is commonly known as the Helix Nebula. It has also been referred to
as the Eye of God. It is the closest of all the planetary nebula with
an estimated distance between 450 and 700 light years. It spans 16'
(25' including the halo); this is nearly the width of a full moon.
It is also the first planetary nebula discovered to contain planetary
knots (on the inner edge of the nebula - not clearly visble in this
image). Each knot is about the size of our solar system.
Planetary nebulae are formed when a star reaches the end of its life
cyle. The supply of hydrogen runs out and the star begins fusing helium
into heavier elements (i.e., Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen). The remaining
star becomes a white dwarf, which heats up the expanding material.
Our sun will experience the same fate in approximately five billion
Ha: Celestron C11 Edge
HD @ f/7
Color: Vixen RS200SS
||Ha: SBIG ST-8300
Color: Modified Canon 650D (Raw
capture; ISO 800)
guiding with Lodestar on ONAG
30 @ 5 min. (binned 2x2)
Color: 12 @ 5 min.
images were focused, calibrated, aligned, and combined in CCDSoft.
Color images were calibrated, aligned, and combined in using ImagesPlus.
Ha and color images were aligned in RegiStar and the composite image
was adjusted in Photoshop. Sharpening and noise reduction were done
using Topaz Detail and DeNoise respecitively.
The color image was obtained years ago and
was used in my previous web page on this object. This was difficult
to capture at my location in southeastern Minnesota (N 43 deg.,
43 min.) as I needed to halt exposures to shoot between trees.
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