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Jon Greif

Location of Photo:

Alpine, CA, USA

Date/Time of photo:

October 3-5, 2023, from 9 pm to 3 am PDT


Takahashi Mewlon 210 mm reflector, ZWO 2600 MM Pro camera, ZWO LRGB filters, Pegasus Astro NYX-101 mount, Williams Optics 50 mm Guidescope, ZWO 174 MM guide camera, Pixinsight processing.


M57, or the Ring Nebula, is a planetary nebula, the glowing remains of a sun-like star. The tiny white dot in the center of the nebula is the star’s hot core, called a white dwarf. M57 is about 2,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra. M57 was discovered by the French astronomer Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix in 1779. The blue gas in the nebula’s center is actually a football-shaped structure seen end-on that pierces the red, doughnut-shaped material. The deep blue color in the center represents helium, the light blue color of the inner ring is the glow of hydrogen and oxygen, and the reddish color of the outer ring is from nitrogen and sulfur. The image was taken from our backyard in Alpine over two nights this week and represents about 12 hours of exposure time.