D. Heilman Astrophotography

IC1805 - Heart Nebula

Found in the Perseus arm of the Milky Way in the constellation Cassiopeia, the Heart Nebula is a sprawling active nest of star formation 200 light years wide.  The central stellar nursery was first cataloged in 1915 by Philibert Jacques Melotte as he scanned one of the earliest photographic sky atlases made by John Franklin-Adams  based on plates taken at Johannesburg, South Africa, and Godalming, England.  Melotte 15, the catalog name for this cluster, harbors very young stars (1.5 million years) that spawn shockwaves of stellar radiation expelling and sculpting the outer nebula into undulating plumes of gas.   These central stars are nearly 50 times the mass of the Sun.