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Deep inside the Ring Nebula M57 - Hubble Telescope, 


            Rudy Pohl

Deep inside the Ring Nebula M57 - Hubble Telescope

Technical card

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Hubble Space Telescope - WFC3/UVIS and Large Binocular Telescope (LBT)

Software: Photoshop CS5 Adobe

Integration: 0.0 hours

Basic astrometry details job: 2576250

Resolution: 1824x1378

Data source: Professional, scientific grade data


View image at full resolution to take a tour deep inside the ring.


Data acquisition: NASA Hubble Space Telescope public archive
Data processing: Rudy Pohl

Telescopes: Hubble Space Telescope - WFC3/UVIS:
Filters: F469N (He II), F502N ([O III]), and F658N ([N II]) LBT: H2, 2.1 microns


Why I'm doing Hubble images:
Recurring health problems have forced me to recently give up astro-imaging and sell all my equipment, including my beloved HEQ5 Pro mount which I just got last Autumn. However, by using data from other sources I don't have to give up astrophtography completely and can still stay involved through image-processing, which I've always enjoyed.


The Ring Nebula is 1 light year across, which is about 10 trillion kilometers. The fastest man made object in space is the Voyager spacecraft which travels at 61,000 kph and covers 500 million kilometers a year. At this rate it would take the Voyager 2000 years just to fly across the Ring - now that's BIG! But if you think that's big, the Orion Nebula is 24 lights years across. You do the math! I've always found the size of space to be simply mind-blowing.

The Ring Nebula was formed when a Red Giant Star expelled its gas into space as it passed through the last stage of its evolution to become the White Dwarf Star you see in the centre of the core.

This bright, colourful nebula is fairly close to Earth at a distance of 2,000 light years away so it can be viewed by even small, affordable amateur telescopes. As well, it's tilted nicely toward Earth so that astronomers and astrophotohraphers can clearly see the ring face-on making it a perfect target to study and to photograph.

All of the gas was expelled by the central star about 4,000 years ago. The original star was several times more massive than our Sun. After billions of years converting hydrogen to helium in its core, the star began to run out of fuel. It then ballooned in size, becoming a Red Giant Sta . During this phase, the star shed its outer gaseous layers into space and began to collapse as fusion reactions began to die out. A gusher of ultraviolet light from the dying star energized the gas, making it glow.

The outer rings were formed when faster-moving gas slammed into slower-moving material. The nebula is expanding at more than 43,000 miles an hour, but the center is moving faster than the expansion of the main ring. A research team has measured the nebula's expansion by comparing the new Hubble observations with Hubble studies made in 1998.

The Ring Nebula will continue to expand for another 10,000 years, a short phase in the lifetime of the star. The nebula will become fainter and fainter until it merges with the interstellar medium. (Information credit: NASA fact sheet on M57).



Rudy Pohl
License: None (All rights reserved)


Deep inside the Ring Nebula M57 - Hubble Telescope, 


            Rudy Pohl