NGC 7293: Eye of God

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NGC 7293 , also known as The Helix, The Helix Nebula, is a large planetary nebula (PN) located in the constellation Aquarius. Discovered byKarl Ludwig Harding, probably before 1824, this object is one of the closest to the Earth of all the bright planetary nebulae. The estimated distance is about 215 parsecs or 700 light-years. It is similar in appearance to the Cat’s Eye Nebula and the Ring Nebula, whose size, age, and physical characteristics are similar to the Dumbbell Nebula, varying only in its relative proximity and the appearance from the equatorial viewing angle. The Helix Nebula has sometimes been referred to as the “Eye of God” in pop culture.

The Helix Nebula is an example of a planetary nebula, or ‘planetary’ formed at the end of a star’s evolution. Gases from the star in the surrounding space appear, from our vantage point, as if we are looking down a helix structure. The remnant central stellar core, known as a planetary nebula nucleus or PNN, is destined to become a white dwarf star. The observed glow of the central star is so energetic that it causes the previously expelled gases to brightly fluoresce.

The Helix Nebula in the constellation of Aquarius lies about 700 light-years away, spanning about 0.8 parsec or 2.5 light-years.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Takahashi TOA 150
Imaging cameras: Nikon D800 Mod
Mounts: Takahashi EM-400 Temma2
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Vixen FL70S
Guiding cameras: Fishcamp Starfish
Focal reducers: Takahashi TOA 67 Flattener
Software: DeepSkyStacker, Adobe Photoshop CS5
Dates: Aug. 9, 2013
Locations: Mt. Ho-Huan (Taiwan)
Frames: 40×600″ ISO200
Integration: 6.7 hours

Autor: Wei-Hao Wang

28 February 2014

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