Located in the constellation Scutum the Shield approximately 3,300 light years distant is the remarkable planetary nebula cataloged IC 1295. This jewel in the "Shield of Scutum" was created when a medium sized star (much like our Sun) depletes it supply of fusionable fuel. As this happens, the star's core becomes unstable and goes through a series of violent contraction and expansion episodes resulting in the expulsion of its outer atmospheric layers. Intense ultraviolet radiation from the dying core illuminates, and ionizes, the surrounding shells of expelled gas causing them to glow. IC 1295's teal color is primarily from doubly ionized oxygen present in the nebular gasses.
My colleague, and friend, Ron DiIulio and I collaborated to produce an image that would display the complex internal structure of IC 1295. To emphasize the subtle structure of the planetary, a 5nm Ha+OIII dual bandpass filter was utilized to create a high contrast monochromatic image. Red, Green, and Blue filtered data were combined producing a color image of IC 1295. The high resolution Ha+OIII image was applied to the RGB color image as a luminance layer. This combination resulted in the image above.
Processing tools used were CCDStack, Fits Liberator, PixInsight, and Adobe Photoshop CC.
1ESO's VLT: https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1317a/