Astrophotography by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Carbon Star Image Gallery

One of the most dramatic sights through a modest-sized telescope and at low-powers is the appearance of a carbon star within the field of view, for such stars stand out on their own thanks to their very rich reddish colouration and appearance and in spite of the hundreds of stars that may surround each such example.

Carbon stars represent cooled supergiants and some white dwarfs which are surrounded by a cloud of dust comprised of various forms of carbon (ex. CH, CN, C3 and SiC2). They are characterized with a surface temperature ranging between 2000 and 3000 degrees Kelvin and are invariably variable in their magnitude (periods in excess of 100 days) and with some exhibiting fluctuations by as much as six magnitudes!

Perhaps the best known carbon star is Betelgeuse (-Orionis), a cool supergiant which is not only one of the brightest stars gracing our skies (M(v) = 0.58) but is also one of the closest to our solar system (427 + 76 light-years). Of the nearly six thousand stars catalogued by Stephenson, there are over 100 examples whose magnitude is easily within the reach of binoculars and/or very modest amateur telescopes for visual observation.

Note: For a discussion surrounding the yellowish-orange colouration of Herschel's Garnet Star, click here.

Please click on the image below to display in higher resolution (1200 x 900)

Image Details
Mu Ceph - Carbon Star in Cepheus
Imaging Details
Proper Star Name:
Herschel's Garnet Star

Bayer Letter:
Mu Cephei

Hipparcos Catalog:
HIP 107259

SAO Catalog:
SAO 33693

52002 + 58260 x Sun

5261 + 2400 light-yrs

RA / Dec:
21h 43m 30s /
+58 46' 48"

B-V Color Index:
+2.317 mag


Jul 09, 2007
01:30 - 03:30 UT+3

Athens, Greece

AP 160 f/7.5 StarFire EDF

Lum :  030 min (10 x 03 min)
Red :  030 min (05 x 06 min)
Green :  030 min (05 x 06 min)
Blue :  030 min (05 x 06 min)
Dark :  135 min (15 x 3+6 min)
Flat :  ~39,500 ADU
Binning :  1x1 (Lum),  1x1 (RGB)

Ambient : + 27.4 C
CCD Chip : - 05.0 C

CCDSoft V5.00.182
CCDSharp V1.4
AIP4Win V2.1.19
Photoshop CS2