Dust Lane & Mystery Object
in the Milky Way
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This image has a story. Many years ago, on a cold winter night in the Chirachuaha mountains, I had just finished setting up for a night of photography using film. This was Sherie's first field trip, and I was going on and on about the unbelievable density of stars in the Milky Way, and how the blackness was really huge clouds of dust and gas that prevented us from seeing the stars behind, and how this dust in lots of places formed "lanes" of blackness... (you get the idea).

It was quite cold, and we needed a warm-up break. With an "I'll show you...", I pointed the scope at the Milky way somewhere in the vicinity of Cassiopeia, opened the shutter on the camera, and we headed for the campfire. After 10 minutes or so, we returned to the scope, released the shutter cable, and started in on a night's observing and shooting.

A week later, the film was processed, and we started scanning the negatives. There was the dust lane, and something else. Something in the lower-right part of the frame:

Above: A great illustration of a dust lane, and good example of the incredible density of stars in our neighbor arm of the Milky Way, and the diversity of star types in our neighborhood. But what IS that blue thing? Glowing like a nebula in bright blue, shape like a bow shock wave from a fast-moving star through gas? There's a bright, hot blue star at the apex...

Full resolution section of the blue blob
Stripped of color information,
the region boundary is more clearly seen
Inverted (negative) of the same area reveals non-uniform areas

So what IS that? If you know, or think you know, please contact me. I wasn't paying any particular attention to where the scope was pointed when I took the photo. It's somewhere near the southern boundary of Cassiopeia, but I haven't been able to find it again.

Camera: Olympus-M
Film: Fujicolor 400
Exposure: 10-15 minutes (? - wasn't paying attention) @ f/10