I've been concentrating my imaging efforts on the Sharpless Catalogue of HA region lately, specifically SH2-129. I decided to find out a bit more about this object. Among other things, it is apparently called the Flying Bat Nebula!

My recent image of the sh2-129 Flying bat Nebula can be found here.

Sharpless 129 sh2-129

Sharpless catalogue sh2-129 is an Ha region in Cepheus just next to its more famous neighbour, IC 1396, also known as sh2-131 from the Sharpless Catalogue. However, sh2-129 is a properly Sharpless object that doesn't feature in any of the more common catalogues.

I have found one reference in the extremely useful Sharpless Observing Atlas that says it is at a distance of 400 parsecs or 1300 light years away and is 16.3 parsecs across (50 light years). In my book it makes it a straightforward emission nebula, and not anything more exotic like a supernova remnant.

Some true colour images of this object show significant reflection nebula. See here. The one in the lower left is designated vdB140.

Using Skymap to examine the distances to the white stars in these reflection nebula gives figures more in the 1000 to 2000 light years.

An article with Images from the Spitzer Space telescope of the elephants trunk in IC 1396 gives a distance of 2450 light years. If we are forced to assume that sh2-129 is part of the same larger scale structure, then I reckon sh2-129 is closer to 2000 light years away rather than 1300 light years - but it is certainly that order of magnitude.

This is of course part of our own galaxy, the milky way.

I am hoping to get some more decent data on this object tonight before the moon gets any worse, and I have to find something brighter to image.