NGC 3242 (PK 261+32.1) aka "Ghost of Jupiter" Planetary Nebula in Hydra

Located at: RA 10 hours 24 minutes 46 seconds, Dec -18 degrees 38 minutes 34 seconds

Size: 75"* Magnitude: 8.6 photographic Class: 4+3b

North is up

West to the right


 14.5" f5 Newtonian reflector


 ST-8XME, self-guided, binned 1x1, temp -25c, camera control MaxIm DL 4.56


Lumicon Red filter, 8.33 minutes (100 x 0.083 minute {5 seconds} subs), 04/26/2014; seeing 2.5-4.2 FWHM per CCDStack


CCDStack 2.77.5159.19820, Photoshop CS5.1


 Rolling Roof Observatory, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 (+34d 13m 29s -118h 52m 20s)

Notes: I shot this high surface-brightness planetary nebula before it was lost for this season. As with many small planetaries, this CDS SERC/J/DSS1 image shows the very faint outer 'shell' that gives this objects its 75 arc second size ... the 'visible' size is closer to the size given by the NGC / IC Project (40" x 35")*.

Same as several other high surface-brightness planetaries (i.e., IC 2165), I used the best (seeing) 100 out of 200 subs.

View 200% crop.

From the NGC / IC Project:

Contemporary Visual Observation(s) for NGC 3242
NGC 3242 = PK 261+32.1 = E568-PN5 = Eye Nebula = Ghost of Jupiter =  
PN G261.0+32.0
10 24 46.1 -18 38 32
V = 7.3;  Size 40"x35"

18" (4/9/05): at 435x, the double shell structure was prominent and  
exhibited filametary structure outside the inner ring.

17.5" (3/25/00): this beautiful PN has a very high surface brightness  
and a bluish color at 100x.  The view at 280x-380x is stunning with a  
well-defined double shell structure.  The bright, narrow inner ring  
is surrounded by a second fainter oval envelope.  Inside the bright  
lens is a dark, 10", donut-hole with a faint central star marking the  
center.  In moments of steady seeing, the inner ring has a hard-edge  
and the central star is easier.

17.5": very bright, fairly small, bluish color, central star is  visible.  
Prominent double lens structure with a bright inner lens  
surrounded by a second fainter elliptical shell.  Stunning at high  
power with a striking "eye" appearance with a darker center.

13": very bright, bright inner lens surrounded by a second fainter  
elliptical shell.  At 350x there is a darker center to the inner lens  
and the central star is visible almost continuously.

- by Steve Gottlieb