This is a wide field star rich image around the sting area of Scorpius near the bright stars Shaula and Lesath. The Cats Paw nebula is also know as the Bear Claw nebula and is an emission nebula about 50 light years across at a distance of 5,500 light years from Earth.
It is one of the nearest H II regions that’s a very active stellar nursery and it really does look like a Cats Paw stamped on the sky, I can also see a little hedgehog on his back smiling at me :-)
British astronomer John Herschel discovered the nebula in 1837 while observing the southern skies at Cape of Good Hope in South Africa using one of the largest telescopes available at the time.
The other nebula close by is NGC 6357 known as the Lobster Nebula or War and Peace nebula that is another emission nebula about 5,900 light years away, it hosts several massive young stars clusters and is a prominent star forming region with proto-stars embedded within the dark disks of gas.
Along with all the rich star and dust fields other stellar objects can also be seen, with the large M6 star cluster in the top left hand corner.
I’m really getting into discovering the Barnard dark nebulae embedded throughout the Milky Way and have marked a few on the Cats Paw image.
This image was taken at my Stardust Observatory in August 2023 using a Canon 6D Mark 11 camera with a Canon F2.8 70-200 lens attached. The camera was being attached to the top of a tracking Meade LX200 10inch telescope.