Latest Research on PN G75.5+1.7
Preliminary Report – July 2010

 

 

Dr. Richard Rudy of the Aerospace Corporation in Torrance, CA and his team of NASA and UC San Diego colleagues devoted a portion of their observing run in late June 2010 on the 3-meter Shane telescope at Lick Observatory in an effort to characterize PN G75.5+1.7 by means of spectral analysis.  Knowing Dr. Rudy from previous work he had done at the Mount Wilson Observatory, he graciously invited me to join his team for the effort on Mount Hamilton.  In addition to Dr. Rudy and his staff I’d like to also extend a special thanks to Principal Investigator Dr.Rick Puetter (UCSD)
for his assistance in making this all happen. Finally, a big thanks to the wonderful staff of the Lick Observatory for their generous hospitality during my visit. 


Following is the latest release on their investigation.

"Spectral examination of the Soap Bubble Nebula (PN G75.5+1.7) was conducted by Dr. Richard Rudy of Aerospace Corporation and his collaborators from UC San Diego and NASA during a June 23-25, 2010 observing run using the 3-m Shane Telescope at Lick Observatory.  The spectrograph used for the observation, the VNIRIS (Visible and near-IR imaging spectrograph), was a long slit, moderate resolution spectrograph comprised of a visible and 2 infrared channels.  It was configured to cover the wavelength regime from just short of H-beta to 2.5 microns.  The spectrograph slit was rotated to an optimal angle in order to collect data on the brightest portion of the nebula’s rim along its SW margin and eliminate stars from the field of view.  Thin to moderate cirrus over the course of the observing run resulted in a low S/N ratio and prevented detailed characterization of PN G 75.5+1.7, however the telltale emission lines commonly found in planetary nebulae, namely the OIII (4959 and 5007 Angstroms) and H-alpha line (6563 Angstroms), were clearly noted in the spectrum, thus confirming the true nature of this object as a planetary nebula.   To more fully characterize this object will require an additional observing run under better atmospherics, hopefully planned for the fall of 2010."

 

 

 


The 3 meter Shane telescope is housed in the large dome shown in the above photo.  To the right of the Shane dome is the Automated Planet Finder (APF) Telescope,
which houses a robotically controlled 2.4-meter automated telescope and a high-resolution spectrograph used to search for rocky planets with very low masses by means of radial velocity changes.

 

 

 

 

The Shane telescope, named for C. Donald Shane (b: 1895, d: 1983), Director of the Lick Observatory from 1945-58, has a 120 inch (3-meter), 4.5 ton primary mirror originally
cast as a glass test blank in the Corning Labs for the Palomar Observatory 200-inch reflector.   The telescope can be used in three focus configurations; Prime, Cassegrain and Coude.

 

 

 


This photo shows the instrument packages mounted at the Cassegrain f/17 focus of the Shane telescope.  The VNIRIS spectrograph used to collect data on PN G75.5+1.7 is mounted just
above the bottom aluminum ring shown in this photo.  Also mounted at the Cass focus are both a natural and laser guide star AO system, a dual channel optical spectrometer (KAST)
optimized for the blue and red ends of the visual spectrum, and an infrared imaging system (Gemini) operating in the 1-5 micron wavelength range.

 

 

In the 3-meter dome control room collecting data on PN G75.5+1.7.  Pictured seated from left to right are Edward Laag and Trishana Prater of UC San Diego and Brad Perry of NASA Langley.
Standing with the blue jacket on is Donnie Redel, the telescope operator and Dr. Richard Rudy, the principal investigator from Aerospace Corporation in Torrance, CA.
Spectra of PNG 75.5+1.7 (Courtesy of Dr. Richard Rudy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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