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Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2009

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Blinking Nebula , Leah Arendsen

Blinking Nebula

The Blinking Nebula is a Planetary Nebula. A Planetary Nebula is “a luminous shell of gas ejected from an old, low-mass star." (Freedman & Kaufmann III) In other words, a planetary nebula is the remains of a star that has burnt out. When a star dies, the remnants of it are ejected and create a planetary nebula that is still fluorescing due to the hot core of the star that still remains. This is because of black body radiation. Located approximately 2,200 light years away, the Blinking Nebula can be found in the constellation Cygnus.

The Blinking Nebula is the result of a dying star, which is how most stars will end up after their lifetime. The Blinking Nebula was named because of the way it appeared to be blinking when being observed through a telescope. However, when I looked at it I failed to see it blinking. The bright spot in the center of the nebula is the white dwarf star that has caused the planetary nebula to form, and the outer glow of the star is the nebula itself. The white dwarf appears bright because it is emitting a great amount of energy. The reason that it is releasing so much energy is because energy is related to temperature of the star to the fourth power. Because the white dwarf is so hot to begin with, taking that number to the fourth power will create a very large amount of energy making the Blinking Nebula as bright as it is. The outer glow of the nebula is the remnants of the dying star that was ejected while it was dying, creating the planetary nebula. It has a green color because of the composition of the star. The green tells us that there is oxygen present. Most starts are made of hydrogen, however because oxygen is there, it can combine with the hydrogen to form water. When water is formed, new planets are able to be formed. For this reason the Blinking Nebula is a Planetary Nebula. The linear size of the Blinking Nebula is approximately .2934186605 Light Years.


The Blinking Nebula N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. <http://www.astroimages.org/ccd/ngc6826.html>.

Freedman, Roger A., and William J. Kaufmann III. Universe . Sixth ed. N.p.: W.H. Freedman and Company, 2002. G-15. Print.

Right Ascension (J2000) 19'44 48.00
Declination (J2000) +50 3100.0'
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in C, 60 seconds each in BVR
Date observed

November 1, 2009(CBVR)