IC 4628 – The Prawn Nebula

The Prawn Nebula, also known as IC 4628, is a stunning emission nebula located in the constellation Scorpius, approximately 6,000 light-years away from Earth. This vast region of star formation spans about 250 light-years and glows predominantly in the light emitted by ionised hydrogen atoms.

This nebula due to its location can only be captures from the southern hemisphere. It is a rich tapestry of interstellar gas and dust, sculpted by the powerful stellar winds and ultraviolet radiation from the hot, young stars embedded within it. The intricate details and complex structures within the Prawn Nebula make it a fascinating object of study for astronomers.

For this image, I dedicated around 37 hours of exposure using Sulphur-II (SII), Hydrogen-alpha (Ha), and Oxygen-III (OIII) filters for the narrowband data, along with Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) filters to capture the star colours. Considerable time was spent balancing the emissions to showcase the wide variety of colour variations present when combining the H, O, and S filters into an SHO palette. The resulting image highlights the rich tapestry of colours, bringing out the subtle differences in ionised gas regions.

Unlike many other nebulae with names that don’t quite match their appearance (like the Running Chicken Nebula), the Prawn Nebula truly lives up to its name, resembling a cosmic prawn floating in the depths of space. Its beauty is matched by the interesting details it reveals upon close inspection, making it a favourite target for both observation and photography.


March 28, 2024
April 14, 2024
April 22, 2024
May 6, 2024

Antlia 3nm Narrowband H-alpha 1.25″: 85×600″(14h 10′) (gain: 139.00) -10°C bin 1×1
Antlia 3nm Narrowband Oxygen III 1.25″: 89×600″(14h 50′) (gain: 139.00) -10°C bin 1×1
Antlia 3nm Narrowband Sulfur II 1.25″: 43×600″(7h 10′) (gain: 139.00) -10°C bin 1×1
Antlia Blue Pro: 30×60″(30′) (gain: 76.00) -10°C bin 1×1
Antlia Green Pro: 30×60″(30′) (gain: 76.00) -10°C bin 1×1
Antlia Red Pro: 30×60″(30′) (gain: 76.00) -10°C bin 1×1

37h 40′

RA center: 16h57m35s.690

DEC center: -40°2151.35

Pixel scale: 1.047 arcsec/pixel

Orientation:  -179.034 degrees

Field radius: 0.763 degrees

Resolution: 8555×6111

Locations: Bentleigh, Victoria, Australia

Narrowband Emissions Lines

Sii – Sulphur

Ha – Hydrogen Alpha

Oiii – Oxygene

SHO Combination |Sii = Red Ha = Green Oiii = Blue|

Plate Solving Solution

Sky Plot