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Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543), Brian Ferwerda

Cat's Eye Nebula

NGC 6543, otherwise known as the Cat's Eye Nebula, is a planetary nebula located in Draco. This nebula is a planetary nebula, which means that it is the remnants of a star that has shed off its outer layers. It was discovered by William Herschel on February 15, 1786. It was one of the first nebulae to have its emission spectrum analyzed. This object is about 3,600 light years away and is about 0.57 lightyears across, at its widest point.

Four filters were combined to make this color image: blue, green, red, and clear. The green appearance suggests that there is oxygen present in the gas clouds. The orb is slightly irregular, due to jets of gas shooting out on each side. The nebula exhibits very complex patterns of gas emission some of which is visible in this image. The nebula that is visible appears to be the result of two separate gas emission events. The gas shells are concentric on what is speculated to be a binary star system, due to the complex nature of the gas shells. A binary star system consists of two separate stars orbiting each other. The nebula has an apparent magnitude of 8.1.

References:
Chaisson, Eric, and Steve McMillan. Astronomy Today. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice hall, 1997..

Frommert, Hartmut and Kronberg, Christine. "NGC 6543." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. <http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/ngc/n6543.html>

Right Ascension (J2000) 17:58:36
Declination (J2000) +66:38:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in C, 4x75 seconds in BVR
Date observed

November 1, 2007