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  • Bok Globules

    Reggie Jones

    This is my processed image of Telescope Live 1-Click Observation narrowband data of a tight field of view of the Running Chicken Nebula, IC 2948.  In this image, you have a clear view of the Box Globules contained within this nebula. 

    Bartholomeus Jan “Bart” Bok was a Dutch-American astronomer who did a lot of work studying the structure of our galaxy and how it evolved.  He first observed these small, very dark clouds of dense gas and dust in the 1940s and later published a paper on these observations with his colleague Edith Reilly.  In the paper, they made the hypothesis that these dense objects were undergoing gravitational collapse to then form new stars and star clusters.  Bok’s hypothesis remained active but unverified until 1990 when near infrared observations were made on these objects.  The observations confirmed that stars were indeed being created inside these objects.  Generally, a typical Bok Globule can be between 2 and 50 solar masses of material in an area of about 1 light year across and most Bok Globules seem to result in the formation of double or multiple star systems.

    You’ll find these objects usually in Hydrogen II regions where they contain molecular hydrogen, carbon and helium and silicate dust.  You will specifically see them in images of not just in the Running Chicken Nebula, but also in images of NGC 281 - the Pacman Nebula, and NGC 3372 - the Eta Carina Nebula.

    Targets containing Bok globules are a challenge to process; you want to get as much of their detail as you can and not lose the larger detail of the emission nebula they’re contained in.  In this case, IC 2948 has very low surface brightness and is a challenge just to capture it well.  This Telescope Live 1-Click dataset was captured earlier this spring on the CHI-1 telescope; this is the Planewave CDK24 with the FLI PL9000 camera located at the Observatory El Sauce in Rio Hurtado Chile.   The dataset contains 56 narrowband sub exposures - 19 Ha, 19 SII and 18 OIII each taken at 600 seconds exposure each for over 9 hours of data.  I processed this using PixInsight using the Hubble Pallette (SHO).  The main challenge I had with this dataset was teasing out all the different colors that I could and still have the Bok globules really stand out in the image with some depth as if you’re floating inside viewing everything.  PixInsight has a lot of great tools to do this.  Grab all the data here:


    IC2948 TL - 1.jpeg

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