"Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."



NGC 7293 Helix Nebula
Right Ascension 22h 29m 38.55s - Declination -20° 50′ 13.6″

Imaging Telescope or Lens: Astro-Tech 12 " Ritchey - Chrétien Reflector Astrograph
Focal reducer: AP 27TVPH .75 reducer Camera SBIG STF 8300 CCD Mono, Filter's Astrodon Narrowband Ha 5nm 30X1800sec


The Helix Nebula, also known as The Helix, NGC 7293, is a large planetary nebula located in the constellation Aquarius. Discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding, probably before 1824, this object is one of the closest to the Earth of all the bright planetary nebulae. The estimated distance is about 215 parsecs (700 light-years). It is similar in appearance to the Cat's Eye Nebula and the Ring Nebula, whose size, age, and physical characteristics are similar to the Dumbbell Nebula. varying only in its relative proximity and the appearance from the equatorial viewing angle. The Helix Nebula has sometimes been referred to as the "Eye of God" in pop culture, as well as the "Eye of Sauron".

The Helix Nebula is an example of a planetary nebula, formed by an intermediate to low-mass star, which sheds its outer layers near the end of its evolution. Gases from the star in the surrounding space appear, from our vantage point, as if we are looking down a helix structure. The remnant central stellar core, known as a planetary nebula nucleus or PNN, is destined to become a white dwarf star. The observed glow of the central star is so energetic that it causes the previously expelled gases to brightly fluoresce.

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