NGC7293 Helix Nebula
DETAILS: Imaged with the LX200 10" and STV with the FR-237 reducer at f3.75. Processed and color combined in MaxIm DL.
COMMENTARY: The Helix Nebula, a planetary nebula in the Constellation Aquarius, has the largest angular diameter of any planetary, nearly half a degree, and at 458 light-years, is the closest to our sun. While exploring the Helix with the HST, astronomers discovered thousands of "cometary knots" of gas and dust with "heads" billions of miles across and tails pointing away from the star which shed the material making up these cosmic wonders. Apparently, fast moving shells of nebular gas overunning cooler, denser, slower shells ejected by the star during earlier expansion of its outer atmospheres, formed the comet or droplet-shaped condensations. The Helix is also a beautiful and colorful imaging target.