NGC 6888, the “Crescent” nebula: a narrowband view
Placed at about 5.000 light years from us, in the Cygnus constellation, there is this intricate gaseous bubble, catalogued as NGC 6888, also known as the “Crescent” Nebula.
This 25 light years large envelope surrounds the bright start Wolf-Rayet star WR136, sitting almost in the center, feeding this nebular complex with its stellar wind. Needless to say, this star – which is 250.000 times more luminous and 30 times more massive than the Sun – will sometime explode as a supernova.
The image above is the average of 25, 300-seconds exposures, remotely taken with the 17″ robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope. All the images were taken through a narrowband filter, picking only the Hydrogen Alpha wavelength around 6563 Angstroms. In that color, the nebular structure looks very dramatic, with incredibly sharp details. All around, there is a gentle, fainter gaseous extension. The image scale is 1.26″/pixel; all the images were unguided.
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