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IC 405 & IC 410 - The Flaming Star & Tadpoles Nebulae

Updated: May 17, 2023

IC 405 (The Flaming Star Nebula) and IC 410 (The Tadpoles Nebula) are two large emission nebulae located in the constellation Auriga. The two objects are often photographed together as they will fit in most wide to medium-size telescopes.

Object Designation: IC 405 | IC 410

Also known as: The Flaming Star Nebula | The Tadpoles Nebula

Constellation: Auriga

Object Type: Emission Nebula

Distance: 1,500 light-years away | 12,000 light-years away

Magnitude: 6.0 | 7.5

Discovered in: 1892

10Micron GM1000 with SVX130 and QHY600M

On the right is the gear used to capture this image. The SVX130 has a focal length of 655mm with the reducer attached.

Using a full-frame camera like the QHY600 allows us to have a much wider field of view and include the Tadpoles nebula in the shot perfectly. The mount is the 10Micron GM1000HPS.

Be sure to watch our full video about photographing these nebulae!


The Flaming Star Nebula and Tadpoles Nebula with the QHY600M and SVX130

December 2021, from the city

We started imaging this part of the sky in December of 2020, but quickly got annoyed because we had tilt in our images. Indeed, we were still getting used to the SVX130 and QHY600 combo and the screws on our field flattener was not properly set.

Fast forward a year later, we had this issue fixed and could now continue our project of capturing the Flaming Star and Tadpoles Nebulae!

The image below is the final result, and we are very pleased with it! We were originally going to trash the "titled" frames from 2020 but ended up stacking them anyway to have an image that totals 30 hours of exposure time. The tilt is not noticeable.

IC 405 and IC 410 (SHO), with the QHY600M

The Flaming Star Nebula and Tadpoles Nebula in narrowband from the city


Camera: QHY600M

Telescope: Stellarvue SVX130

Mount: 10Micron GM1000 HPS

Accessories: Moonlite Nitecrawler focuser / Pegasus Astro Ultimate Powerbox

Processing: PixInsight with RC-Astro Plugins


Total Exposure Time: 30 hours

Exposure Time per frame: 10 minutes

Gain: 56

⚠️ Want to practice processing? ⚠️

Download high-quality astrophotography data to practice processing! You can find the dataset for this target and many more on our Raw Data page! The master files were carefully prepared so that they are ready for you to process.

The files for this image are also available for free in the Raw Data folder for people who support us on Patreon!


The Flaming Star & Tadpoles - Two Nebulae Often Imaged Together

The Flaming Star Nebula in Narrowband
The Flaming Star Nebula

Visible in small telescopes under dark skies, the Flaming Star Nebula is fairly bright thanks to AE Aurigae, the large star that appears to be burning. The object appears mostly red and blue when imaged in true colors. The blue hue comes from carbon gases, as well as the reflecting light from AE Aurigae.

The nebula spans five light-years across, and has an apparent size of 37.0’x19.0′.

Owners of small telescopes, or medium-size telescopes paired with a full-frame camera often image the Flaming Star Nebula with its companion, the Tadpoles Nebula.

The Tadpoles Nebula got its name because of the elongated clouds of dust that look like tadpoles swimming towards the center of the object.

These are active star-forming regions that give birth to new stars over time. Most of the gases in the nebula are lit by the bright open cluster of stars NGC 1893.

The Tadpoles Nebula spans 100 light-years across.

If you read the previous paragraph, you might notice something that doesn't seem to make sense. The Flaming Star Nebula, which appears more massive than the Tadpoles Nebula, has a diameter of five light-years. On the other hand, the Tadpoles Nebula, which looks much smaller in our image, is 100 light-years large.

This is because both nebulae are not as close to one another as they seem to be. The Tadpoles Nebula is much, much farther from Earth (12,000 light-years away) than the Flaming Star Nebula is (1,500 light-years away). Although they appear next to each other when photographed, the two objects are very distanced in space.

An easy way to frame both just right is by using a cropped-sensor camera on a small refractor like the Askar FRA300. You can also use a full-frame camera on a medium-size telescope.


Locating IC405 & IC410

Both IC 405 (The Flaming Star Nebula) and IC 410 (The Tadpoles Nebula) lie very close to one another. They can be found in the constellation Auriga, not far from the bright star Capella. To spot them, look around the side of the constellation that meets Taurus. There are several star clusters in that area, as well as the two nebulae you are looking for.

How to find the Bubble Nebula and open cluster Messier 52 in the night sky, map

The Flaming Star and Tadpoles Nebulae are in the close vicinity of several Messier clusters. You can click on each to open up our full page about the object, and see our own photograph of it along with a lot of information and tips:

IC 405 and IC 410 are located closer to Messier 38.


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Cool Facts

  • The proper motion of the central star in the Flaming Star Nebula can be traced back to Orion's Belt

  • NGC 1893 is an open cluster in the Tadpoles Nebula. It contains at least 4,600 young stellar objects

  • The Flaming Star Nebula will fade away in 20,000 years


Imaging the Flaming Star Nebula - Video

Watch our video about imaging the Flaming Star and the Tadpoles Nebula below! Be sure to leave a comment to let us know what you think :)


Single Shot & Processing of IC 405 and IC 410

As always, we like to show you what single shots using each filter look like for every target we capture. This way, you can kind of see what to expect when imaging it yourself!

Below you can see what the single 10-minute frames taken from a Bortle 9 zone looked like for each narrowband filter.

The Flaming Star and Tadpoles Nebulae, single 10-minute images for HA, SII, and OIII

As usual with these types of nebulae, the Hydrogen Alpha is much more impressive than the data obtained with the two other filters. As for the OIII, I was really surprised when I saw that the Flaming Star nebula had... almost none at all!

Processing the Flaming Star Nebula and the Tadpoles Nebula was fun yet a little stressful. Fun because the quality of the data was great, and the noise levels were low. Stressful because even though both nebulae fit in there, the framing was still tight and I did not want to crop anything out. Both objects are still too close to the edges of the frame for my liking, but luckily they are not cut out.


Final Thoughts

IC 405 and IC 410 are two magnificent nebulae, and they stay high in the sky for a good amount of time, leaving you plenty of room to capture them. They are definitely not the easiest targets out there though, so if you are a complete beginner, I would suggest you first get used to imaging brighter nebulae before attempting this pair.

Flaming Star Nebula and Tadpole Nebula with small refractor

The image on the right shows our first attempt at imaging IC 405 and IC 410, also from the city. As you can see, it is definitely not as impressive-looking as our main image!

The gear used was the Radian Raptor 61, along with the ZWO ASI071MC camera and the Triad ULTRA filter.

Have you captured IC 405 and/or IC 410? Attach your image in the comments and let us know your acquisition details!

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to stay up to date with our work!

Clear Skies,

Galactic Hunter



Galactic Hunter Astrophotography books

4,213 views5 comments


Craig Stocks
Craig Stocks
Jan 15, 2022

Another great video and image. I too recently imaged the Tadpole and Flaming Star. I went with a Hubble palette interpretation. I didn't really like the framing so I divided the frame into two squares and arranged them as a diptych - they're almost in their correct position but not quite.

This was imaged from my remote observatory in the southwest corner of Utah under Bortle 2 skies (not far from Las Vegas)

. It combines about a dozen each of Ha, Oiii and Sii at 600s each and a half dozen each of red, green and blue at 120s each for the stars. Stacked in DSS and processed in Photoshop. I generally try to develop as much color contrast…

Replying to

Thank you so much Craig! And wow, beautiful images, I'm in love with the colors you went with. I've heard great things about StarXTerminator over StarNet, so I'm tempted to try that soon :) And congrats on the observatory in the desert, that's our ultimate goal! 🤩💪🏻


Stefan Dietmann
Stefan Dietmann
Dec 04, 2021

Again amazing picture. For you and the community as a comparison the same target and framing with a beginner setup: Canon 750d, 400mm 5.6l lens, skyguider pro with ipolar alignment, 5.13 hours of exposure time with an Lenhance filter. ~2000 € setup with all accessories included.

Amazing to see what is possible with a little bit bit🤣 more money spend on gear.

Keep them pictures coming!

Cheers Stefan


Glenn Ruhl
Glenn Ruhl
Dec 03, 2021

Beautiful image, and thank you for all the details about it.

Replying to

Thank you Glenn!

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