clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

M57 - The Ring Nebula in Lyra

As an experiment, I thought I would attempt the Ring Nebula in Lyra the Lyre.  This is a really small object, which I knew before I started imaging.  The reason I wanted to attempt this is because it is one of the most difficult objects that I have  seen long ago, visually with a 60mm refractor back in the 1980's.  I wanted to see if I could photograph it, as I wished that I had the ability to photograph it then.

This image was not the easiest thing to get a decent picture of.  I wish I had taken more frames, only 9 out of 30 were useable.  This is a really bright object to image compared to other nebulae and galaxies.  The frames were only 2 minutes in length, and even then, they were almost to the point of saturation.

My autoguiding was not perfect, and I had a fair amount of declination inaccuracy when this was shot.  This is why my frames were not of good quality.  The good thing is, this is an early morning object right now, and it will position itself better in the sky as the summer progresses.  This object is only 2 arcminutes in diameter, and would be a target for a longer focal length.  Guiding is far more critical on an object this small.  As the object gets higher in the sky, I believe the images will improve as I'll have better polar alignment on the object in the future.

Even with the problems I had, I dont think the image came out that bad.  I'll post 2 images, a somewhat rich field view and a close up of the nebula.

The nebula is located right on the edge of the Milky Way, so the star field is somewhat rich.  I wanted to post a wide field view to show the star density in the frame.

This is a cropped frame so that you can see the detail of the nebula.  The colors are pretty close to accurate.  The center is blue, the middle of the ring should probably be a little more green, but the red along the outer part of the ring is showing up nicely.  I was able to capture the central star, which I was unable to see in the little 60mm refractor years ago.


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