NGC 3324 (Gum 31), NGC 3293 (Gum 30 - Gem Cluster) - open clusters, emission ans reflection nebulae in Carina

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© Velimir Popov & Emil Ivanov 2013

NGC 3324 the emission/reflection nebula is at the center of the image and is on the northern outskirts of the chaotic environment of the Carina Nebula in the constellation of Carina, and is about 10 000 light-years distance. Stellar winds and intense radiation from the young stars have blown open a hollow in the surrounding gas and dust. This is most in evidence as the wall of material seen to the center right of this image. The ultraviolet radiation from the hot young stars knocks electrons out of hydrogen atoms, which are then recaptured, leading to a characteristic crimson-colored glow as the electrons cascade through the energy levels, showing the extent of the local diffuse gas.

The Gum 31 bubble containing the stellar cluster NGC 3324 is a poorly-studied young region close to the Carina Nebula. 661 candidate young stellar objects are found from WISE data, 91 protostar candidates are detected throug Herschel observations. Most of these objects are found in small clusters or are well aligned with the H II bubble. There are also the sources of Herbig-Haro jets. The infrared morphology of the region suggests that it is part of the larger Carina Nebula complex. The location of the candidate young stellar objects in the rim of the H II bubble is suggestive of their being triggered by a 'collect and collapse' scenario, which agrees well with the observed parameters of the region. Some candidate young stellar objects are found in the heads of pillars, which points towards radiative triggering of star formation. (Courtesy: Discovering young stars in the Gum 31 region with infrared observations - H. Ohlendorf, T. Preibisch, B. Gaczkowski, T. Ratzka, J. Ngoumou, V. Roccatagliata, and R. Grellmann).

NGC 3324 is also called the Gabriela Mistral Nebula, because of the striking resemblance with the Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet, who was born and raised in the Elqui region, home to the Cerro Tololo, Cerro Pachon and Cerro Morado professional observatories. (courtesy: Daniel Verschatse)

NGC 3293 (Gum 30 - Gem Cluster) is the open cluster at the upper-right of the image. Discovered by Nicholas Louis de Lacaille on January 25, 1752. NGC 3293 consists of more than 50 stars in a 10 arc minutes field, the brightest of which is a red giant of mag 6.5, between many hot, blue bright stars (the hottest of spectral type B0). A total of about one hundred stars have been identified as belonging to the cluster, most of them much fainter than the very hot B stars. There are no O-type stars in this cluster. Open clusters such as NGC 3293 are excellent laboratories for studying the late stages of star formation and their early evolution. The young stars have not moved far from their birthplace, so it is certain that they are all at the same distance. This allows a detailed comparison to be made of the individual stars, which reveals that they are not all the same age, but seem have been born in the last four to ten million years. Rests of some nebulous materials are visible in our image, floating between the stars which have probably formed from them. With an estimated age of only 10 million years, NGC 3293 is a very young cluster at a distance of about 8500 light years.

This is an image taken with 16" Dream Corrected Astrograph (DCA). An image taken with 12" ASA astrograph can be seen here

Object details

Right Ascension 10:35:37 (h:m:s)
Declination -58:26:02 (deg:m:s)
Distance ~ 10 000(ly)
Apparent Dimension 12' x 15' (arc min)

Image details



Center of field RA 10:37:28 (h:m:s)
Center of field DE -58:43:55 (deg:m:s)
Size 1.37 x 1.37 (deg)
Pixel scale: 1.23 (arcsec/pixel)
Orientation: Up is -178 degrees E of N
Charts and image details obtained from
Optic(s): 16" f3,75 Dream Corrected Astrograph (DCA)
Mount: Astelco NTM-500 direct drive mount
Camera: Apogee Alta U-16M CCD camera
Filters: Lum, Red, Green, Blue, Ha, OIII and SII Astrodon
Dates/Times: From 3 to17 of May 2013
Location: Namibia-TIVOLI ASTROFARM, S 23° 27' 40,9" / E 18° 01' 02,2"
Exp. Details: Ha: 5x15min, L: 4x10min, R: 3x10min, G: 3x10min, B: 3x10min, Bin 1
  Total Exposure Time - 205 min (3:25 hours)
More details: Dark and flat frames reduction
Processing: PixInsight / PS
Copyright: Velimir Popov and Emil Ivanov 2013. All Rights Reserved
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