NGC 7293, the Helix Nebula   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Planetary Nebula in Aquarius

This is the closest planetary nebula to Earth. The gases forming the nebula have been shed from the star visible in the exact center of the nebula. The colors seen in this image cannot be seen when looking through a telescope. In fact, although it is very large, the Helix Nebula has such low surface brightness that it can be difficult to see at all through a telescope unless you have dark skies and know exactly where to look.

Magnitude 7.3
Apparent Size 12' x 10'
Distance (light yrs) 522
Right Ascension 22:29.6
Declination -20 50
Field of View 29.4' x 22.2'

Image details:  Exposure times of 60 minutes luminance, and 24 minutes each of red, green and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M camera and a 12" Meade telescope at f/6.

November 2011