Dr. Bateson sends us two more neat astrophotos today, taken from his observatory south of Susanville. Both photos were taken with an Infra-red modded Nikon D-90 camera and an Astrotech Ritchey Chretien 12 inch astrograph telescope.
“M16, the Eagle Nebula, is an open cluster of stars containing the ‘Pillars of Creation’ and an emission nebula 7000 light years away in the constellation Serpens near the bright star Rasalhague in Ophiuchus,” explains Bateson.
According to the doctor M-27, the ‘Dumbbell’ or ‘Apple Core’ planetary nebula is located 1360 light years away in the constellation Vulpecula near the bright star Altair.
“Planetary Nebula is actually a misnomer first started by William Herschel in the 1700’s,” says Dr. Bateson. “His telescope could barely resolve the roundness of the Nebula and he mistakenly thought that it had something to do with planets.”
Although they are still called planetary nebulae today, they are actually ionized clouds of gas ejected from a red giant star by strong stellar winds.