M2-9 "Minkowski's Butterfly" (2013)

This image was featured as an APOD on 2013 September 15.

While stalking about the archive for my next planetary nebula victim, I was surprised to find a picture of M2-9 at such high resolution compared with the other images I’ve seen of it. The image was only available in black and white and was acquired using STIS which is usually used for spectroscopy but it obviously has another use, since this isn’t a spectrum.

Anyway, then I took some lower resolution WFPC2 data from one year earlier (the date is important because this nebula has a kind of lighthouse thing going on with the two beams of light which appear blue in my image…yes, they rotate something like a lighthouse)  and used it to generate some colors for the nebula. This resulted in SII for the red channel, STIS / MIRVIS data in the green channel, and OIII in the blue.

Note that the stars surrounding it have only one channel of data and I colored them a yellowish hue because I thought it looked better than grayscale.

Red: hst_09050_01_wfpc2_f673n_wf_sci
Green: STIS / MIRVIS data
Blue: hst_09050_01_wfpc2_f502n_wf_sci

North is NOT up.

Copyright information:
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

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.