Planetary Nebulae and How to Observe Them (Astronomers Observing Guides)

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Planetary nebulae are not visible to the naked eye, but they are a fascinating group of telescope objects. This guide enables a user equipped with an average-sized amateur telescope to get the best out of observing them. Topics covered include their astrophysical make-up, history of their discovery, classification and description, telescopes to use, filters, and observing techniques - in short everything anyone would need to know to successfully observe planetary nebulae.

The book describes the various forms these astronomical objects can take and explains why they are favorite targets for amateur observers. Descriptions of over nebulae personally observed by the author using telescopes of various sizes are included in the book. Readers can create their own observing program or follow the list of these captivating objects, many of which are found within our own Milky Way Galaxy. Please check with the program coordinator to insure that the transfer method will be acceptable if images are to be sent. Please avoid sending prints or slides unless you do not require them back.

A certificate will be mailed to the address provided, either to the observer or to a society officer for presentation. Upon request, a special accommodation will be made for observers whose latitude prevents their observation of the entire list. Observers must contact the Observing Program Coordinator and agree on alternate objects. Substitutions are allowed only for objects that do not rise above the observer's horizon and must be approved in advance. Every effort will be made to accommodate the observer's circumstances providing that the level of Observing Program difficulty remains consistent with the original Observing Program list.

Imagers, too, must receive the prior concurrence of the coordinator to substitute alternate objects for objects on the original list. Imagers will receive wide leeway in the selection of the 90 objects to image for the program as long as the selection is agreed to in advance.

This is to allow the flexibility to achieve the most aesthetically pleasing or interesting images. There are 26 PN in the original Observing Program list that have declinations below degrees. Therefore, 26 alternate planetary nebulae have been selected as suitable replacements with positive declinations. By using all 26 substitutions, an observer at the latitude of the Arctic Circle could presumably complete the Observing Program. To use the alternate objects, the observer should identify which objects on the original list are inaccessible from his location, and then select an equal number of alternates from the approved list.

The total number of objects observed must be at least Alternate objects are not authorized for the basic program. The observer must contact the Planetary Nebulae Observing Program Coordinator in advance to declare the selection of alternates. Once agreed upon, the coordinator will keep the selection on file until the observer completes the program. Observers using alternate objects should submit their logs or images directly to the Planetary Nebulae Observing Program Coordinator. All other guidelines for certification remain the same. Observers in the southern hemisphere may complete the Planetary Nebula Observing Program by observing the objects listed on the Southern Planetary Nebula Observing Program object list.

This will accommodate observers north of about 60 degrees south latitude.

Southern observers may earn the basic award for observing 60 PN and receive a certificate, or observe all objects on the list to receive an advanced award which includes a certificate and a pin. Southern imagers may receive the imaging certificate and pin for imaging 90 of the objects on the list. Observers or imagers who have already received an advanced or imaging award for the original program will not receive a second pin for completing the Southern Planetary Nebula Observing Program.

They will, however, receive a certificate specifying that they have completed the Southern PN Program. The guidelines for certification remain the same as for the original program and have the same reporting requirements except as noted below in the special rule.

Basic knowledge

Visual observers who have completed the original Planetary Nebulae Observing Program may complete the Southern PN Observing Program, and earn a second certificate, by observing or imaging the additional objects on the Southern Planetary List. Imaging by means of a remotely accessed telescope is allowed provided the observer personally selects the objects and directs the acquisition of the imaging.

Visual observers completing the program this way will receive a certificate for the visual Southern Planetary Nebula Observing Program and must observe or image all forty of the additional objects. A combination of visual observation and imaging, including remote imaging, of the additional southern objects is allowed. Two misclassified objects were replaced. Skip to main content.

You are here Observing Programs. Search form Search. Advanced Binocular Double Star O. Advanced Observer Award Analemma O. Arp Peculiar Galaxy Northern O. Arp Peculiar Galaxy Southern O. Aquarius Nebulae. Cassiopeia Nebulae. Cetus Nebulae. Eridanus Nebulae. Grus Nebulae. Pegasus Nebulae.

Perseus Nebulae. Auriga Nebulae. Cancer Nebulae. Canis Major Nebulae. Dorado Nebulosity. Gemini Nebulae.

Lynx Nebulosity. Monoceros Nebulae. Orion Nebulae. Puppis Nebulosity. Pyxis Nebulosity. Taurus Nebulosity. Vela Nebulosity. Carina Nebulosity.

Planetary Nebulae and How to Observe Them : Martin Griffiths :

Centaurus Nebulosity. Corvus Nebulosity. Crux Nebulosity. Hydra Nebulosity. Musca Nebulosity. Ursa Major Nebulae. Extragalactic Nebulae in M Aquila Nebulae. Ara Nebulae. Cepheus Nebulae. Corona Australis Nebulae. Cygnus Nebulae. Lyra Nebulae. Ophiuchus Nebulae.

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Scorpius Nebulae. Vulpecula Nebulae.

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We will get into much more detail about that later. Right now, I would like to introduce myself and discuss the reasons for this book and some rudimentary information about the equipment you will need to observe the Universe. This simple task started me down the path of knowledge about the nighttime light show that is always overhead. After a hitch in the US Navy as a submarine sailor, I decided to become a professional astronomer in I thought that I was going to get a chance to look through those giant telescopes; that virtually never happens with modern telescopes.

Fortunately, I found a job that paid well and had time off to go out with the telescope.

Eyes on the Sky: Find & observe Messier 1, the Crab Nebula

I am also a long-time member of the Saguaro Astronomy Club SAC , one of the most active groups of observers in the world. With those two bits of good fortune in place, I started observing the sky with a wide variety of telescopes. I have had lots of fun observing both on my own and with the members of SAC over the past 25 years or so. Getting out under clear desert skies and enjoying the view has been a source of joy for me.

In this book, I plan to share that with you. Another reason for writing this book is to give telescope owners some ideas about how to get better at observing. If you just glance at several nebulae, they start to look the same. Once you learn to really observe, then you will see that many are unique.