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The Fighting Dragons of Ara

A Narrowband View of a Dynamic Starscape


Click on the above thumbnails to view cropped regions of interest


NGC 6188, also known as the fighting dragons of Ara or (more mundanely) the Rim nebula is an emission nebula in the constellation of Ara. It gets its name from the apparent silhouette of two dragons engaged in a cosmic combat. Due to its hydrogen-rich clouds, NGC 6188 is a region of active star formation, and its structure is shaped by the powerful stellar winds of the young and massive stars within. The glowing bipolar planetary nebula, NGC 6164, is visible at the bottom of the frame, which some liken to being like the "dragon's egg". 

This is the narrowband colour-mapped version of the object, which was photographed from my home window in one of the most light-polluted countries in the world. The extensive exposures and filtering process allows this object to be seen in its full glory. A large proportion of the data was done through an oxygen III filter, which allows the faint halo around NGC 6164 to be seen. This halo was formed from the interaction between the stellar winds of the central star and material expelled by the star in the earlier years of its life. 

Read all about narrowband imaging here

Imaging Details

Location: Toa Payoh, Singapore

Date(s): June, July and August 2019

Telescope: APM LZOS 130 f/6 at f/4.5

Camera: Atik 16200M, Chroma 3nm narrowband filters

Mount: Losmandy G11/G2
Total Integration: 13 hours


Image reduction, integration and processing with Pleiades Astrophoto PixInsight.

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