One of the largest planetary nebula, with an apparent diameter about half the size of the Moon, the Helix Nebula is named after it’s double ringed 3D appearance.
I’ve seen far better images than my modest unguided 23 minutes exposure and they often resemble a human eye. For some quaint reason a lot of folks refer to the Helix as “The Eye of God”, which is, of course, quite ridiculous. If there were an all-seeing god she wouldn’t have a single human eye would she? 🤨
I recall a local newspaper publishing a reader’s photo of a cloud formation which resembled a human. Of course the reader claimed it was actually God. Then there was the reader who sent in a picture of a sundog – and the paper published his claim that he had captured an alien mothership with his camera…..
It’s natural to see faces and other objects in the sky – but I reckon some folks get carried away with their goofy explanations.
This image and the next one I will be posting were taken on the first of two clear observing nights four days apart with Macarthur Astronomical Society. They were the last sessions before the dreaded daylight saving begins next Sunday here, severely curtailing astronomers observing sessions for the next six months. Next time I see the NSW Premier, I’ll be telling her I want the clocks put back an hour instead of forward.
The second of those two nights was totally unproductive. I experienced guiding errors, alignment errors and a catastrophic dew management failure. I think I now know why I had guiding problems – and maybe that caused the misalignment and maybe the low battery voltage caused the dew heaters to fail which maybe caused the guiding to play up which maybe messed up the alignment which…… you get the picture.
Or maybe each one was just human error. 🥴
The two things I did confirm from this disaster are: 1. always check the batteries are functioning normally; and 2. once a heavy dew builds up on the telescope’s objective lens at 3°C and I don’t happen to have a hair dryer and 240V handy, then I might as well hit the road!
Designation: NGC 7293, Caldwell 63
Visual magnitude: +7.6
Apparent size: 14.7′ x 12′
Diameter: 3.4 light years.
Distance: 790 light years.
Altitude during exposure: 63° above Eastern horizon.
No need to read the technical stuff:
Exposure: 24 x 58 sec = 23 min.
Image acquisition: SharpCap.
|Telescope:||SkyWatcher Esprit||Type:||120ED triplet refractor|
|Focal:||840 mm F/7||Mount:||SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro|
|Camera:||ZWO ASI 071 MC Pro
||Type:||CMOS 28.4mm 16 Mpx
|Optical aids:||Flattener: Y; filter: LP||Guiding:||No|
|Polar aligning:||QHYCCD PoleMaster||Polar Error:||00’ 38”|
[ZWO ASI071MC Pro]
Auto Exp Target Brightness=100
Image © Roger Powell