Messier 57: a deep, high resolution image (23 June 2015)
Among the deep sky splendors, the author has always had an innate predilection for the splendid “Ring” nebula in Lyra, also known as Messier 57 and NGC 6720. Its inequivocable shape, with its famous central star (a white dwarf), makes this gem of immediate recognition, even for newbies in astronomy. Discovered by Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix in 1779, it is easy to spot with a small scope even from urban sites. Its distance is estimated to be around 2.5 thousands of light years.
The image above is a quite deep image coming from the average of thirteen, 600-seconds exposures, remotely collected with the PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope Project. Binning 1×1, with a resulting scale of 0.6″/pixel. The limiting magnitude reached is almost 22.5.
The spiral galaxy IC 1296, placed at 220 millions of light years, is also very well visible. All around many small, faint galaxies are visible, if you carefully check the full resolution version of the image.
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