"Ghost of the Helix in Leo"

Ultra Dim Planetary Nebula in Leo

Uploaded 4/5/08

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Right: Location Map for Planetary. This huge object is located 4 degrees to the upper right (NW) of Regulus.

This is perhaps the dimmest nebula I have ever photographed. At nearly half a degree in size, this huge nebula is a very old object, spread out now so thinly that it is almost nothing but vacuum. It took very careful processing with extremely noisy images to produce this final rendition. Surprisingly, the nebula which is bluish in color, was rimmed by a reddish edge in places. The 16th magnitude central star is easily seen as a blue object in the middle of the frame. Some catalogs list this object as a super nova remnant, however the blue central star seems to rule this out.

The entire field is filled with hundreds of yellowish faint distant galaxies. The brightest is CGCG 63-100 to the lower left, a 15.2 magnitude Sb spiral half an arcminute in size. This giant Helix Nebula sized object taunted me for a while when shooting galaxies in this region, and I finally took a stab at this tenuous bubble.

Instrument: 12.5" f/5 Home made Newtonian Platform: Astrophysics 1200 QMD CCD Camera: SBIG 10XME NABG with Enhanced Water Cooling Guider: SBIG ST4 Exposure: LRGB = 180:20:20:20 (RGB Binned 2x2) RGB Combine Ratio: 1: 1.05: 1.11 Filters: AstroDon RGB Tricolor Location: Payson, Arizona Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing FWHM = 4.5 arcsec (Maxim DL - 10min subframe), Transparency 8/10 Outside Temperature: 45 F CCD Temperature: -30 C Processing Tools: Maxim DL, Gralaks Sigma, Photoshop, PixInsight, CCDOps Debloomer. HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS


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