Ghost of a Blue Saturn

Ghost of a Blue Saturn

NGC 7009, The Saturn Nebula in Aquarius
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

Saturn Nebula NGC 7009

This planetary nebula was one of the first “nebulae” seen and recorded by William Herschel during the summer of 1782. Since my skies are loaded with sky glow, it is not possible to see the ansae (handles) at the ends of the long axis of this beautiful bluish planetary nebula. With the ansae visible this planetary nebula very much resembles a blue version of the planet Saturn with its rings edge on. At high magnification the white dwarf central star is easily detectable with 18” of aperture although the view is much better under dark transparent skies.


NGC 7009 Saturn Nebula (planetary)
Date and Time: 8-25-2009, 4:15 4:50 UT
Scope: 18” f/5 Dobsonian. 24 mm eyepiece 95x
8”x12” white sketching paper, 2H, HB, graphite pencils, light brown color pencil,
blending stump, scanned and inverted
Seeing: 7/10
Transparency: Average 3/5
Faintest stars visible overhead 4.3
Temperature: 20°C (68°F)
Nebula magnitude: 8.0, Central star 11.5
Distance: 2000-4000 ly
Location Constellation: Aquarius
Position: R.A. 21 hrs 4 min
Dec. -11° 22′

Frank McCabe

3 thoughts on “Ghost of a Blue Saturn”

  1. That is a cracker Frank, 18″ makes for exciting observing and strong colour in planetary nebulae. You have captured the scene splendidly.

    Dale 🙂

  2. Dale,

    Thank you for your kind words and comments. We all look forward to your next sketch on “Sketch of the Day”.

    Frank 🙂

Leave a Reply