Monday, 2 November 2020

Astrognome 100 Great Stars No 59 NGC 6543


NGC 6543

In 1785 four years after discovering the planet Uranus William Herschel announce a small glowing body in Aquarius that based on its disk like appearance he called a planetary nebula. The most famous example is the Ring Nebula M57 in the constellation Lyra.

Although M57 is the most famous planetary nebula in Draco there is NGC 6543 the Cat’s Eye Nebula which has been credited with many firsts. In 1864 William Huggins used his spectroscope to prove that nebulae were gaseous and not solid. It was also the first of its kind to be seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, from where it got its name the Cat’s Eye Nebula.

Planetary Nebula are the ejecta of gas giants although they only last for a few tens of thousands of years. As the star loses its mass its gases are puffed away into space and the core of the star a white dwarf. This is the ultimate end for our Sun.

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