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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr112 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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Blinking Planetary (NGC 6826) , Logan Gingerich

Blinking Planetary

This is the image of a planetary nebula known as the Blinking Planetary. The term "planetary nebula" was first used by William Herschel despite the fact that it is not actually a planet. This is because he believed that these nebulae looked like Uranus, which he had recently discovered. A planetary nebula is formed when a star reaches the end stages of its life and stops having nuclear reactions in its core while still burning helium in its shell. The star ejects its outer layers from its core, creating a planetary nebula. The Blinking Planetary is located in the constellation Cygnus and it's approximately 2,200 light years from Earth.

The ejecting, gaseous layers are green, showing that they are excited bylight from the bright white dwarf star being left behind at the core. The bright blue core is most likely due to an overexposure of the photograph. It is also evident that there is a ring in the gaseous layers being ejected. It is surrounded by stars of varying temperatures, shown from the array of blue, red and yellow colors. The linear size of the Blinking Planetary is approximately half a light year across.

References:
Friedlander, Blaine P. "Astronomers will release today the clearest image yet of FLIERS, mysterious cosmic spouts." Cornell University. <http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Dec97/Fliers.bpf.html>.

"Planetary Nebula." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. <http://www.seds.org/messier/planetar.html>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 19:45:00
Declination (J2000) 50:32:22
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR
Date observed

October 23 , 2007 (BVRC)