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Cats Eye Nebula + NGC 6552

Click on the images to view full size!

About the image:

The Cats eye nebula is a Planetary nebula, in the northern constellation of Draco, as with most planetary nebula, the cats eye nebula is very small at just 25 arc seconds. (For comparison, the width of the moon is 1,900 arc seconds) A somewhat difficult target to image, the core of the planetary nebula is very bright in comparison to the faint halo, slowly drifting off into space. A planetary Nebula is not really a nebula, it is when a star which does not have enough solar mass to go supernova, has reached the and shed it's outer layers off into space, what remains is usually a much smaller white dwarf star - this is what will happen to our own sun billions of years from now. In the case of the cats eye nebula, the star in the center has a surface temperature of 80,000 Kelvin (about 12 times hotter than out sun). The star is classed as an O7 Wolf-Rayet star. In the image, above the Cats Eye nebula, is an very distant galaxy and there for appears very small, NGC 6552, is a barred spiral galaxy that lies at a distance of 365 Million light years from earth.

Where in the sky is it?

The Cats Eye Nebula can be found in the constellation of Draco, check the sky map below (click to expand).


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