Large Magellanic Cloud - NGC2070

Large Magellanic Cloud - RA: 5hrs 20min 00secs      Dec: -69 07' 00"    Mag: 5-9   Distance: 180,000 light years   Constellation: Dorado

NGC 2070 - RA: 5hrs 38min 42secs      Dec: -69 05' 59"    Mag: 1.0   Distance: 180,000 light years   

This was another first for me, and a moment I shall remember for the rest of my life.  Northern hemisphere dwellers hear so much about the Large Magellanic Cloud and I have longed to see it ever since I was in my young teens.  I only wish I had my 8" LX90 with me, this would have made such an easy target to view, especially the Tarantula Nebula, with its relatively high surface brightness.  This wide-view, low magnification picture was taken on Palm Beach north of Sydney close to midnight on the 8th of February 2007.  The exposure was interrupted by high cloud which added to the picture 'noise' on top of the grainy texture of the high sensitivity setting.  Nevertheless, the main nebulosity of this larger of two satellite galaxies to the Milky Way is visible.  The Tarantula Nebula, NGC2070, is the small intense knot which can be seen above the main bar of the LMC.  The picture was taken with a Nikon D200 on a tripod, ISO1600, f2.8, 30 second exposure time.  The original was very 'noisy' and the main task of post processing was to improve the black background.  Dark adjustment was carried out using the levels command in Photoshop and a small amount of counter-brightening of the subject was made with the RGB curves command at the specific value of the nebulosity.  Many thanks to Alan Halloran and Brett Miller for making this rewarding shot possible in such challenging conditions.

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