Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography © Brian A. Morganti

 NGC 6334 - Cat's Paw Nebula

Emission Nebula



The Cat's Paw nebula is a large area of emission nebulosity more than a half of a degree in size (about the size of the full moon) and is located 3 degrees northwest of Shaula, the brighter of the two "Stinger" stars in the Scorpion's tail.

The large glowing cloud earned the nickname Catís Paw because it looks like a gigantic paw print of a cat, but it is also sometimes referred to as the Bear's Claw Nebula.

The nebula is 50 light-years across and 5,500 light-years away, and shines from the light of ionized hydrogen, which gives it a red color. It was discovered by John Herschel in 1837. NGC 6334 is a large star forming region, covering an area in the night sky slightly larger than the full Moon. It is one of the most active stellar nurseries producing massive stars in the Milky Way Galaxy.

North is to the top  in this image.


  • Date & Location:  June 29/30, 2016 - StarEffects Observatory, Bernville. PA

  • Weather:  Calm winds, average temp of 60F

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with Above Average Transparency. 

  • SQM-L:  Start to Finish 20:55 - 20:59

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is 540mm w/Field Flattener @ f5.4

  • Filter:  Astronomic  EOS clip-in CLS-CCD (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  TeleVue TV60is - Orion Star Shoot AG - 5 second exp - fair/good graph

  • Camera:  Canon TIi Astro Modified UV/IR DSLR

  • Exposure:  21 x 5 min ISO800  (total 1 hour 45 min)

  • Calibration Frames:  Darks, Bias 60F - 10 Flats acquired w/Alnitak Flat Man

  • Processing:    Images Plus 5.75a including Feature Mask, PS CS6, GradientXTerminator, NIK filter tools 

  • Comments:  Very pleased with the results given the short window to photograph, but on an exceptionally rare clear and transparent summer night, which was needed given the proximity to my southern horizon.  To date, this is the lowest elevation DSO I have attempted to photograph. 

Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors