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The Ring Nebula

ING Image Release
25th August, 2010

This image of the Ring Nebula or Messier 57 was obtained using the Wide Field Camera on the Isaac Newton Telescope. It is a three-colour composite made from data collected using filters to isolate the light emitted by hydrogen alpha (H-alpha), doubly ionised oxygen (OIII) and ionised sulfur (SII) atoms, and coded in the image as red, green and blue respectively. Credit: D. López (IAC) [ JPEG | TIFF | PDF (with text) ].

Messier 57 (M57) planetary nebula, also known as the "Ring Nebula", is often regarded as the prototype of a planetary nebula. Observations have confirmed that it is, most probably, actually a ring (torus) of bright light-emitting material surrounding its central star, and not a spherical (or ellipsoidal) shell.

This image was obtained and processed by members of the IAC astrophotography group (A. Oscoz, D. López, P. Rodríguez-Gil and L. Chinarro).

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Last modified: 22 December 2010