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7/2/05 M57 The Ring Nebula

Always a pretty sight whether it's seen in an image or through a telescope! M57 is a planetary nebula, the cast off shell of a dying star very similar to our Sun. Scientists believe that this object is actually tube shaped but we see it as a ring because we're looking down the barrel. I combined clear with HA data to get more detail in the luminance channel. While shooting the color channels I fell asleep and neglected to periodically adjust focus. The temperature dropped almost 20 degrees during the course of the night. This caused some focus problems with the green and blue channels and also caused some registration problems when lining them up with the LUM and RED channels. This can be seen as a banding of color in some stars with red at the top, green in the center and blue at the bottom. The fix would be to reshoot green and blue, this time staying awake to adjust focus periodically! However, the effect seems appropriate given the proximity to Independence Day - I've decided to leave it as is and will wait 'till next year for an improved version.