Classroom Aid - Little Ghost Nebula and NGC 2440

Published on 30 Sep 2020 / In Science

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In this segment of our “How far away is it” video book, we cover Planetary Nebula.

We begin by introducing astrophotography and how it adds to what we can see through a telescope with our eyes. We use NGC 2818 to illustrate how this works. This continues into the modern use of Charge-Coupled Devices and how they work. We use the planetary nebula MyCn18 to illustrate the use of color filters to identify elements in the nebula.

We then show a clip illustrating the end-of-life explosion that creates objects like the Helix Planetary Nebula (NGC 7293), and show how it would fill the space between our Sun and our nearest star, Proxima Centauri.

Then, we use the Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) to illustrate expansion parallax. As a fundamental component for calculating expansion parallax, we also illustrate the Doppler Effect and how we measure it via spectral line red and blue shifts.

We continue with a tour of the most beautiful planetary nebula photographed by Hubble. These include: the Dumbbell Nebula, NGC 5189, Ring Nebula, Retina Nebula, Red Rectangle, Ant Nebula, Butterfly Nebula, , Kohoutek 4-55, Eskimo Nebula, NGC 6751, SuWt 2, Starfish, NGC 5315, NGC 5307, Little Ghost Nebula, NGC 2440, IC 4593, Red Spider, Boomerang, Twin Jet, Calabash, Gomez’s Hamburger and others culminating with a dive into the Necklace Nebula.

We conclude by noting that this will be the most likely end for our Sun, but not for billions of years to come, and we update the Cosmic Distance Ladder with the new ‘Expansion Parallax’ rung developed in this segment.

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