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FIRST LIGHT with the new setup which took months to asemble. the observatory is now live...

10 X 200 seconds in Halpha, OIII, Hbeta.

127 mm refractor on paramount ME with 8300 CCD chip.

Stars such as our Sun do not contain enough mass to finish their lives in the glorious explosions known as supernovae. However, they are still able to salute their imminent demise into dense, Earth-sized embers called white dwarfs by first expelling colourful shells of gas known as planetary nebulae. This misnomer comes from the similarity in appearance of these spherical mass expulsions to giant planets when seen through small telescopes.

NGC 6781 is a nice representative of these cosmic bubbles. The planetary nebula lies a few thousand light-years away towards the constellation of Aquila (the Eagle) and is approximately two light-years across. Within NGC 6781, shells of gas blown off from the faint, but very hot, central star’s surface expand out into space. These shells shine under the harsh ultraviolet radiation from the progenitor star in intricate and beautiful patterns. The central star will steadily cool down and darken, eventually disappearing from view into cosmic oblivion.

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Comment by Charles Dunlop on July 21, 2012 at 6:41pm

I like these litle planetary nebula there's tons of them like you said jeff. it is a tiny object, with a smaller FOV it would be really cool looking. And I'm very happy that on this object the difference in Hb and Ha was distinct.

Comment by Jeffrey P Nunnari on July 21, 2012 at 3:01pm

Nice - I was going to go after that last night myself, but decided to wait and went after other targets farther to the west while they are still in good viewing position. Aquila is flush with planetaries and will linger near the meridian for several weeks to come during the prime evening viewing hours. Your shot looks just like the one in The Interactive NGC Catalog Online - good work!

Comment by Trevor Woodrow on July 21, 2012 at 1:21pm have an observatory?!?

Comment by Trevor Woodrow on July 21, 2012 at 1:21pm

Tough target...I had to look it up! Well done Charlie!

Comment by Marc Basti on July 21, 2012 at 1:14pm

Steve, we're always the last ones to know lol. Charles came out good man. Congrats. Marc

Comment by Steve Coates on July 21, 2012 at 8:34am

What? You built an observatory? When did that happen???? Nice work Charles, all of your hard work is going to pay off now that you are set up and online. Nice write up on this obscure target. You are well in your way.

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