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PLANETARY  NEBULA

Notes on these images.   Images were acquired with  SBIG ST-10XME or ST-2000XM cameras with a CFW-8A color filter wheel at prime focus (generally binned 2x2).   The 24" R-C at Star Hill, New Mexico, or the 10" or 14" Meade LX-200GPS telescopes at Morristown, NJ, were used to collect these pictures.

M27, the Dumbbell Nebula in Vulpecula.  This bright and colorful nebula is only about 1200 light years distant and so a fair amount of detail is visible. If you look carefully, you will see that the object is probably a sphere formed by expanding shell of gases being ejected by the bluish star in the very center.  Taken at the Star Hill Observatory in October, 2004, with the 24" R-C telescope (f/8).

 

This is an LRGB image of the large Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) in Aquarius.  This  nebula is only about 700 light years away, one of the closest planetary nebulas.  It is generally similar in appearance to the Ring Nebula (see below), although far larger when seen from the Earth.  The image was taken in October, 2007, at Star Hill, New Mexico, using a Televue NP101 telescope and SBIG ST-10XME camera.

 

This is M76, the 'Little Dumbbell' nebula in Perseus.  The object is one of the smallest and faintest of the Messier objects, and also has the common names Cork, Butterfly or Barbell Nebula,  The general morphology is most likely similar to that of it's big brother namesake, M27, shown above.  This image was taken at Star Hill using the 24" R-C (f/8) in October, 2004..

 

This LRGB image of M57, the colorful Ring Nebula, was taken with the ST-10 camera and 14" Meade LX200GPS (f/6.3) at Morristown, NJ.  Note the small barred spiral galaxy IC 1296 below and to the left of M57.  This galaxy is about 200 million light years away, and is being viewed through the plane of our galaxy.  Another distant galaxy appears to the lower right of this image (August, 2006).   

 

M57 the Ring Nebula in Lyra.  Single luminance, red, green and blue images were combined for this photo.  Additional fine detail in the gas ring is visible in this image, compared to the one taken from the Morristown site.   The ring and other planetary nebula appear as gray or blue-green objects by eye even through very large telescopes under dark skies.  The reds and yellows you see here can only be detected using long photographic exposures.  This photo was acquired in October, 2004, at the Star Hill Observatory with the 24" R-C telescope (f/8).