University Lowbrow Astronomers

Elusive Chain Nebula Captured on Film.

by Harry Juday
Printed in Reflections: October, 2001.

The accompanying photograph is of the fabled but elusive “Chain Nebula”.  Most Astronomers, both Amateur and Professional have not had the pleasure of viewing this elusive object.  It is only visible on clear dark nights with extremely unusual seeing conditions as the accompanying star trails suggest.  Although there have been persistent rumors of the existence of this rare stellar formation it has been viewed so seldom that it is even listed as NSTS 087 in little known British Astronomer Sir Dufort Whackenbee’s equally little known “No Such Things in the Sky” catalog of everything that ain’t up there.

The Elusive Chain Nebula

Seriously.  This is of course M57, the Ring Nebula in Lyra.  I took this photo on July 5, 1997 at our then home in Franfort Ky. using Kodak PJM Pro Ektapress film at 1000 asa.  This is a 30 min. unguided exposure with 17mm lens projection using my Celestar 8” SCT and a Nikon F3 camera body.  The outcome is the result of the spur gear drive/motor unit jumping approx. every 5 min (jumping/hooking/etc.).

Actually, I have taken some passably decent photos of the Moon, Jupiter & Venus with this setup, as long as the exposures are under 5 min. and I catch the jump cycle correctly.


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