Located in Aquarius, the Helix Nebula is one of the best and largest planetary nebulae in the entire sky. It appears large in size, due to its relative proximity; and it has a very low surface brightness which can make it look ghostly.
NGC 7293, Caldwell 63.
Visual magnitude: +7.6.
Apparent diameter: 14.7 x 12.0 arc-min. (about 0.5 LD).
Actual diameter: 3.4 light years.
Distance: 790 light years.
Exposure: 3 x 4 min, ISO 2000.
Location: The Oaks, NSW.
Sky: semi-dark rural sky, clear.
Processing: Canon DPP, Deep Sky Stacker and GIMP.
Obtained during a Macarthur Astronomical Society field night.
Imaging telescope: Skywatcher Esprit 120ED Super APO triplet refractor.
Focal length: 840 mm, focal ratio: f/7.
Imaging camera: Canon EOS 60D.
Guiding telescope: Orion ShortTube 80mm Achromatic doublet refractor.
Focal length: 400 mm, focal ratio: f/5.
Guiding camera: Orion StarShoot camera.
Guiding control software: PHD2.
Telescope mount: SkyWatcher EQ6-R.
Polar aligning: QHYCCD PoleMaster.
Field flattener: yes; filter: no.
Image © R.Powell