M57, Ring Nebula

Ring Nebula, M57 in Lyra
The tiny greenish doughnut in the center is the famous Ring Nebula.

(If you click on the image to expand to full size, the ring will become more clear.)  Constellation Lyra.

The rightmost of the three bright stars along the bottom edge is Beta Lyrae, an eclipsing binary system with what seems to me to be a very short period — about 13 days.  The next minimum brightness is on June 21, so it’s on the dimmer side at this moment.

Beta Lyra

I think the smaller of the pair is kissing at the upper left edge.  Weather and attention span permitting, I will take another picture in a few days to see if the position has changed.  I will be absolutely amazed if my tiny telescope can actually show two stars orbiting each other over a span of a few days!


Further research says: Nope.   Wikipedia has a great article about Beta Lyrae, and the eclipsing binary cannot be resolved by optical telescopes.  However, there are separable companions of Beta Lyrae that are undoubtedly captured above.  Unfortunately, I can’t identify them…

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