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Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543)

Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) Planetary Nebula in Draco

Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is a planetary nebula object of interest in space. It lies at a distance of 3,262 Ly light years away in the constellation of Draco.

It is also referred to as NGC(6543) in the New General Catalogue. This is a list of deep space objects that was compiled by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1888 in an update to John Herschel earlier catalogue.

The Planetary Nebula's location is 17h 58m 33s (R.A.) and +66d 38` 0 (Dec.). .

The Cats Eye nebula has a Wolf-Rayet star at its centre which is 10,000 brighter than our own star, the Sun. It is expelling about 20 trillion tons of mass per second. The stellar winds are believed to be around 1,900 km/s. Constellation Guide

Observations indicate that the star at the centre ejects its mass in a series of pulses at 1500 year intervals. The resulting dust shells contain as much mass as all the planets in the solar system, still less than 1% the mass of the Sun. E.S.A.

The nebula was first discovered by German born British astronomer Sir William Herschel on February 15th, 1786. Sir William is more famous for the discovery of the seventh planet Uranus. The Cat's Eye Nebula Spectrum was the first planetary nebula to be investigated by William Huggins, an amateur astronomer. It demonstrated that planetary nebulas were gaseous and not stellar in nature. Wiki

It was once thought that dust shells like Cats Eye was rare however, its been proved wrong. In 2013, Martin A. Guerrero, of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia in Spain was able to prove otherwise and that shells were likely to be the rule rather than the exception. Hubble

It is not the only nebula that is associated with cats, there is also the Cats Paw Nebula in the constellation of Scorpius but they are not linked, they are too far away from one another.

Fact File


NameCat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543)
TypePlanetary Nebula
NGC Id6543
ConstellationDraco
Right Ascension17h 58m 33s
Declination+66d 38` 0
Distance (Lt.Yr)3,262 Ly
CoprightN.A.S.A


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