Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Ring Nebula 10.22.2014

Last night, I decided to do a quick imaging session with the ASI 120MM camera. It is amazingly sensitive. This image is a stack of 17 10-second exposures. I did not use the color wheel last night as the goal of the session was to see how the Orion focal reducer worked with the 14 inch.

The Ring Nebula is a planetary nebula, which is an emission nebula of ionized gas. This gas is a "shell" puffed off from the surface of an old, red giant star as it reaches the end of its life. The shell is a cylinder we are seeing from "end on," and it is expanding at around 30 km per second. The center of the nebula is expanding faster than the ring. The central star is a white dwarf about the size of earth and it glows at around Magnitude 14.7.