IC59/63. Gamma Cas Nebula.

Credit to Peter Rosen, an excellent astrophotographer from Stockholm, that helped me with the processing of the star "yCas" that had pattern transients that was difficult to get rid of.

Gamma Cassiopeiae (γ Cas, γ Cassiopeiae) is an eruptive variable star, whose brightness changes irregularly between +2.20 mag and +3.40 mag. It is the prototype of the Gamma Cassiopeiae variable stars. Although it is a fairly bright star, it has no traditional Arabic or Latin name. In Chinese, however, it has the name Tsih, derived from the word 策 (cè), meaning "the whip". It is located at the center of the distinctive "W" shape that forms the Cassiopeia constellation. American astronaut Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom nicknamed the star Navi after his own middle name spelled backwards. The star was used as an easily identifiable navigational reference point during space missions. It also corresponds with TVXQ's Hero Jaejoong's traditional photo position.

The apparent magnitude of this star was +2.2 in 1937, +3.4 in 1940, +2.9 in 1949, +2.7 in 1965 and now it is +2.15. At maximum intensity, γ Cassiopeiae outshines both α Cassiopeiae (magnitude +2.25) and β Cassiopeiae (magnitude +2.3).

This is a rapidly spinning star that bulges outward along the equator. When combined with the high luminosity, the result is mass loss that forms a disk around the star. The emissions and brightness variations are apparently caused by this "decretion" disk.

Gamma Cassiopeiae is a spectroscopic binary with an orbital period of about 204 days and an eccentricity alternately reported as 0.26 and "near zero." The mass of the companion is believed to be about that of our sun.

Gamma Cassiopeiae is also the prototype of a small group of stellar sources of X-ray radiation that is about 10 times higher than emitted from other B or Be stars, which shows very short term and long-term cycles. The character of the X-ray spectrum is Be "thermal", possibly emitted from plasmas of temperatures up to least ten million kelvins. Historically it has been held the these X-rays might be excited by matter originating from the star, from a hot wind or a disk around the star, accreting onto the surface of a degenerate companion, such as a white dwarf or neutron star. It is now realized that there are interpretational difficulties with either of these pictures. For example, it is not clear that enough matter can be accreted by the white dwarf at the distance of the secondary star (whose nature is not known), implied by the orbital period, is sufficient to power the X-rays (nearly 1033 erg/s or 100 YW). A neutron star could easily power this X-ray flux, but X-ray emission from neutron stars is known to be nonthermal, and thus in apparent variance with the spectral properties.

Recent evidence suggests that the X-rays may be associated with the Be star itself or in some complex interaction between the star and surrounding decretion disk. One line of evidence is that the X-ray production is known to vary on both short and long time scales with respect to various UV line and continuum diagnostics associated with a B star or with circumstellar matter close to the star. Moreover, the X-ray emissions exhibit long-term cycles that correlate with the visible wavelength light curves. One intriguing property is that Gamma Cassiopeiae exhibits characteristics consistent with a strong, disordered field (although no field can be measured directly by zeeman techniques because of its broad spectral lines). This inference comes from a coherent signature giving rise to robust period of 1.21 days suggesting a rooted magnetic field on its surface. The star's UV and optical spectral lines also show ripples moving from blue to red over several hours, which is indicative of clouds of matter frozen over the star's surface by strong magnetic fields. This evidence suggests that a magnetic field from the star interacting with the decretion disk are responsible for the X-rays. A disk dynamo has been advanced as a mechanism to explain the modulation of the X-rays. However, difficulties remain with this mechanism, among which is that there are no disk dynamos are known to exist in other stars, rendering their behavior somewhat speculative.

Gamma Cassiopeiae is also an optical double, with a faint magnitude 11 companion B about 2 arc seconds distant, with the designation of ADS782AB, and a further, fainter, optical companion C.

CCD Stack and CS5

Ha: 10x10 min, Lum: 10x5min.
RGB: 6x5 min.

Darks, bias and flats.

Baader LRGB. Baader Ha 7nm.

Cooling temp
-20´ C


September 1st 2011

Krigslida, Stockholm, Sweden.
N59 06 52.4    E 18 03 54.5

Image aqusition
MaximDL Pro

Scope control
Sky X Pro Native drv, and Maxim DL with Astro-Physics V2 drv.


Astro-Physics Mach 1 GTO


OAG guiding with Lodestar Guider

Focus system
Starlight Micro Touch and Focus MAX.

Inverted B/W image

Pure H-alpha