The Fine Ring Nebula
0.32 light years.
4,900 light years.
|Apparent size: |
1.1 arc min
Shapley 1 is a faint annular planetary nebula in the southern constellation of Norma. At magnitude 12.6, it proved elusive until I ramped up the gain level to be certain that I was aiming my telescope in the right direction. Presenting as a ring, astronomers suspect that its structure is cylindrical and aligned towards Earth. Its age has been estimated at around 8,700 years.
It is the second time I’ve imaged Shapley 1. The previous time was when I was using my DSLR camera, before I acquired an astro-camera.
The central star, a white dwarf from which the nebula was ejected, is clearly visible.
I took this image using my planetary camera, which is uncooled. Hence I had to deal with some pretty awful amp glow and other high gain camera noise, some of which still remains after processing the image. I also forgot to use an optical filter.
Shapley 1 is only a few arc-minutes from a second planetary nebula which I imaged on the same night, called Stephenson 1. Image to follow.
|Field of View: |
18.5 x 12 arcmin
|Image date: |
Two big news items in astronomy this week:
1. Gravitational Waves
LIGO announced the detection of the first observations of a black hole/neutron star pair. Not just one pair but two separate pairs, ten days apart!
The LIGO gravitational wave detection observatories are the most astonishing instruments, on a par with the Large Hadron Collider and exquisitely sensitive. Incredible human achievements, both of them!
This was an exciting discovery, from a truly amazing observatory – but it will be eclipsed in a few years time by the discoveries made by the following new telescope:
2. The SKA
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope will be the largest telescope of any kind ever built and will reveal in detail many hidden secrets of the Universe.
This week it was announced that the construction phase of the SKA will begin. The SKA will be constructed in South Africa and Australia – and Phase 1 will consist of two telescope arrays: 197 dishes in South Africa and 131,072 low frequency antennae in Western Australia.
Four years ago I got to examine one of the low frequency antennae prototypes:
Location of Constellation
Thanks for reading 🙃
Telescope & Imaging Details
|Telescope:||SkyWatcher Esprit 120 mm apochromatic 3-element refractor; 840 mm f/l @ f/7.|
|Optics:||Field flattener; no filter.|
|Mount & Guiding:||SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount; ZWO ASI120 guide camera.|
|Imaging camera:||ZWO ASI 290 MC uncooled.|
|Software:||Control: Cartes du Ciel, ASCOM, EQMOD, PHD2. Imaging: SharpCap, Gimp.|
Images © Roger Powell
I’m one of the founder members of Macarthur Astronomical Society and current webmaster.
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Sydney Solar Eclipse