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NGC 3242
Imaged by Martin S. Ferlito
copyright
Gstar-EX Integrating Video Camera
8"
Schmidt-Cassegrain on Vixen GP Mount, Stepper Driven.

William Herschel discovered this planetary nebula on February 7, 1785, and cataloged it as H IV.27. John Herschel observed it from the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, in the 1830s, and numbered it as h 3248, and included it in the 1864 General Catalogue as GC 2102; this became NGC 3242 in J.L.E. Dreyer's New General Catalogue of 1888.
This planetary nebula consists of a small dense nebula of about 16" x 26" in diameter, surrounded by a fainter envelop measuring about 40 x 35 arc seconds. This central nebula is embedded in a much larger faint halo, measuring 1250" or about 20.8 arc minutes in diameter. The bright inner nebula is described as looking like an eye by Burnham, and the outer shell gave rise to its popular name, as it is of about the apparent size of Jupiter.
The nebula has a visual brightness of 7.7 magnitude, while it is only 8.6 magnitude photographically. The central star, cataloged as HD 90255 and is of visual magnitude 12.1. Its distance is not well known, but estimated at some 2,500 light years; another estimate is about 1,400 light years.
This planetary nebula is most frequently called the Ghost of Jupiter, or Jupiter's Ghost, but it is also sometimes referred to as the Eye Nebula, or the CBS Eye.



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