M57, NGC6720 – 2010 07 07

2010 July 7, 0408 UT  –  M57, NGC6720, the Ring Nebula

Constellation Lyra, Planetary Nebula Type 4+3, 0>71”, m8.8v, ~1500-2000 light years away

PCW Memorial Observatory, Zanesville, Ohio USA – Erika Rix

16” Zhumell, 12mm Burgess, 3x Barlow, magnification 450x

Sketch created scopeside with white photocopy paper, #2 pencil, ultra-fine black marker. Template from http://www.perezmedia.com.

M57 never fails to please, just like other objects such as the Double Cluster, M13 and M27. This is the first time I’ve used the 16” on this planetary nebula and took advantage of the aperture to increase magnification. I was particularly interested in looking for structure within the ring as well as a richer star field. It most likely wasn’t the optimal magnification to use, but seeing was rock steady and I was itching to give it a try.

This object resembled a scrunched up American football, not quite as oblong, but most certainly not completely round. The two ends were fainter than the middle portions of the ring, which had strands of brightened areas to the NW and SE sections of the ring. There was one particular area to the northern area of the ring that could have passed for a star, but not defined. It was more or less just a bright spot within the ring. The center of the nebula was a hazy darker gray, also appearing oblong. I couldn’t detect the ever-elusive central star.

Ring Nebula

Paul imaged M57 in 2006 using the LX200 10” classic, a 3.3 focal reducer, and a DSI Pro. He managed to catch IC1296 in the process. You can see where an image allows more light for deeper viewing through frames that can be stacked or exposure times that can be lengthened. This image makes a great comparison between what can be viewed visually and what can be caught with the use of imaging gear in instances such as deep sky observing. I’m very fortunate that my husband enjoys this hobby as much as I do. It becomes almost a two for one scenario. Not only do I get to enjoy my relaxing eyepiece time, but I also get to enjoy his images that compliment my eyepiece views.


~ by Erika Rix on July 7, 2010.

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