Researchers confirm the discovery of a new planetary nebula

July 25, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Macquarie University PhD student Dimitri Douchin, and his adviser Orsola De Marco have played a pivotal role in the latest discovery of a new planetary nebula.

While observing at the Kitt Peak National Observatory's 2.1 m telescope, the pair was asked to provide confirmation that the object known as Kn 61 was indeed a planetary nebula, as suspected. As a consequence of this discovery the object has now been placed on the observation list for monitoring by NASA's planet hunting telescope Kepler over the upcoming year.

Originally found by Matthias Kronberger, a member of an amateur astronomy group known as the Deep Sky Hunters (DSH), the role that Douchin and De Marco played was integral to ensuring the accuracy of the discovery.

There are roughly 3,000 planetary nebulae known in the and surveys continue to find more. DSH has recently found roughly 100 new very faint planetary nebulae, however the group lacks the telescope equipment to provide confirmation for any discovery made. The amateur group was asked to assist with finding additional planetary nebulae in the patch of sky that is currently being intensely monitored by NASA's Kepler . Originally, only 3 planetary nebulae were known within this patch however with the help of DSH this number has  doubled.

The team behind this discovery is hopeful that with a larger sample this information along with Kepler's extraordinary precision could offer answers to some long-contested questions, such as how planetary nebulae produce their fantastic shapes.

"With a sufficient sample of planetary nebulae, Kepler could help us understand these objects and may even put to rest the 30-year old debate about the origin of these nebulae,” said Associate Professor De Marco.

Professor Travis Rector from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, has captured a beautiful image of the newly confirmed using the 8.1-m Gemini Telescope. Appearing as a lovely blue bubble, the picture also includes a bright star and spiral galaxy.

Explore further: The Colorful Demise of a Sun-Like Star

Related Stories

The Colorful Demise of a Sun-Like Star

February 13, 2007

This image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows the colorful "last hurrah" of a star like our Sun. The star is ending its life by casting off its outer layers of gas, which formed a cocoon around the star's remaining ...

Hubble Captures Stars Going Out in Style

September 11, 2007

The colorful, intricate shapes in these NASA Hubble Space Telescope images reveal how the glowing gas ejected by dying Sun-like stars evolves dramatically over time.

Super Planetary Nebulae

August 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A team of scientists in Australia and the United States, led by Associate Professor Miroslav Filipović from the University of Western Sydney, have discovered a new class of object which they call “Super ...

Newly discovered star one of hottest in Galaxy (w/ Video)

December 2, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Astronomers at The University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics have discovered one of the hottest stars in the Galaxy with a surface temperature of around 200,000 degrees - 35 times hotter ...

Image: A chameleon sky

September 3, 2010

The sands of time are running out for the central star of this the Hourglass Nebula.

Recommended for you

Astronomers detect the farthest galaxy yet with Keck telescope

September 4, 2015

A team of Caltech researchers that has spent years searching for the earliest objects in the universe now reports the detection of what may be the most distant galaxy ever found. In an article published August 28, 2015 in Astrophysical ...

Prawn Nebula: Cosmic recycling

September 2, 2015

Dominating this image is part of the nebula Gum 56, illuminated by the hot bright young stars that were born within it. For millions of years stars have been created out of the gas in this nebula, material which is later ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

yyz
not rated yet Jul 25, 2011
It's seems strange but amateur astronomers are *discovering* and researching new planetary nebulae after a 150 yrs of study by professional astronomers. The large angular diameter diaphanous bubbles are rather rare and new examples are extremely rare.

The Gemini news release( http://www.gemini...de/11656 ) notes amateur imagers can be very flexible in their targeting while large pro observatories are ill-suited, partially due to oversubscption of telescope time, to carry out survey programs to look for new PNe.

In 2008 several amateur imagers discovered a new, large PN near the well known Bubble Nebula in Cygnus: http://www.lostva...nebula1/

Recently designated PN G075.5 1.7, it has a beautiful delicate "bubble" shape like Kn 61: http://www.lostva...=tlx_new

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.