M57 - "Ring Nebula" in Lyra NGC 6720

M 57 (aka NGC 6720) is commonly known as the Ring Nebula. It is located approximately 2,300 light years away in the constellation of Lyra. It spans only one arcminute and shines at a magnitude of 8.8. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1779 and is one of only four planetary nebulae in his catalogue. The others are M 27, the Dumbbell Nebula; M 76, the LIttle Dumbbell Nebula; and M 97, the Owl Nebula.

A planetary nebula is created when a star is nearing the end of its life cycle. The red giant star expells a shell of ionized gas, eventually leaving a white dwarf star in its center. M 57 is estimated to be expanding at a rate of 12-18 miles per second. It expands one arcsecond per century.

The small spiral galaxy to the lower left of M 57 is IC 1296

Telescope: TS-Optics 10 in. f/5 Newtonian
Mount: Ioptron CEM60
Guider: QHY5L-II-M on 300mm Tele-Takumar lens
Camera: Modified Canon 650D

24 @ 5 min.; 26 @ 1 & 2 min.; ISO 800

Note: Individual frames were aligned and combined in ImagesPlus. The combined short- and long-term exposures were aligned in Registar and blended in Photoshop using a layer mask. Final adjustments (included cropping) was done in Photoshop. Topaz Detail was used for sharpening.
Location: Taken from my backyard observatory in southeastern Minnesota on 5/18/18 and 6/2/18.
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