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Ring Nebula

M57, NGC 6720

Proper NameRing Nebula
Messier NumberM57
NGC/IC NumberNGC 6720
Right Ascension18h 53m 35s
Declination+33° 1' 45"
Distancec.2,600 light years
c.800 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +8.8
Absolute: +0.7
DimensionsApparent: 1.4' x 1.1'
Actual: 0.6 light years
Associated Star(s)RU Lupi
Optimum VisibilityJuly
NotesA prominent planetary nebula in Lyra, lying approximately halfway between the stars Sulafat and Sheliak in the sky. The nebula represents the outer shell of a star that collapsed into a white dwarf very approximately 1,600 years ago, and has expanded to form a ring-shaped structure more than half a light year across.

The Ring Nebula is one of the easiest deep sky objects to locate. It falls about halfway between the stars Sulafat and Sheliak in the compact but distinct constellation of Lyra, not far from the brilliant star Vega. Its ring shape is detectable with even a modest telescope.

The best known of the planetary nebulae, the Ring Nebula appears to lie midway between the stars Sulafat and Sheliak, in the constellation of Lyra.


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