NGC 1514 - The Crystal Ball Nebula

Astrobin Image of the Day 04.03.2024

NGC 1514 is a captivating planetary nebula situated in the constellation Taurus, approximately 800 light-years away from Earth. This celestial beauty is the result of a dying star, shedding its outer layers in the final stages of its evolution.

At the heart of NGC 1514 resides a central star, HD 31964, which is in the process of transitioning from a red giant to a white dwarf. As the star exhausts its nuclear fuel, it expels its outer layers into space, forming a luminous shell of ionized gas. The central star, now exposed, emits intense ultraviolet radiation, causing the surrounding gas to fluoresce and create the stunning visual display characteristic of planetary nebulae.

Planetary nebulae play a crucial role in the grand cosmic cycle of stellar evolution. As Sun-like stars reach the end of their lives, they undergo a series of transformative stages. Initially expanding into red giants, these stars subsequently shed their outer envelopes, unveiling the hot, dense core—now a white dwarf. The expelled material forms intricate nebulous structures like NGC 1514, enriching the interstellar medium with heavy elements crucial for the formation of new stars, planets, and, potentially, life.

Studying planetary nebulae provides astronomers with valuable insights into the chemical composition of the universe, the mechanisms driving stellar death, and the intricate dance of matter in the cosmos. NGC 1514, with its intricate morphology and radiant hues, serves as a testament to the intricate interplay between stars and the cosmos, offering a glimpse into the fascinating narrative of stellar evolution.

Photographed from Bamberg, Germany under Bortle 5 conditions.

  • Category

    Planetary Nebula

  • Coordinates

    RA 04h 09m 16.9s
    DEC +30° 46′ 33"

  • Distance

    1520 Ly

  • Apparent Mag

    9.3 mag (V)

  • Equipment

    ONTC 800/200 Astrograph
    Dobson 305/1500mm Skyliner FlexTube
    iOptron CEM70G
    QHY 294m pro

  • Exposure

    L: 135 x 180 s
    L(short): 16.000 x 1 s
    R: 50 x 180 s
    G: 50 x 180 s
    B: 50 x 180 s
    Total Integration: 18.7 h

  • Publication Date


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