The Ring Nebula M57 / NGC 6720 is located in the constellation Lyra, between the bottom two stars b & y Lyra that form a parallelogram below Vega. M57 the Ring is one of the best known Planetary Nebula in the sky. Distinct gas clouds that form this spectacular ring, were thrown off by the magnitude 15.31 central star. The central star was originally a Red Giant and is near the end of it’s stellar evolution and is forming a white dwarf. It has been expanding for approximately 1600-1840 years.The nebula itself, has only a total brightness of magnitude 9. It is about the same size as Jupiter when viewed through telescope with a size of only 3.8′ arc minutes. It requires 6-8 inch scope to see it as a small smoke ring. To see the central star usually require a 10″ or larger telescope. M57 also know as NGC 6720 is about 2,150 Light Years from Earth.
Charles Messier was searching for comets when he discovered the Ring nebula in January 1779. It found its way into the Messier’s Catalogue as M 57. The Messier catalogue lists 109-110 objects readily observed in a good 4″ refractor.
Below is a cropped view of the same image above, clearly showing the central star. The resolution that modern day CCD imaging can accomplish in small telescopes is amazing.
Eagles Rest, near Dexter, Oregon 122° 43.53 W 43° 48.41′ N
2557′ magnitude 6.0 Skies; Clear & Steady
NGC 7000 the North American Nebula in the constellation Cygnus. This nebula is next to the star Deneb which is the tail star of the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. Next to the North American Nebula is the Pelican Nebula (IC5067). NGC 7000 the North American Nebula is very large and visible with the naked eye from a Dark Sky site. It is 1600 Light Years distant, 120 x 100 arcminutes, roughly 4 times the size of the full moon.
IC 5067, the Pelican Nebula, 60 x 50 arcminutes, 1,800 light years distant. This image was captures on film, while the camera was manually guided through a 78mm diameter (3″) telescope using an illuminated cross-hair eyepiece.
Protostar forming in IC 5067, was observed by Jerry Oltion in a 96″ telescope. Jerry conveyed the location in IC 5067. I was able to locate and capture it with a 5.5″ refractor and st10xme CCD camera using a 9nm Ha filter on 8/17/2009 from a Dark Sky site in Oregon. Above and below is a crop of the star form area.
June Mountain, near Dexter, Oregon 122° 43.53 W 43° 48.41′ N
3252′ magnitude 6.2 Skies; Clear & Steady
Helix Nebula NGC 7293, a planetary nebula in the constellation Aquarius, 714 Light years away. Discovered by Karl Ludwig in 1824. The helix Nebula formed when an intermediate low-mass star sheds it’s outer layers, leaving a remnant stellar core which will become a White Dwarf star. Helix is 25 arcminutes in diameter, the outer layer is estimated to have formed 6,500 years ago, while the inner region 12,000 years ago.
This image was taken with a 5.5 inch Tech Engineering refractor on an Astro-Physics 1200 mount from a remote Dark Sky Site. All the equipment had to be setup and calibrated for that location.
An SBIG (Diffraction Limited) NABG CCD Camera, color filter-wheel (CFW8a) using Astro-Don Generation 1 true balance Luminance, Red, Green & Blue filters were used to capture the light channels which were combined to form a color image.
LRGB of 3 hours 15 minutes (L=2 hours 15 minutes.; color 60 minutes) -20° C
CCDSoft, CCDStack & Photoshop CS6
Jupiter Ridge # 4, (OCA Anza Site)
4321 ′ magnitude 5.8 20.85 SQM
Markarian’s Chain of Galaxies part of the Virgo Cluster, form a smooth curve and is named after the American Astrophysicist Benjamin Markarian. He discovered the common motion of the members in the 1960’s. Charles Messier discover M84 (NGC 4374) & M86 (NGC 4406) in 1781, both of which are elliptical or lenticular type galaxies. M84 at magnitude 10 (60 Mly) and M86 at 8.9 (52 Mly). The main galaxies include M84 (NGC 4374), M86 (NGC 4406), NGC 4477, NGC 4473, NGC 4461, NGC 4458, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435
The upper left Super Giant Elliptical Galaxy is M87, on of the most massive galaxies of the local group. It has approximate 12,000 globular clusters compared to our Milky Way’s 150-200.
Markarian’s Chain of Galaxies is a delight to view in larger instruments. Using telescope of 14 inches or more in aperture are really satisfying. Use a wide angle eyepiece of 26-50mm focal length to get the full impression of this galactic Cluster.
Early Spring is the best tome to view the Constellation Virgo, The Virgo Galaxy Cluster and Markarian’s Chain of Galaxies.