RCOS 20- inch, Apogee Alta U16M, Astrodon E-Series filters
360 minutes Luminance, 120 minutes Red, 120 minutes Green, 120 minutes Blue (All 1X1)

NGC 6514 (M20)
The Trifid Nebula

Read the background article for a full description

Click here for a close-up of the central region

A Summer's Midnight Dream

William Shakespeare is widely considered humankind's greatest playwright. He's a global literary icon who's recognized on every continent. Although he lived during the Elizabethan era, his works, justifiably considered masterpieces, have survived hundreds of years and remain alive, relevant and unaltered to this day. He also perfected several genres- tragedies, comedies, romances, and histories. He blended some of these together and gave birth to the romantic comedy- his best takes place at night in a forest populated with fairies and sprites.

The tale is simplicity in itself. Superficially, it's a comedic love story but a closer inspection reveals the play's more concerned with ideas and emotions rather than plot: how emotions color perception, how fantasy and imagination influence our view of the universe around us, and how we view and behave toward each other. Lovers always view their companion as beautiful, fear can make rational people believe a bush is a bear, artists create imaginary worlds to give ideas life and no two people see the universe in the same way.

In short, even if we pride ourselves as being "rational", there are key facets of our humanity that are both irrational and beyond our control.

Perhaps this is relevant when you consider that deep space images of the same subject by different photographers always appear dissimilar. Beyond the obvious variances of equipment, weather conditions and processing, it suggests every astronomical picture is a summer's midnight dream, toned by the mind of its creator, that celebrates this simple fact of life: We see what we believe... and feel.

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