Planetary nebula with halo in Draco

Uploaded 6/16/09

Select an image size for a larger view: 800 x 600 1290 x 960 1600 x 1200

This is one of the most challenging nebulas in the sky to photograph. So brilliant and diminutive is the core, normally long focal lengths and short exposure times are needed to preserve the inner details. Here I did the opposite - a large aperture fast Newtonian and longer exposure to bring out the very tenuous outer halo of structured nebulosity formed from an earlier outburst of the core. The main disk of the planetary nebula, know as the "Cat Eye Nebula" is a tiny 20 arc seconds in size, and blazing at 8th magnitude.

The outer halo consists of hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen and reveals a wealth of colors signifying the chemical abundances of this tenuous envelope.

And now the plot here thickens. The patch of nebulosity just to the right of the core has its own IC designation, listed as a 16th magnitude planetary nebula an arc minute in size! There is also a very nice 14.6th magnitude barred spiral off to the left here. Inclined only 3 degrees, it spans an arc minute across.

Instrument: 12.5" f/5 Home made Newtonian Mount: Astrophysics 1200 QMD CCD Camera: SBIG 10XME NABG with Enhanced Water Cooling Guider: Meade DSS Pro w/Lumicon Newt Easy Guider Exposure: LRGB = 120:40:40:40 AstroDon RGB Combine Ratio: 1: 1.05: 1.2 Location: Payson, Arizona, Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing FWHM = 6 arcsec (Maxim DL - 10min subframe), Transparency 9/10 Sky = 21.3 mag/arcsec Outside Temperature: 55 F CCD Temperature: -30 C Image Processing Tools: Maxim DL: Calibration, deblooming (Starizona Debloomer), aligning, stacking PixInsight: Curves, Deconvolution, noise reduction Photoshop CS2: Curves, Color Correction, Gradient removal (Grad Xterminator), Cleanup HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS