Ring Nebula with the 24″ Telescope

Last night the Introductory Astronomy (ASTR155) class took over the CCD imager on the 24″ telescope.  We checked out a colorful binary star system, Albireo, through different filters and saw the stars change their relative brightnesses as we switched from blue light to red light (one star is redder and the other is bluer, because they are different temperatures).  We also tried some 3-color observing with famous Messier objects, and were able to reconstruct a full-color image of the Ring Nebula.  Here are two pictures from last night’s observing session: the first uses B, V, and R filters to approximate a true-color RGB image of the nebula, and the second uses a narrow-band Halpha filter to bring out the red color and structure of Hydrogen in the outer layers of the nebula (which works great, but with the unfortunate side effect that the background stars look blue!)M57M57Ha