Ring Nebula

Planetary Nebula M57

NGC 6720

Image exposure:
60 minutes
Image field of view:
12 x 7.99 arcmin
Image date:

The Ring Nebula is a magnitude +8.8 planetary nebula in the constellation of Lyra. You can see the light from the planet-sized white dwarf which remains at the centre.

I recall the very first glimpse I had of this object through the eyepiece in 2008. My reaction of astonishment was similar to that of many people viewing Saturn through a telescope for the first time. An ecstatic moment to long be remembered.

Unfortunately, my guiding system was under-performing during this recent exposure, as you can probably tell from the trailing stars in this one hour exposure.

Falling in Love with Astronomy

A journalist once asked me if my interest in astronomy was prompted by the “Race for the Moon” in the 1960’s, when America and Russia were battling neck and neck to be the first to land on the Moon. I responded that the Moon Race was a strong influence; but by that time my mind had already been captivated by astronomy – even before President Kennedy made that inspiring 1961 speech, promising to send a man to the Moon and return him safely before the end of the decade.

2009-02-25: Macarthur Advertiser- Article – Reader of the Week.
With my good friend John Rombi.

As a youngster in the fifties, I was heavily influenced by kids comic magazines with astronomy articles about the planets; and space travel fantasy (e.g. Dan Dare). I dreamed of being an astronaut.


Astronomy was never part of the school science curriculum then, so I self-studied using library books. Later, in 1958, when I was a newspaper boy, I vividly recall an early morning in October 1958, when I delivered the newspapers headlining the launch of the first ever artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, by the Soviets. I had stars in my eyes that day, I couldn’t believe the fantasy had become a reality and that I was delivering the news!


I got my first astronomy book in 1961, which taught me, in particular, about the seasonable predictability and seeming permanence of the stars in the sky. I lost interest in science fiction as I grew up and learnt to distinguish between practical space exploration and the science of astronomy. Although I closely monitored the Moon Race and can still get very excited about space exploration, it was ultimately the stars and galaxies that I fell in love with….

… and the planetary nebulae.

Telescope:Meade LX-90 200mm Schmidt-Cassegrain
(deforked); 2000 mm f/l @ f/10.
Optics:Astronomik light pollution filter.
Mount & Guiding:SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount.
Imaging camera:ZWO ASI 071 MC cooled.


Images © Roger Powell

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ABOVE US ONLY SKY : amateur astronomy in australia



      1. Don’t give up so easily . . . develop new tactics! Not only will it net you fried food, but learning new stuff stimulates the brain and keeps it young.

        . . . besides, who doesn’t like a challenge where fried food is the reward for surmounting it?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This is a very difficult target to image since the nebula is very small and requires very precise tracking to support the high-magnification.


  2. Thanks for sharing your history. It sounds familiar in many ways. I received, and still have, my first scope in the late 50’s from my parents.


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