Helix Nebula

The Eye of Sauron, revisited

This is the Helix Nebula, sometimes also called the “Eye of God” or the “Eye of Sauron”. It’s a planetary nebula, formed by a star blowing off its outer layers of gas before collapsing into the white dwarf you can see at its center. This is thought to be the ultimate fate of our own sun.

This is 15 hours of exposure time through filters for ionized Hydrogen (shown as red) and ionized Oxygen (shown as cyan.) It’s the first image from my new camera, a ZWO ASI2600MM Pro, and I’m pleased as punch with it.

For fun, I’ve also posted a side by side comparison of a different take at processing this image, with the Hubble Space Telescope below. Hubble uses a different color palette, but I actually managed to bring out more details and more of its outer shells. Note the “cometary knots” in the middle, basically formed as the exploding gases got caught up on other gases along the way.

Helix Nebula

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