Best of AOP - Planetary Nebulae

NGC 6826: The Blinking

Planetary Nebula

NGC 6826 is a wonderful example of a planetary nebula due to the amount of detail it presents. First of all, the name refers to the nature of human vision and not that of the nebula at all! The nebula appears to "blink" because it is dim. Human eyeballs have their least sensitive cells in the center of the fovea. Thus, staring at this object makes it appear to dim (or even disappear) whereas using "averted vision" makes the nebula look brighter. In a telescope this nebula glows neon green with a bright central star. This image also shows slightly reddish blobs in the 2 and 8 oʼclock positions. These structures are called "FLIERS" and are not yet explained by astronomers who attempt to model the evolution of these objects.

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Last Updated: 22-Jun-2014

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About This Image

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Meade 16in LX200 telescope operating at f/10

SBIG ST8E CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

Three iterations of L-R deconvolution (sharpening) algorithm using CCDsharp were applied to the luminance image.

The most subtle application of unsharp mask was applied.

Luminance = 40 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 6 minutes binned 1x1

Green = 6 minutes binned 1x1

Blue = 12 minutes binned 1x1

Minimum credit line: Tom Boerner and David Young/NOAO/AURA/NSF