CWRU Warner and Swasey Observatory


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Nassau Station

Nassau Station Robotic Telescope

Image Gallery

This is a collection of images of planetary nebulae taken by the NSRT that was inspired by the Hubble Space Telescope collection of images of planetary nebulae. We don't have the resolution of the Hubble Telescope because of atmospheric seeing but the images here are closer to what you'd be able to see with your own eye with a telescope in your backyard. The algorithm used to put together our color composite images is closer to the way your eye senses light and color because we are using broader band filters. Also, in the NSRT images north is always up and east is always right. The HST images can be rotated to just about any angle so you may have to turn them to match them up with the NSRT image.

Planetary nebula were originally called "planetary" because astronomers once though that we were seeing a solar system forming around a star. Spectra of these objects showed that instead of collapsing into a planetary system, these nebula are blowing apart and the star in the center is not a young star but a white dwarf. We know that white dwarfs are the result when a star about the size of the sun dies. We are still uncertain about exactly how planetary nebula form but they are the result of the final death throws of a low mass star. Essentially what we are seeing in the nebula are the outer layers of the star having been "thrown" or "puffed" off, leaving behind the white dwarf cinder. It is also important to note that all these nebula are much much larger than the size of our own solar system and since they are expanding outward and cooling, they probably only last a few million years before fading.

When you look at these with binoculars or a telescope with your eye, you will see small fuzzy objects, maybe with a bit of a green tinge to them. The green tinge is due to the fact that your eye is most sensitive to this color and a large amount of the light energy being emitted in the nebula is due to a strong ionized oxygen line. A large fraction of the light energy is also emitted in the red due to ionized hydrogen but your eye is less sensitive to that color. That does show up better in color pictures though. The color pictures here are what your eye would see if there was enough light to see colors like you do under daylight conditions.

Click on a thumbnail to get the full sized picture.

Image Gallery Index

NameNSRT ImageHubble Image
The Ring Nebula
M57, NGC 6720
(color composite)
Color composite of M57NGC 6720 @ HST
The Eskimo Nebula
NGC 2392
Eskimo NebulaNo image
The Cats Eye
NGC 6543
(color composite)
Cats Eye NebulaNGC 6543 @ HST
The Saturn Nebula
NGC 7009
(color composite)
Composite True color image of NGC 7009NGC 7009 @ HST
The Little Dumbell Nebula
M76, NGC 650
(color composite)
M76 (Little Dumbell)No image
NGC 7139NGC 7139No Image
The Blinking Planetary Nebula
NGC 6826
(color composite)
NGC 6826NGC 6826 @ HST
The Box Nebula
NGC 6309
(color composite)
The Box NebulaNo image
NGC 7027
(color composite)
NGC 7027NGC 7027 @HST
The Blue Snowball
NGC 7662
(color composite)
The Blue Snowball (NGC 7662)NGC 7662 @ HST
IC 289IC 289No Image
NGC 2202NGC 2202NGC 2022 @HST
NGC 2371NGC 2371NGC 2371 @HST
NGC 2440NGC 2440NGC 2440 @HST
The Owl Nebula (M97)Owl Nebula (M97)No image
The Dumbbell (M27)Dumbbell Nebula (M27)No image
NGC 1501NGC 1501No image

Image Gallery Index

©2000 CWRU Astronomy Dept.
Last modified November 6, 2000
Case Western Reserve University