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Helix Nebula1248 viewsThe Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), aka Helical Nebula or Sunflower Nebula, is a planetary nebula found in the constellation Aquarius. Despite it's designation as a "planetary" nebula, it has no relation to a planet. The term planetary nebula came from the "appearance as a planetary disk" in early telescopes. Planetary nebula are indeed the expelled gaseous remains of aging stars. The image is a total exposure of 1 hr 40 min (20 X 300 sec) taken with a Takahashi E-180 and Canon 20Da DSLR camera.
The Moon1289 viewsThe Moon, our nearest neighbor, provides a wealth of detail even in small telescopes. Indeed, as Garrett Serviss wrote regarding the distance to the moon in his book "Other Worlds" in 1901: "In consequence, of course, of its nearness, the moon is the only member of the planetary (solar) system whose principal features are visible to the naked eye." Image taken with a Astro-Physics 130 mm f/8 refractor and a Canon 20Da DSLR (11 X 1/250 second exposures at ISO 200; aligned and combined in Images Plus).
Messier 46 and NGC 2438887 viewsThe open cluster Messier 46 and the accompanying planetary nebula NGC 2438 are found in the winter constellation Puppis. The open cluster contains 186 stars brighter than 13th magnitude and many more fainter stars. The cluster lies in our Milky Way galaxy at a distance of approximately 4480 light years from us. Image is a total of 1 hr 45 minutes exposure ( 21 x 5 min lights @ -25o C; 30 darks; 64 flats; Astro-Physics 130 mm f/8 refractor & 1200 mount; SBIG ST2000XCM CCD camera).
M46705 viewsMessier 46 (M46, NGC 2437) This open cluster is very rich, with 150 stars of mag 10-13 and probably a total population of over 500. The brightest of these stars are of spectral type A0, and each about 100 times more luminous than the Sun (the brightest is of apparent magnitude 8.7). This indicates an age of about 300 million years. As a special and famous feature which is also obvious in my photograph, a planetary nebula (NGC 2438, also FC 87) appears within the apparent borders of M46. This object appears to lie near the northern fringes of the cluster. However, this nebula is not a true member but is superimposed, or perhaps a passing "guest". The distance of the cluster is 4,600 light years and only about 2,900 light years for the nebula
M27816 viewsMessier 27, (M27, NGC 6853) The Dumbbell Nebula is perhaps the finest planetary nebula in the sky, and was the first planetary nebula ever discovered. Existing estimates for the distance reach from 490 to 3500 light years.
M571046 viewsMessier 57 the Ring Nebula appears in the northern constellation of Lyra is a prominent example of a planetary nebula. This is a shell of ionized gas expelled into the surrounding interstellar medium by a red giant star, which was passing through the last stage in its evolution before becoming a white dwarf. The distance is 2300 light years.
Abell 21839 viewsAbell 21, aka the Medusa nebula, is found in the constellation Gemini. Abell 21 is a large old planetary nebula whose emission is powered by radiation of a blue star, which can be seen in the upper 1/3 of the nebula’s image. Image taken with a Takahashi Epsilon 180 f/2.8 astrograph and a modified Canon 40D.
The Owl Nebula964 viewsThe Owl Nebula (Messier 97, or M97) is a planetary nebula in the Big Dipper about 2600 light years away. The nebula formed about 6,000 years ago when a Sun-like star died. The nebula gets its name from the owl-like "eyes". This narrowband image consists Hydrogen alpha, Hydrogen beta and Oxygen emission lines captured through a 120mm f/8.3 refractor and Atik 314L+ camera (109 min total exposure).
Messier 97, the owl nebula1112 viewsMessier 97, aka the owl nebula, in Ursa Major is described in Admiral W. H. Smyth’s A Cycle of Celestial Objects (2nd Ed, 1881) as a “large planetary nebula, or globular collection of nebulous matter.” M97 has a three-shell structure; the red color of the Ha emission of the second shell is visible in the image. Image is a total of 8 hr exposure taken with an Astro-Physics 130mm f8 refractor and SBIG SR2000xcm on an AP 1200 mount (24 x 20 min lights, 30 darks, 64 flats, 64 flat darks, 64 bias) calibrated in Images Plus 5.0; color balance in PixInsight 1.8; Photoshop CS6
Open Clusters M 46, M47, and NGC 2423 in Puppis525 viewsThe open clusters Messier 46, Messier 47, and NGC 2423 are found in the constellation Puppis embedded in a rich field of Milky Way stars. The small planetary nebula NGC 2438 that appears to be in M 46 is actually not associated with the cluster. M 46 was discovered by Messier in 1771. Smyth describes it as a “A noble, but rather loose assemblage of stars” (Smyth and Chambers, A Cycle of Celestial Objects, 2nd Edition, 1881, Oxford) whereas Webb describes it as a “Beautiful circular cloud of small stars” (Webb, Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes, 4th Ed, 1881, Longmans, Green, and Co ). William Herschel observed the small planetary nebula NGC 2438 in 1786. M 47 was also discovered by Messier in 1771 but not intermediately attributed to Messier due to a mathematical mistake in his coordinates. The cluster was described by Smyth as “a very splendid field of of large and small stars” (under the entry 38 H VIII) and Webb as a “Grand broad group, visible to the naked eye”. This wide field picture was taken with a Takahashi FSQ106ED with focal reducer (f/3.6), Canon 60Da DSLR camera (2.32 arcsec/pixel), and an Astro-Physics 1200 mount on 15 March 2015 in Mayhill, NM.. Total exposure of 1 hour (4 x 15 min lights, dithered; 12 darks; 128 bias; 64 flats); Baader/Astro-Physics guider system; Image acquisition with MaxIm DL; Calibration, alignment, integration, and image processing with PixInsight
Messier 27 in Vulpecula579 viewsMessier 27, which was discovered in 1764 by Charles Messier, is a bright planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula. The nebulosity is due to the expulsion of a star's outer layers in the later stages of its life and is illuminated by the stars intense radiation (blue star in the center of the nebula). Image was taken in Mayhill, NM on the nights of 14, 15, 16, 17 September 2015; total of 5 hrs 40 min exposure through an Astro-Physics 178 mm f/9 refractor with field flattener and an SBIG STF8300c camera with OAG (ST-i) on an Astro-Physics 1200 mount (17 x 20 min lights dithered @ -15o C; 33 darks; 128 bias; 128 flats); image acquisition with MaxIm DL 6.10 and processed with PixInsight Processing included Bayer drizzle, a Synthetic Luminance, and Multiscale Processing.
M76 - The Little Dumbbell670 viewsMessier 76 was discovered in 1780 by Pierre Méchain and cataloged by Charles Messier that same year. It wasn't until 1918 that M76's true nature as a planetary nebula was discovered by Herber Curtis. Located some 2,500 light years away in the constellation Perseus, M76 it is one of the faintest objects in the Messier catalog at magnitude 10.1. This image was taken from Alamogordo NM using an Astro-tech 130EDT f7 refractor and Atik 314L+ monochrome camera (130 min) using Ha, Hb and OIII signals.
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