V838, a Light Echo in Monoceros

 

(Click on image for full size version)

 

Description: This very peculiar star was identified as a nova in January, 2002 but has turned into a unique class of celestial object.  The ejected shell has shown significant change over the intervening 11 months, relatively rare for stars, and has turned into a new class of object.  The nebula is thought to be a light echo illuminating matter previously ejected during the star's evolution.  Up is ESE.  The object is located very near GSC4822:39.  Here is a Hubble Space Telescope image of this object.
 
Exposure Data: 12/7,8/2002.  RGB: 4x10m, 4x10m, 4x10m,  RGB 1x1. -20C, 0.8 arc-sec./pixel.
 
Processing: Acquired via script with Maxim, reduced and aligned in Mira, gradient removal via Ron's gradient removal plug-in, RGB combined 1.0:0.9:1.05 in Maxim,  curves, levels, mild USM other processing in Photoshop.
 
Optical System: 10 Ritchey-Chretien truss prototype by RCOS @ F/9, ST-8E USB NABG/CFW-8A CCD camera, auto-guided, Paramount ME mount.
 
Comments: Seeing was 2.6 arc-sec.   First light with the 10RC truss, which may be seen here and here.