Deep-Sky List: Supernova Remnants

The sky is filled with many wonders.  While the universe is encapsulated with incredible examples of beauty through creation it is also filled with examples of beauty through death.  Planetary nebula or supernova remnants are the expanding aftermath or shock wave of a star that has recently exploded at the end of its life cycle.   However, in death there is also a new beginning as is seen by our own sun which is a third generation star made up of material from supernova remnants of the ancient celestial past.  These ghostly objects are best viewed with a nebula filter and in a dark site location.  Here is my starting list of  these beautiful former stars that I hope to view over the next few months and years.

  • Large and Bright

Ring Nebula (M57)-9th magnitude smoke ring surrounding a very faint star
Dumbell Nebula (M27)-Capable of being seen been binoculars

  • Small Planetaries:(Make up the majority of supernova remnants, often hard to distinguish from stars at low power)

Blue Snowball (NGC7662)-Northern Andromeda
Eskimo Nebula (NGC2392)-Gemini
Blinking Planetary (NGC6826)-Cygnus
Saturn Nebula (NGC7009)

  • Large and Faint:(More than 60 arc seconds)

Helix Nebula (NGC7293)-Spans half the diameter of the Moon
NGC6781 & NGC246-Best viewed under dark sky conditions
Medusa Nebula-Huge planetary over 11 arc minutes across, difficult to view

  • Exploding Supernova Remnants

Crab Nebula (M1)-Recent explosion seen around 1054 A.D. in China during daylight
Veil Nebula (NGC6960)
IC443-Crescent shaped arc, extremely faint

Source:The Backyard Astronomers Guide

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