M57: The Ring Nebula

The Ring Nebula in the constellation of Lyra is a planetary nebula. The star in the center is quickly spitting out its atmosphere into space. Quite soon it will become a white dwarf (a dead star).

The various images below have been processed differently, each emphasizing a particular aspect.

Images taken: Sept. 28-29, Oct. 1, 21-22, and Nov. 3, 2008, by Kyle Sjostrom, Sarah Gardner, Alex Weiss, John Mann, Amy Beam and Grace Anne Joseph, Cody Jordan, Katrina Hayes, Erin Singleton, Emily Hightower, Porter Wells, Tyler Firth.

Telescope: Meade 12 in with f/5.6 focal reducer (f=67in).

Camera: SBIG ST-10 CCD

Exposure times: 84 min [OIII], 70 min [SII], 140 min H-alpha, 52 min red, 50 min green, 50 min blue: a total of 7.5 hours.

Image processing: CCDoops + CCDSoft + CCDsharp + Photoshop CS.

The star field is RGB (correct star colors), the nebula is narrowband. Notice the abundance of triple ionized oxygen (green) in the middle:

The nebula is narrowband, with H-alpha and [O-III] enhanced to emphasize the halo. The star field is RGB.

Exposures: 30 sec red, 45 sec green, 120 sec blue.

Image processing: CCDoops + CCDSoft + CCDsharp + Photoshop CS.

Pure RGB (correct colors) with faint details enhanced to emphasize the faint, 14.8 mg spiral galaxy IC1296 on the picture.

Pure RGB (correct colors). The midtones contrast enhanced to emphesize the structure of the nebula.