Photo submitted by Gary Palmer
Planetary nebulae are beautiful cloud-like objects as seen through modest telescopes. This photograph was taken by local astronomer Gary Palmer through a small telescope. It shows the Helix nebula, which is a planetary nebula in the constellation of Aquarius. Its tiny central star is destined to become a white dwarf. Astronomers have learned a great deal about the universe by studying these objects. From how the chemical elements of our galaxy came into existence, to how far away galaxies are from us. The latest scientific thought is that one day our own sun will likely become a planetary nebula.
The Nevada County Astronomers will have speaker Mark Graybill to talk about planetary nebula at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. on February 6 in the Madelyn Helling Library community room in Nevada City. The public is welcome and there is no charge.