Monthly Archives: September 2018

Scary Eyes

The Helix Nebula (NGC7293) is a great example of what is called a “planetary nebula” (PN), and is one of the closest PNs to Earth at about 700 light-years.  “Planetary Nebula” is a misnomer that derives from their typically round appearance, which might be mistaken for a planet when viewed through primitive telescopes.  They are actually emission nebulae resulting from a star shedding its outer layers as it approaches its end of life.  Most PNs have a similar appearance, but this image is the best example from my small selection, partly because of its large angular size, and partly because it […]

Naming A Very Dramatic Nebula

NGC6357 is known as the Lobster Nebula, a diffuse emission nebula in Scorpius.  It is also known as the War & Peace Nebula, based on the appearance in infrared light of a skull on the eastern side and a dove on the western side.  No matter what you call it, this is a very dramatic nebula, with complex and varied structures throughout. The total exposure (integration time) for this image is 13 hours, with roughly equal amounts of H-alpha, O-III, and S-II, all captured in Australia.  I processed it by first creating a color image with H-a as red, S-II […]