Planetary Nebula M57 (NGC 6720), type 4+3, in Lyra

RA 18:53.6 (h:m) DEC +33:02 (deg:m); Distance 2300 light years
Visual Brightness 8.8 (mag); Apparent Dimension 1.4x1.0 (arc min)

The famous ring nebula M57 is often regarded as the prototype of a planetary nebula, and a showpiece in the northern hemisphere summer sky.
Recent research has confirmed that it is, most probably, actually a ring (torus) of bright light-emitting material surrounding its central star, and not a spherical (or ellipsoidal) shell, thus coinciding with an early assumption by John Herschel.
Viewed from this equatorial plane, it would thus more resemble the Dumbbell Nebula M27 or the Little Dumbbell Nebula M76 than its appearance we know from here: we happen to view it from near one pole.

Source and more: SEDS


August 15, 2008 20:25 - 21:04 UT.
Imaging: William Optics Zenithstar 80 ED II APO at f/6.8 [focal length 545 mm], ATK16IC camera, Astronomik LRGB filters.
Exposures: L: 5x60s [1x1]; RGB: 5x30s [2x2], unguided.

July 3, 2006 21:43 - 22:14 UT
I did some work on my camera and now the CCD is nearly exactly in the centre of the optics
so also the stars are nicely shaped now.
Imaged with LX200 10-inch f/10 telescope with 0.33 Focal Reducer operating at f/4.06 [focal length 1015mm], Vesta Pro-SC3a colour camera, Baader Infra Red Blocking Filter.
39 unguided exposures of 45 seconds.
It is nice to compare this image with the one I captured yesterday: I improved !

July 2, 2006 22:29 - 22:46 UT
For the first time my LX200 enjoyed the photons of this object.
I will have to work on my camera, as I suspect that the CCD is not exactly in the centre of the optics which causes some of the stars to get a bit oblong.
Imaged with LX200 10-inch f/10 telescope with 0.33 Focal Reducer operating at f/4.06 [focal length 1015mm],
Vesta Pro-SC3a colour camera, Baader Infra Red Blocking Filter.
51 unguided exposures of 20 seconds.

July 24, 2005 22:23 - 22:39 UT
Still experimenting with autoguiding: my polar alignment needs refining.
And as it was quite humid - after rain showers - my SLR Photolens accumulated a lot of condense which had a negative effect on the guiding.
TAL-2M 6 inch f/8 [focal length 1200mm] with Baader Infra Red Blocking filter, 3 x 45 and 2 x 60 seconds exposure, autoguided.

July 14, 2005 21:50 - 22:15 UT
First autoguiding result.
TAL-2M 6 inch f/8 [focal length 1200mm] with Baader Infra Red Blocking filter, 21 x 45 seconds exposure, autoguided.

July 11, 2005 23:05 - 23:19 UT
TAL-2M 6 inch f/8 [focal length 1200mm] with Baader Infra Red Blocking filter, 11 x 25 seconds exposure, unguided.

August 19, 2004 21:31 - 21:52 UT and August 21, 2004 20:48 - 21:15 UT.
The Ring Nebula M57 is in the centre of this image.
Imaging and processing procedure: see my DSO imaging page.

August 8, 2004 21:10 - 21:19 UT.
This wide field image allows you to find M57.

August 4, 2004 21:22 - 21:50 UT.
I attempted to capture IC1296 with and without IRB filter.

August 2, 2004 21:31 - 21:51 UT.
On my laptop screen I can see a very vague hint of IC 1296.
TAL-2M 6 inch f/8 with 2x Vixen HQ barlow operating at f/16, Baader Infra Red Blocking filter, 76 x 14 seconds exposure, unguided.

August 1, 2004 21:34 - 22:05 UT
TAL-2M 6 inch f/8 with 2x Vixen HQ barlow operating at f/16.
However because I had forgotten to remove my 0.6 focal reducer I really imaged at f/9.6 ...


July 5, 2004 23:27 - 23:46 UT and July 29, 2004 21:22 - 21:38 UT.
Colour image and luminance layer combined and 2x enlarged.








July 29, 2004 21:22 - 21:38 UT: luminance layer.
I am pleased with the stars in the ring itself.
Imaging and processing procedure: see my DSO imaging page.


July 5, 2004 23:27 - 23:46 UT and July 16, 2004 21:21 - 21:59 UT.
Imaging and processing procedure: see my DSO imaging page.







The same image as above, but 2x enlarged and cropped in Photoshop.

August 10, 2003 22:19 - 22:41 UT.
YRGB processed, upsized 4x in Photoshop.

July 13, 2003 23:06 - July 14, 2003 00:24 UT
My best M57 so far.
QCUIAG friend Rod Morris-Kirby has executed an interesting depth of image study of the AVI related with this image.

July 2, 2003 23:27 - 23:53 UT
My first M57 of the new season.

October 6, 2002 18:36 - 19:01 UT. This time I attempted to image in prime focus and thus to obtain a bigger image of M57. The central stars are now better visible than with previous attempts.


October 6, 2002 18:36 - 19:01 UT. Same image as above, but resized.

September 29, 2002 18:47 - 19:01 UT. My best so far: I can see the central star and this was one of my goals.


July 8, 2002 00:06 - 00:22 UT. This image is the first one I took with my Philips Vesta Pro 675K - SC camera: now I can capture Deep Sky Objects!!! This image does not only show the nebula [with even a faint central star] but also stars with magnitude of 16.1 are visible.

Peter Katreniak helped me while imaging: we actually were together working in my observatory: great joy for both of us!