The Ring Nebula is found in the constellation Lyra and is the demise of a sun-like star. Residing at a distance of 2,300 light years, the expanding shell of ionized gas around the exposed stellar core covers an diameter of about 2.6 light years. This star is transitioning into a compact white dwarf. The exposed stellar core is no longer undergoing fusion. Intense ultraviolet light emit from the hot stellar core ionizes its own shell. Image Credit: Scott MacNeill, Frosty Drew Observatory
This gallery will feature shots of planetary nebulae that have been imaged at Frosty Drew Observatory or by members of our astro-geekary.
A planetary nebula, better known as a transitioning white dwarf, is the last stage of a small to medium sized star's life before it becomes a white dwarf. These objects are stars that have released their outer atmospheres, radiation zones, and convection zone as an expanding shell of gas, exposing the now dead core of the star. Ultraviolet emissions from the intensely hot and luminous core ionize the expanding shell of gas for a period of about 10,000 years.
At Frosty Drew Observatory, we frequently observe these types of stellar remnants.