Protoplanetary nebulas are ceaselessly interesting to me. For this one, I was very determined to use one observation by Hubble’s ACS/HRC. When I see the resolution of images taken by that instrument it becomes irresistible to me. While there is plenty of other data to make some really cool color images with, the problem is that most of it is several years apart. And the jets of material from central star, which is obscured by thick dust, are blowing out at incredible speeds. Even after four years, the ends of the jets, which are moving the fastest, traversed about seven pixels at this scale (view original size).
I ended up using some infrared data with the ACS/HRC data (which used the 606W filter) to create this view. NICMOS provided an observation in 2002 which is the same year, but the central area was very obscured by various blooming and artifacts I’m not terribly familiar with beyond the fact that I know they are artifacts. To make up for this, I used some WFC3/IR F110W data for just the center to eliminate the NICMOS artifacts. The date for this was 8 years later but because I know the center is moving much slower, it was ok to do this without things looking terribly mismatched. The small, dim red triangle slightly above the dark core was actually present in the same spot for both IR observations. I suspect it may be the tip of a dust cloud.
Red: HST_9430_02_NIC_NIC2_total_sci + (core only) hst_11580_06_wfc3_ir_f110w 02-05 median stack
All color channels, at various curve adjustments: HST_9430_01_ACS_HRC_F606W_sci
North is up.
Hubble data is public domain, but I put a lot of work into combining it into beautiful color images. The minimal credit line should read: NASA / ESA / J. Schmidt
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.