APOD: The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble (2014 Oct 12)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble (2014 Oct 12)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:06 am

Image The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble

Explanation: How did a star create the Helix nebula? The shapes of planetary nebula like the Helix are important because they likely hold clues to how stars like the Sun end their lives. Observations by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and the 4-meter Blanco Telescope in Chile, however, have shown the Helix is not really a simple helix. Rather, it incorporates two nearly perpendicular disks as well as arcs, shocks, and even features not well understood. Even so, many strikingly geometric symmetries remain. How a single Sun-like star created such beautiful yet geometric complexity is a topic of research. The Helix Nebula is the nearest planetary nebula to Earth, lies only about 700 light years away toward the constellation of Aquarius, and spans about 3 light-years.

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unknown

Re: APOD: The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble (2014 Oct

Post by unknown » Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:16 am

I was thinking about what the photo would look like with all the near stars removed.

Are there any stars showing that are actually involved with the event? Except, of course, for the central one. I do see some galaxies.


Ed

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Re: APOD: The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble (2014 Oct

Post by Nitpicker » Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:42 am

unknown wrote:I was thinking about what the photo would look like with all the near stars removed.

Are there any stars showing that are actually involved with the event? Except, of course, for the central one. I do see some galaxies.


Ed

Edward Sutorik
Given how close the Helix Nebula is to us, I would expect that most of the stars we see in the APOD are further away than the nebula.

Guest

Re: APOD: The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble (2014 Oct

Post by Guest » Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:53 am

The Helix nebula still looks like an end-on view of the Hourglass nebula to me. I suspect that it only takes surface hot-spots and stellar rotation to create the observed spiral shaped. The star's rotation would line up fairly closely with the direction to the Earth.

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Re: APOD: The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble (2014 Oct

Post by Boomer12k » Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:16 pm

WOW....WHAT A SHOT!!!!!

I even has an EYEBROW!!!!!

Just AMAZING!!!!!!

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Re: APOD: The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble (2014 Oct

Post by starsurfer » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:19 am

Is the measurement of 3 light years only for the main central part? It has a massive halo that extends for 40 arcminutes, much larger than the field of view of this image.

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Re: APOD: The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble (2014 Oct

Post by Nitpicker » Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:56 am

starsurfer wrote:Is the measurement of 3 light years only for the main central part? It has a massive halo that extends for 40 arcminutes, much larger than the field of view of this image.


700*tan(40') = 8.1 light years

I find a lot of quoted sizes for DSOs to be a little rubbery, due to the uncertainty in the angular size (sometimes dependent on depth of exposure) and distance from Earth.