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Helix Nebula by Damian Peach

Submitted July 21, 2015 by Planewave Instruments

 CDK700 (28″)  @ F6.8. FLI camera. L: 90mins. RGB: 5mins.

One of the brightest planetary nebulae in the sky. It is located around 700 light years away and spans around 2.5 light years in size. Many background galaxies are visible in the image (which are vastly more distant) including some visible through the nebula itself.

Planetary nebulae such as this one represent the very late stages of low-medium mass stars (such as the Sun.) Indeed the Sun itself will one day create a planetary nebula perhaps similar to the Helix, billions of years from now.