NGC 6543, The Cat’s Eye Nebula

I observed this planetary nebula from the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC on Thursday, May 6, 2010. I was using my Orion XT10i dob with a 5mm Tele Vue Radian eyepiece for a magnification of 240x. The night was a little above average for seeing and transparency, with low winds and humidity. The temperature was a mild 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

This small planetary nebula is a bright oval with a high surface brightness. It has a light bluish color with a hint of a brighter inner structure. This inner structure within the nebula’s bright oval appeared to be a brighter elliptical shaped line. This feature was only visible about 20% to 30% of the time and came and went as the seeing varied. There was no central star visible on this night. In retrospect maybe I should have used a filter to bring out this detail. I just love Planetary Nebulas don’t you?

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