Barnard 174 in Cepheus
Barnard 174 is a dark nebula in the constellation Cepheus. Dark nebulae or "fog" as it is sometimes called are clouds of cool gas, at temperatures close to absolute zero (-273C), located at cold dense areas of larger molecular clouds. Their thickness obstructs the visible spectrum of stars or whatever happens to be in its path. Only infrared and x-ray observations can be made through the fog. The dark color is due to microscopic dust particles coated with frozen carbon monoxide and nitrogen, which blocks visible light. Visible on the upper left of the nebula is an Herbig Haro object, seen as a tiny red patch. This is a type of nebula where newborn stars eject narrow jets of ionized gas that collide with the nearby clouds at several hundred kilometers per second, in this case likely with B-174. HH objects can rapidly evolve within a few years time, which makes them very interesting targets for the world's largest telescopes. They only got their own distinct category separating them from common nebulae in the 1940's*.
Curiously, I hadn't noticed the HH object in the image due to its low brightness, until my reprocessing of this older data, just a few days ago.
This was the first ever image I captured remotely out of state while traveling, and definitely takes the cake in the spooky category.
Please make sure to click on the image to see the full version.
Astrotech 12'' RC
Camera: QHY9M CCD
Filters: Orion 2'' LRGB
Mount: AP900 GTO
Guider: Meade DSI Pro II
Capture: CCD Commander, Maxim DL, FocusMax 3
Post process: Photoshop CC 2018, Pixinsight 1.8.5
Date: 30-31 July, 2017
Exposure: Lum: 16x900'' bin1 RGB: 15x300''each bin1
Seeing: 3.5'' (average)
Total integration: 7 hours
Location: Asteria remote observatory, Hocking Hills OH