This image was produced with a RCOS half meter telescope and a SBIG STL-11000 camera between January 3- 28, 2006.
Exposure times: 615 minutes Luminance, 120 minutes Red, 54 minutes Green and 108 minutes Blue (All 1X1)

The Northern Trifid (NGC 1579) in Perseus
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Click here for the Southern Trifid!
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Cosmic Cartographers

The pictures we release today effect the images produced in the future. It matters what those pictures are because each one is a stone on the path that others follow. Our pictures are instructions and combined they create a map. At some point, everyone looks at a map or wishes they had.

Each one of us is a cosmic cartographer opening up an infinite wilderness for others to travel or experience with less effort. We are engaged in an epic survey of the heavens and like earthbound map makers of the past, as time progresses our best efforts will look like pencil sketches to those that proceed behind us (compare recent images to those of five years ago to see some examples!). Just as today's super highways trace the routes of long vanished animal herds and ancient hunter cultures, our trails will form a lasting impression that echoes forward to posterity. We are the designers of dreams, our images are the fuel of imagination- someday, in the far future, our descendants will look back and thank us for the work we have voluntarily given as they physically explore the places we can only visit through telescopes.

Astrophotography can be humbling at times and it certainly builds character. It blends what our cameras see, what our skills permit and, just as importantly, what we believe. I can imagine no more fulfilling a pastime than helping to illustrate this atlas of a hopeful human future.

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