Stare of the Feline

On very good nights, the Cat’s eye nebula, NGC 6543, can show some detail even with small telescopes. Here is my sketch and observing report from August 2009 in a night of very good seeing. The first thing that I notice at low power is the pale green color of the nebula and its oval shape. The seeing is good, so I can push up the power: using 222x at first the nebula appears mottled, but in the best moments some detail can be seen. It has a round inner zone with two little extensions at north and south. The central round zone has a slightly brighter rim, making it annular in appearance. The central star, at magnitude 11.1, is easily seen. In the sketch the details are slightly exaggerated, but I think it is a good match to the eyepiece view. A beautiful planetary to squeeze the telescope!

Sketch: 2HB graphite pencil on white paper, scanned and processed with Photoshop Elements 2.0
Object Name: NGC 6543, The Cat’s Eye Nebula
Object Type: Planetary Nebula
Location: Asturias, Spain
Date: August 22, 2009
Instrument: 120mm f/8.3 refractor + Barlow 2x + BO/TMB Planetary 9mm eyepiece (222x)

Diego Gonzalez

2 thoughts on “Stare of the Feline”

  1. Diego,

    Very nice capture of this bright planetary nebula. I see you captured the central star as well – looks great.

    Frank 🙂

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