Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) -- Planetary Nebula in Aquarius
The Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) rides low in the sky in the constellation Aquarius from Maryland.
One needs a clear night and a location away from the suburbs. This large Planetary Nebula is
greatly helped by using a narrowband nebula filter. This drawing was completed using no-filter
for the surrounding star field and a Type 2 Nebustar filter by TeleVue for teasing out details of
the Helix proper. This nebula is large, so a wide-field eyepiece is a must so that its dim
nebulosity is well demarcated in the surrounding sky.
Visually, the Helix is hollow in the center, making it appear somewhat ring-like with some
parts of the ring brighter than other parts. The Helix is the largest of the easy-to-see Planetary
Nebula for amateur astronomers. If it were placed a bit higher in the sky from Maryland, I am
sure more amateurs would appreciate its ghostly view.