Deep Space Photography
6 14 2011 M57
Previous Images
   
M57
This nebula was discovered by Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix in January, 1779, who reported that it was as large as Jupiter and resembles a planet which is fading. Later the same month, Charles Messier independently found the same nebula while searching for comets. It was then entered into his catalogue as the 57th object.

Planetary nebulae are formed after medium or low mass stars, such as the Sun, exhaust their hydrogen fuel in the stellar core. At this point the structure of the star changes so it can achieve a new equilibrium condition in which it can continue to burn; the outer layers of the star expand and it becomes a red giant. Further internal temperature instabilities develop from the fusion reactions, causing the outer atmosphere to be expelled by hot superwinds either continuously or in several energetic pulses. This expanding gaseous shell forms the spherical nebula, brightly illuminated by ultraviolet energy from the central star.

Distance 2.300 Million Light Years
RA 18h 53m 35.079s
DEC +33° 01′ 45.03″
Mag 8.8
Designations NGC 6720

Indian Trail, NC

Rochester, NY

Taxahauw, SC

Rodeo, NM