Universe Guide

Helix Nebula (NGC7293) Facts

Helix Nebula (NGC7293) Facts Planetary Nebula in Aquarius

Helix Nebula (NGC7293) is a planetary nebula object of interest in space. It lies at a distance of 714 Ly light years away in the constellation of Aquarius.

It is also referred to as NGC(7293) 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 22h 29m 38.55 (R.A.) and -20° 50' 13.6 (Dec.). Its Visual (Apparent) Brightness is 8.00 Magnitude with an apparent dimension of 25 . The object can not be seen by the naked eye from Earth, you need a telescope to see it.

Helix Nebula (NGC7293) has a radius of 3 light years or to put it another way, it has a diameter of 6 light years. It would take a space ship 6 years travelling at the speed of light to get from one side to the other.

The Helix nebula whilst looking similar to the Ring Nebula is in fact a different nebula but same type of nebula. The Helix Nebula is the closest planetary nebula to Earth. It was formed from the explosion of an exploding star. It is estimated at being 2 Light Years across, that is half the distance between here and Proxima Centauri, the second nearest star to Earth after the Sun.

Due to its shape, looking like an eye, it has been referred to as the "Eye of Sauron" and "Eye of God". In Lord of the Rings, a giant eye watched down on Middle Earth from atop a large tower. The eye was known as the Eye of Sauron hence why this nebula got the name.

Fact File

NameHelix Nebula (NGC7293)
TypePlanetary Nebula
NGC Id7293
Right Ascension22h 29m 38.55
Declination-20° 50' 13.6
Distance (Lt.Yr)714 Ly
Radius (Lt.Yr)2.87
Apparent Dimension25
Visual / Apparent Magnitude8.00
Naked Eye VisibleRequires a 7x50 Binoculars - Magnitudes
DiscovererKarl Ludwig Harding

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