Messier 57, the Ring Nebula   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Planetary nebula in Lyra

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Because it has a high surface brightness, the famouns Ring Nebula can withstand high magnification well, and the ring shape can be seen with even small telescopes.  However, the blue central star, which is so obvious in the photograph, is much harder to observe visually.  On a few very clear nights I have been able to glimpse the star with my 18-inch Dobsonian, but only with difficulty and with high magnification.  Close examination of this image shows that the bright ring shape is surrounded by a very dim outer halo that is about twice as large. Also visible, to the upper right of Messier 57, is the distant spiral galaxy IC 1296.

Image details:  Exposure times of 26 minutes luminance, 12 minutes each of red, green, and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M imager and a 14" Meade LX850 telescope at f/6.

June 2014