Best of AOP: SH2-71


Click on image for larger version.

SH2-71 is a complex bipolar planetary nebula. Its convoluted nature is probably due to the fact that the central star is a binary system. The overall luminosity of this nebula is over 1,000 times that of our sun. The gases near the center are being pushed away from the central star are velocities of 500km/s. The reason that astronomers are confident about the binary nature of the central star is that its companion eclipses it every 12 hours! In fact, this companion may actually be close enough to the primary star to permit gas to fall onto the white dwarf and periodically cause spectacular explosions. However, in order for these periodic explosions to occur, the gas must accrete in a disk surrounding the white dwarf and build up for a while. Since the central star here seems more quiet, many astronomers think that the white dwarf has a strong magnetic field and the stripped gases fall directly on the pole of the white dwarf! If this is correct, the system may be similiar to AM Herculis.


20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.4
Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount
SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

L R G B color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = 60 minutes binned 1x1
Red = 15 minutes binned 2x2
Green = 15 minutes binned 2x2
Blue = 15 minutes binned 2x2

  • Two iterations of L-R deconvolution (sharpening) algorithm using CCDsharp were applied to the luminance image.

  • Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF


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    Updated: 07/08/2005