Cat’s Eye in a dracon’s hand

NGC 4563

Cat’s Eye Nebula

One of the better known bright summer planetary nebulas in the constellation of Draco is NGC 6543. This blue-green planetary appears to be about one third of a minute of arc across, although its “outer corona” brings it out to about six arc minutes. The brightest part of this “outer corona” is IC 4677. None of this outer region can be seen from my urban site. The glow around the dying, hot, type O central star (or perhaps close binary pair) appears homogenous. None of the curlicue compressed gas loops were visible that can be seen in photographs. Some darkness was seen around the tenth magnitude central star. At a visual magnitude of 8.1 and at a distance of somewhere between 3300-3600 light years, this thousand year old planetary nebula looks great in telescopes much smaller than 18 inches.


Date and Time: 6-17-2007, 518-5:50 UT
Scope: 18” f/5 Dobson Ian. 12mm, 9mm eyepieces 191x, 254x
8”x12” white sketching paper, B, 2B graphite pencils, light brown colored pencil for nebula, scanned and inverted, contrast mean value adjustment using Imageenhance, star magnitude adjustments using Paint
Seeing: Pickering 7/10
Transparency: poor 2/5
Nelm: 3.9

Frank McCabe

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