Home Up IC289 M27 M57 M76 Helix


NGC7293  The Helix Nebula

The Helix Nebula was formed by the central star pumping gasses out into space. It is the largest planetary nebula we see in our sky because it is the closest.  It is "only" 450 light years away from us.  Astronomers estimate its age to be about 10,000 years old. That's pretty young in astronomical terms.

C14 at F4, ST7, 45 min Luminance, 15 min RGB

The greenish middle portion is evidence of excited oxygen atoms, while the outer red is predominantly light from nitrogen and hydrogen.

The Helix, located in the constellation of Aquarius, is a favorite for late summer and autumn observing.  It is easy to find and it is big.  It is not very bright however so you might miss it with a smaller scope.