The darkness of deep space bound five astrophotographers together in the pursuit of capturing one amazing image of the iconic Ring Nebula. And like in some space version of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," they did just that.
Observing from different places around the world, André van der Hoeven, Terry Hancock, Fred Herrmann, Mike van den Berg and Mathijn Ippel teamed up — logging in more than 100 hours of exposure time — to take this great photo.
The Ring Nebula, also known as Messier 57 or NGC 6720, appears to look like a massive circle from Earth due to our perspective. The nebula is thought to actually be a barrel-shaped cloud of gas and dust. This nebula is about one light-year across and 2,000 light-years away in the northern constellation of Lyra. [50 Amazing Deep-Space Nebulas (Photos)]
Hancock chose an Astro-tech 12″ RC with QHY-9, André van der Hoeven used a Celestron C11 with SXV-H9, Herrmann equipped an Astro-tech 12″ RC with SBIG STT-8300, Mike van den Berg used a Planewave 17″ with SBIG ST-11000, and Ippel chose a Planewave 12,5″ with SBIG ST-11000 to capture the image. The photo was released to SPACE.com June 28.