Contains: Helix nebula, NGC 7293
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NGC7293 Helix Nebula

Technical card

Imaging telescope or lens: Telescope-Service Ritchey-Chrétien 12"

Imaging camera: QHYCCD QHY10 Color

Mount: Losmandy Titan

Guiding telescope or lens: Orion Short Tube 80

Focal reducer: Astro-Physics .8 Focal Reducer

Software: PixInsight 1.8PHD Guiding 2

Resolution: 3740x2393

Dates: Oct. 4, 2016

Frames: 14x900"

Integration: 3.5 hours

Avg. Moon age: 3.15 days

Avg. Moon phase: 10.83%

Astrometry.net job: 1815380

RA center: 337.411 degrees

DEC center: -20.837 degrees

Pixel scale: 0.642 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 91.847 degrees

Field radius: 0.396 degrees

Locations: Dark Star Observatory, Taos, New Mexico, United States

Description

The Helix Nebula, also known as The Helix, NGC 7293, is a large planetary nebula (PN) located in the constellation Aquarius. Discovered by Karl 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 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, as well as the "Eye of Sauron".

The Helix Nebula is an example of a planetary nebula, formed by an intermediate to low-mass star, which sheds its outer layers near the end of its 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.

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Author

Jerry Macon
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NGC7293 Helix Nebula, Jerry Macon