Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day
Posted on 06/12/2010 5:22:20 AM PDT by sig226
Explanation: Braided, serpentine filaments of glowing gas suggest this nebula's popular name, The Medusa Nebula. Also known as Abell 21, this Medusa is an old planetary nebula some 1,500 light-years away in the constellation Gemini. Like its mythological namesake, the nebula is associated with a dramatic transformation. The planetary nebula phase represents a final stage in the evolution of low mass stars like the sun, as they transform themselves from red giants to hot white dwarf stars and in the process shrug off their outer layers. Ultraviolet radiation from the hot star powers the nebular glow. The Medusa's transforming star is near the center of the overall bright crescent shape. In this deep, wide telescopic view, fainter filaments clearly extend below and to the left of the bright crescent region. The Medusa Nebula is estimated to be over 4 light-years across.
I save almost every one :-)
It would be better to get you a scope and go out an LOOK at these things yourself. They won’t be so spectacular, but, much more satisfying.
Of course you could get into astro-photography and do your own...
It’s a great hobby!
I already have a scope. But its useless where I am thanks to all the 'darn' light pollution(1). With the exception of rare a Lunar Eclipse it collects dust.(2)
Ditto for astro-photography. Many years ago I was going to buy the Telescope adapter for my Nikon, but since I'd never be able to use it, that would be waste of money.
(1) The light pollution has gotten worse over the last fifteen tears or so. When I look out to the East at night it *almost* looks like sunrise.
(2) Just to get use from it, I even thought of 'spying' on my neighbors with it. But its too powerful for that so I use my 8x21 Binoculars instead ;-)
Are you stone yet?
I live in the center of a smaller city in Georgia. I live within walking distance of two hospitals, a shopping center (only 3 blocks there) and other major light sources. I can also count about 15 street lights from my back yard. I know what you mean by light polution.
I also just joined the ‘Urban Astronomy Club’ sponsored by the Astronomical League. They give you a list of 100 items that you can see from just about anywhere. They include galaxies, nebula, clusters(lots of clusters), double stars, and a variable (Algol). You cannot use ‘GOTO’ to do this list, so, it does require some work, but, it was a very rewarding experience. I found most of these items while in my backyard, using various lawn furniture as a shield from the light in the back corner of the yard. Other items I had to do from the front yard, where I had nothing to block the light there.
You should try this list. If you can’t go to a dark sky site, it will at least get you looking up!
I did some astro photography from my former yard. We lived a few blocks from some major factories then.
They are not great, but, here is a very small sample.
In the back yard again.
Click my profile and scroll down to the apod ping list. There’s a link to the NASA archive. It goes back to the first one.
You are warned that it is not my fault if you stare at your monitor for two days straight.
Also, there should be an amatuer astronomers’ club around your location. They’ll know good spots where you can go watch the sky at events, so there will be other star watchers there for assistance and company.
Yeah, I did that a while back _).
I also went to the NASA site and Bookmarked their Main Picture Archive page.
*** You are warned that it is not my fault if you stare at your monitor for two days straight. ***
:-) Guilty as charged, with extenuating circumstances
I do sit there and stare, but not for two days (yet). But I sure could go through all those pictures, one by one, and that would take days.
*** Also, there should be an amatuer astronomers club around your location. ***
There prolly is. But that will have to wait until I get a new knee. Right now my mobility is 'somewhat' limited. (not whining about 'po old me', just sayin')