32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24

Helix nebula



NGC 7293: Helix Nebula in Aquarius

RA = 22 hrs 19 min; Dec = -20 deg 50 min.

Date & Site:

Imaged on 9/14/2012; Palomar Mountain, CA

Conditions: mild wind; 68 degrees; very good seeing


Telescope: Takahashi FSQ106 at F5 (fl= 530mm)
Mount: Losmandy G-11 with Gemini
Camera: ST-10XME; CFW10; externally guided


Exposures: 90 min each of Ha and OIII (3nm) and 45 min each RGB for a total exposure time of 5 hrs 15 minutes.

Color processed by combining three layers: Ha and OIII combined to form a red, green and blue layer, RGB as another layer for star color, and Ha alone as the lumnance layer.

FOV =58 x39 arc minutes (reduced 60% of original size)

The Helix Nebula is an example of a planetary nebula - formed at the end of a star's evolution. The remnant central star (known as the nucleus) will eventually become a white dwarf. As the central burns the last of its fuel, the glow becomes so energetic that it causes the expelled gases (hydrogen and oxygen) to flouresce. We see this flourescence as red and teal.

The inner region of the nebula spans about 3 light-years across, wherese the outer fainter shell feature is over six light-years across

700 light years away

Back to Images