband filters, OIII or SII) spans about 40×30 arc minutes and was discovered by John Herschel in 1837. This region is currently being thoroughly studied and monitored, because it’s undergoing a star “baby-boom”. A mass of gas more of than 200,000 suns is forming stars at the highest known star birth-rate found in our galaxy. Very recently about 2,000 stars were formed and about 10,000 are being formed right now. In the future, all this burst of new, massive, hot stars will strongly modify the nebula’s appearance. It will resemble the current nebula surrounding the Pleiades, although its 10 times larger distance won’t allow us to see it in the same grandeur…

The colors of this 1×2 mosaic have been mapped so as to reproduce the visible spectrum of this nebula.

Additional Information


Name(s): NGC 6334, Gum 63, the Cat’s Paw Nebula, the Bear Claw Nebula.

Type: Emission Nebula

RA:  17h 20m 09s

Dec: -35ΒΊ 51’ 42”

Constellation: Scorpius

Size (arcmin): 40×30

Magnitude: 10

Distance: 5,500 ly


Date: Many, starting July 2015 and ending Aug 2016.

Location:, SSO near Coonabarabran, NSW Australia

Size (arcmin): 58×32 (mosaic 1×2)

Telescope: Planewave CDK 20” f/6.8

Camera: SBIG STX16803 (4096x4096pix)

Guiding: Astrodon MonsterMOAG off-axis guider

Total exposure: 23 hours (Ha: 8 hs; OIII: 9 hs; SII: 3 hs; RGB: 3 hs (only stars))

Processing: CCDStack, Photoshop CC 2017

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