M27 in Vulpecula is a large and bright planetary nebula that is visible with
moderate aperture telescopes even in urban skies. A planetary nebula
marks the death throes of stars with less mass than necessary to go super nova.
As the star begins to change from a red giant to a white dwarf it coughs off
shells of gas which are ionized and fluoresce like a neon sign. The
red color is hydrogen gas ionized in the hydrogen alpha frequency. The
cyan color is monatomic oxygen fused by the star during its main sequence
stage ionized in the OIII frequency.
Planetary nebulae are relatively short lived phenomena lasting only a few
tens of thousands of years before the gases are dispersed to be reused in
new star formation.
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Telescope: LX200 10" SCT, f/10
Camera: Hutech modified
Canon 350D, ISO 800
Exposure Count: 14 @ 5 minutes, 1 hour, 10 minutes total
Guiding: CCD Soft with ST402ME, Orion 80ED
ImagesPlus: Dark and flat calibration, align and
combine, digital development
Photoshop CS2: Smart sharpen, levels, curves
NeatImage: Noise reduction