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NGC7293 / Helix Nebula

Classification: Planetary Nebula NGC7293 / C63 / PLN 36-57.1
Constellation: Aquarius (AQR)
Object Location: Ra 22h 30m 27s Dec -20° 45’35° (current)
Size & Distance: 17.6 x 17.6 Apx 700 light years.

Date & Location: 09-18-2009 Home
Exposure: NllHaOlll, Nll=L, Ha=R, Ha-Olll=G, Olll=B. 5 ea. @ 20 min. Ha (bin 1x1), Nll-Olll (bin 2x2)
Optics: Telescope Engineering Company APO140ED @ f/7 F/L 940mm.
Mount: Astro-Physics 900 GTO / ATS 10x36 pier.
Camera: SBIG-ST10XME @ -10c / Guided by Q85 SBIG-RGH
Filters: Astrodon 3nm Nll, Ha, Olll
Software: MaxImDL 4.56, Photoshop CS

Notes: Sky conditions: Average seeing, no wind, Temp 67°
Image Field of view is 35 x 52 arcmin.
This image was an Astronomy Magazine Picture Of The Day, Feb, 2010

The Helix Nebula is an excellent example of a planetary nebula formed at the end of a star's evolution. Gases from the star in the surrounding space appear, from our vantage point, as if we are looking down a helix structure. The remnant central core, known as a planetary nebula nucleus or PNN, is destined to become a white dwarf star. The observed glow of the central star is so energetic that it causes the previously expelled gases to brightly fluoresce.
It spanning about 2.5 light-years, and is sometimes referred to as the Eye of God.