Amateurs have found and visually confirmed a planetary nebula, St-Dr-1.

Planetary nebula St-Dr-1
Confirmed planetary nebula St-Dr-1.
Steven Bellavia

You won't find many photos of this celestial object, because it was only discovered a few months ago: Amateur astronomers Xavier Strottner and Marcel Drechsler spotted St-Dr-1, a planetary nebula in Taurus.

French amateur Strottner has amassed a catalog (St) with 67 planetary nebulae, and German amateur Drechsler has tabulated 37 in his catalog (Dr). Together with American amateur Dana Patchick, the group of astronomers discovered this nebula using multiwavelength data from the Aladin Sky Atlas. They’ve already collected 30 planetary nebulae in their combined catalog (StDr), four confirmed and 24 awaiting confirmation via follow-up observations of the objects’ spectra.

Peter Goodhew, a amateur astrophotographer in London with a remote observatory in Spain, took the first color image of St-Dr-1 using more than 16 hours of exposures.

I took the second color image of this newly discovered nebula from my backyard in Long Island, New York.  I am fortunate that my friend and colleague, Mike Inglis, professor of astronomy at Suffolk County Community College, informed me of this object's discovery, along with its sky coordinates. It's challenging to capture, as it is very faint. I used a semi-homemade telescope that I built using a repurposed mirror from an Orion Star Blast II.  It has a custom high-precision focuser (which received a Stellafane award in 2016) and a very stiff wood tube.  The large secondary mirror prevents vignetting. I built the telescope explicitly to take images.

It’s nice to know that amateur astronomers are still making discoveries — and that we can use modest equipment to confirm them!


Image of Tron1002


May 11, 2020 at 7:25 pm

Nice photo man. Kind of looks like pangea.

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May 15, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Terrific work all around everyone! Gorgeous image. What is the visual magnitude and angular size of this object? Regards, Doug Z

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Image of Mark-Strollo


May 16, 2020 at 9:18 am

If you rotate the photo 90 degrees counterclockwise, it looks like the "Slimer" from Ghostbusters.
Could not paste a picture.

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