With an apparent diameter of 1.3′ and distance of approximately 2,400 light-years its true size is almost 1 light-year across, or a little less than one-quarter of the way from Earth to Alpha (α) Centauri. I used a stack of 5 fits files. Through my 8 inch telescope using a 20 mm eyepiece (50X magnification) the Ring Nebula shows itself as a hazy ring. I found that the Orion Ultra Block Filter is quite useful for finding this type of nebula but gives no more added detail … just a bit more contrastThe following is a video in avi format taken for less than 30 sec and the resultant images derived from stacking and processing shown below.The images above were taken with the same telescope but using a ZWO 224 camera and Sharpcap software. One of my best views came with the 12-inch f/17 Porter turret telescope on Breezy Hill in Springfield, Vermont, the site of the annual Stellafane convention. Nebula and Galaxies seen through a 8 inch Telescope - YouTube A 6-inch … The resultant Tif file was processed in Lightzone, converted to a Jpg and the clarity increased again in Windows Photo Editor. However the resultant avi and ser videos of less than 30 sec produced a surprisingly more detailed image…the center stars of the nebula could now be seen. Even a 3-inch scope will show a small, round ball of silky mist with a darker center. The Ring Nebula's distinctive shape makes it a popular illustration for astronomy books. The central star is the remainder of a sun-like star which will eventually cool down to become a white dwarf.
I probably looked at the Ring Nebula with a greater variety of telescopes than I have at any other heavenly subject. The top images were derived from an avi video file less than 30 sec and stacked in Registax. But new observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of the glowing gas shroud around an old, dying, sun-like star reveal a new twist. It is first important to note, that whilst you can see Nebulas through a telescope, you will only be able to see them in shades of grey. The bottom file was from a Ser video file acquired with the same camera, using Firecapture.I did not do precise polar alignment but this was not a problem using the ZWO 224 camera as the images are acquired rapidly allowing more images to be acquired before motion affects the image. But new observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of the glowing gas shroud around an old, dying, sun-like star reveal a new twist.In this composite image, visible-light observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are combined with infrared data from the ground-based Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona to assemble a dramatic view of the well-known Ring Nebula.This nebula's simple, appearance is due to perspective: looking straight into a barrel-shaped cloud of gas shrugged off by a dying central star.
Hot blue gas near the central star gives way to cooler green and yellow gas at greater distances with the coolest red gas along the outer boundary. Slightly more detail may be detected with a 2x or 4x barlow but any color or central detail such as the central star is not apparent. (see cropped image, top right)This image of the Ring Nebula was taken with the ZWO 224 and the same telescope. Slightly more detail may be detected with a 2x or 4x barlow but any color or central detail such as the central star is not apparent. Vega points the way to the Ring, which at magnitude 8.8 is bright enough to show faintly in my 10 × 50 finderscope.
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