This image was produced with a half meter RCOS telescope and a SBIG STL-11000 camera between September 10- 28, 2005.
Exposure times: 255 minutes Luminance, 210 minutes Red, 54 minutes Green and 108 minutes Blue (1X1)

The Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) in Aquarius

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Pulp Fiction

For a while, when I was a boy back in the mid-sixties, I imagined the world through the lens of a comic book collection- guided by their sci-fantasy stories and relentlessly forceful art. My favorite illustrator, Jack Kirby, conjured irresistible space vistas where the fantastic was common, virtue ultimately triumphed and heroism abounded. These visual narratives spoke of a universe far grander than my neighborhood.

All these memories returned when I stepped back from my current project, the Helix Nebula, and recognized a page torn from my comic book youth of a defiant protagonist, encircled by evil, fending off an incoming attack. Of course, the reality of this post-doomsday scene is more intriguing than a pulp fiction interpretation- it's a star in extremis weaving a shroud from it's own solar flesh.

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