Planetary Nebula in Hercules
July 09, 2011
The image above features a little planetary nebula, Abel 39, in the constellation of Hercules – the blue dot at top center. It’s found along the border of Hercules and the constellation of Corona Borealis. I took this shot from my observatory in Yellow Springs, Ohio on June 6, 2011. Abel 39 is about 170 arc seconds in diameter and glows at about 14th magnitude – it’s approximately 6,800 light years away. The faint, blue bubble is from a dying star that blew off its outer atmosphere. Our Sun will likely realize a similar fate a few billion years from now. This nebula can be a real challenge from my light polluted skies outside of Dayton, Ohio. A long exposure was required to detect the detail shown above.
Photo details: Ninety-five minute exposure using my homemade 16 inch telescope and a QHY8, single shot color, CCD camera.