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Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2009

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Messier 57, Kendra Wassink

Helix Nebula

The word nebula is Latin for cloud or mist. Nebulae in space are clouds of interstellar gas or dust that are seen in visible light. This particular nebula is a planetary nebula. Oddly enough, planetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets; they are the aftermath of giant stars that have run out of fule and collapsed. Wind blows the material outward and ultraviolet radiation sets it a glow. M57 was first spotted in 1779 by Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix. It is 2.3 kly away and is found in the constellation of Draco.

Scientists believe that M57 may not be a spherical shell around a dying star but a tube like structure. The middle is a dark blue which is evidence for a hot center. The green is evidence for oxygen and red is evidence for ionized nitrogen. The linear size is 0.8618 light years across.


Frommert, Hartmut and Kronberg, Christine."Messier 57." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

Wolff, Fraknoi M. Voyages to the Stars and Galaxies. Third ed. Bemont, CA: Thomas Learning Inc., 2004. 242-303. Print.


Right Ascension (J2000) 18:53:36
Declination (J2000) +33:02:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in CBVR
Date observed

November 11, 2009 (CBVR)