The M57 planetary nebula is about 2,300 light years away in Lyra (it is difficult to determine the distance). The central star is about magnitude 15, and is a white dwarf which shed layers of gasses in one of the last phases of its life to create the nebula we see. The ring nebula was discovered in 1779, the central star was first seen in 1800. The nebula was created 6,000 to 8,000 years ago, and the size has been increasing slowly ever since as the gasses expand out into space.
Camera: SBIG ST-10XME
Filters: Astrodon LRGB
Dates: June 29,30 July 1, 2006
Exposure: LRGB: L=(1x1) 14x6min, RGB=8x5min