Today's APOD shows a beautiful juxtaposition between green comet Encke and red nebula IC 410, featuring the famous Tadpoles.
The color contrast between comet Encke and nebula IC 410 is great, and the seeming juxtaposition between the comet and the nebula is indeed fascinating. Of course, since the comet is probably at most a few light-hours away, and the nebula may be 12,000 light-years away, these two objects are far from being neighbors!
Another attractive aspect of this cosmic traffic light show (where yellow is mostly missing) is the rich star field against which it is seen. But me being me, I'm not altogether happy. I have two complaints: One, the color blue seems pretty much completely missing here, and two, the nebula is "starless" even though the rest of the picture is full of stars.
Red emission nebulas, as well as blue reflection nebulas nebulas, typically form in the presence of (blue) stars. I know that starless nebula pictures are popular, but I want to see the stars.
This is what I want IC 410 to look like:
IC 410 in HαRGB. Note the tadpoles. Credit: Samuel at Astrobin.
As you can see, the picture by Samuel not only shows the stars of IC 410 (the cluster powering this nebula is NGC 1893), but Samuel's palette is also softer and richer in hues. That said, most color pictures of IC 410, particularly when IC 410 is shown along with its (apparent!!) neighbor IC 405, shows IC 410 as "all red". Unless, of course, the photographer used a narrowband OIII filter, because then IC 410 will be "almost all blue" from the OIII emission from the hot stars of NGC 1893!
So you could argue that I'm being unfair when I'm asking for more hues than red in a broadband picture of IC 410.
Back to the APOD. Did you notice the small white crescent-shaped nebula at upper center right? Because all the nebulosity is starless, I was racking my brains to try to figure out what this nebula is. I guess the only possible answer is IC 417.
As you can see, there is a bright yellow (foreground) star, phi Aurigae, next to IC 417. This star could have helped us identify IC 417 in the APOD, but that wasn't possible, since IC 417, just like the bright part of IC 410, is starless in the APOD.
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