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Helix nebula



NGC 7293: Helix Nebula in Aquarius

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

Date & Site:

Imaged on 10/25/2014; Little Blair Valley, CA

Conditions: mild wind; 59 degrees; poor seeing


Telescope: AstroTech 8" RC (1625mm fl) at f/8
Mount: AstroPhysics 1100
Camera: ST-10XME; CFW10; Hutech OAG5 autoguider

Astrodon 3nm narrowband filters


Exposures: 120 min each of ionized nitrogen(NII), hydrogen (Ha) and doubly isonized oxygen (OIII) for a total of 6 hrs

Color processed by mapping NII, Ha, and OIII to red, green an blue, respectively, NII added as a luminance layer.

FOV =32 x21 arc minutes

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, whereas the outer fainter shell feature is over six light-years across (Source: Wikipedia).

700 light years away

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