This image reveals intricate structure only hinted at in previous observations, and has allowed scientists to construct a model of the nebula in 3D — showing the true shape of this striking object. Formed by a star throwing off its outer layers as it runs out of fuel, the Ring Nebula is an archetypal planetary nebula . It is both relatively close to Earth and fairly bright, and so was first recorded in the late 18th century. As is common with astronomical objects, its precise distance is not known, but it is thought to lie just over light-years from Earth.
It turns out that the nebula is shaped like a distorted doughnut. We are gazing almost directly down one of the poles of this structure, with a brightly coloured barrel of material stretching away from us. The brightest part of this nebula is what we see as the colourful main ring.
This is composed of gas thrown off by a dying star at the centre of the nebula. This star is on its way to becoming a white dwarf — a very small, dense, and hot body that is the final evolutionary stage for a star like the Sun.
M57 in Lyra is the most famous of all planetary nebulae. At x its central hole is easily seen, the nebula has an oval shape and the disk is not uniformly bright.
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M76 Little Dumbbell Nebula is a planetary nebula in Perseus. The nebula takes well high magnification, probably x is ideal.
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It is extremely bright, at x the disc is easily seen. With my mm telescope the nebula can only be seen using averted vision. M27 is a big, bright, rectangular fuzzy patch at 36x. The southern lobe was somewhat smaller and brighter than the northern lobe.
Most detailed observations ever of the Ring Nebula
Although the Sun does not transit the nebula, its corona passes in front of it. These transits and occultations can be used to analyse both the nebula and the object passing in front of it, by observing how radiation from the nebula is altered by the transiting body. Lunar transits have been used to map X-ray emissions from the nebula. Before the launch of X-ray-observing satellites, such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory , X-ray observations generally had quite low angular resolution , but when the Moon passes in front of the nebula, its position is very accurately known, and so the variations in the nebula's brightness can be used to create maps of X-ray emission.
The Sun's corona passes in front of the Crab Nebula every June.
Variations in the radio waves received from the Crab Nebula at this time can be used to infer details about the corona's density and structure. Early observations established that the corona extended out to much greater distances than had previously been thought; later observations found that the corona contained substantial density variations. Very rarely, Saturn transits the Crab Nebula. Researchers used the Chandra X-ray Observatory to observe Saturn's moon Titan as it crossed the nebula, and found that Titan's X-ray 'shadow' was larger than its solid surface, due to absorption of X-rays in its atmosphere.
Coordinates : 5 h 34 m From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Further information: SN Main article: Crab Pulsar. Play media. Retrieved 12 February The Astrophysical Journal. Bibcode : ApJ Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
Diffuse nebulae – Observing the Night Sky
Bibcode : PASP Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Chandra X-ray Observatory. Harvard University. Retrieved 11 February The neutron star, which has the mass equivalent to the sun crammed into a rapidly spinning ball of neutrons twelve miles across, is the bright white dot in the center of the image. Crab Nebula". Leiden University Library.
Most detailed observations ever of the Ring Nebula [heic1310]
Archived from the original on 4 September Retrieved 9 March Archived from the original on 3 March Retrieved 4 March Meigetsuki [ Record of the Clear Moon ]. Scientific American. Bibcode : SciAm.
Lives of the Physicians. Kopf, Lothar trans. Richard Weiler, K.
The Historical Supernovae. Supernovae and Gamma Ray Bursters. Lecture Notes in Physics. Berlin: Springer. Bibcode : LNP Random House. Springer Science. Astronomical Society of the Pacific Leaflets. Bibcode : ASPL The Search for the Nebulae. Alpha Academic. Ancient History and Recent Discoveries". In Conversi, M. Evolution of Particle Physics. Academic Press. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.