4 Cool Facts About the Cat’s Eye Nebula
Cat’s Eye Nebula
This is a fascinating astronomical object found in the Draco constellation. This nebula is surprisingly gaseous and not of the typical stellar state.
This nebula is the focus of extensive research and studies by Scientists, Astronomers and even Astrophysicists. As they study the radio waves and wavelengths, every part of the Cat’s Eye Nebula has been studied thoroughly through the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula was discovered by William Herschel and has long been admired by professionals and amateurs, alike. The Cat’s Eye Nebula has a high surface brightness and a magnitude 9.8B.
Let’s take a look at the features and 4 Cool Facts about the Cat’s Eye Nebula below.
Facts About the Cat’s Eye Nebula #4: Age of the Eye
The angular expansion of the Nebula has been a helpful resource in determining the age of the Cat’s Eye Nebula.
**Warning, math ahead: If the Nebula has been expanding at a constant rate of 10 milli arc seconds, for a year, then; it will have 1000 ± 260 for it to approach the diameter of 20 arc seconds.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula might be approaching the upper age limit for nebulae, more research is needed to determine this for certain. Largely because the material that is ejected will soon begin to slow down. As this slowing process takes place, the nebula will interact with other materials (which gets ejected from stars at earlier stages in a star’s life cycle) and interstellar mediums.
Facts About the Cat’s Eye Nebula #3: The Eye’s Composition
The majority of nebulae are made up of gases like Hydrogen and Helium, but heavier elements are present in the center of the nebula in smaller quantities.
Hydrogen is the only element found in abundance and makes up the vast majority of a star’s elements (light or heavy elements).
As compared to Hydrogen, the presence of Helium gas is merely 12%. Carbon and Nitrogen are also present and their abundance is a mere fraction of Hydrogen and Helium.
Oxygen is also found during a star’s fusion process and is even less present than Carbon and Nitrogen. However, when the in depth and detailed spectroscopic analysis of NGC 6543 (Cat’s Eye Nebula) was carried out, indications suggest that certain heavy elements are enriching in the core of the Nebula.
Facts About the Cat’s Eye Nebula #2: Cat’s Eye Stat Facts
- Classification type: Type-P (Planetary Nebula)
- Constellation or Family of: Draco Constellation
- Other Names are also known as: Sunflower Nebula, NGC 6543
- Right Ascension: 17h 58m 22s
- Declination or angle: +66 degrees
- Apparent magnitude: 9.8B
- Distance from Earth is: 3,300 light years away (approx.)
Facts About the Cat’s Eye Nebula #1: Why Is It Cat like?
As mentioned earlier, it is composed of gases and is quite complex. However, Scientists and Astronomers believe the core or central part of the Nebula to be the sole causation of its eye-like structure.
The root belief is that this has to do with the rare remains of a double star system (awesome!). The gases still remain from the dying star in the constellation and project radiation and gaseous emissions which are seen through special scopes to give it its shape and coloring.
The core of the Cat’s Eye Nebula is extremely and fiery hot. Sooner or later the inner part of the nebula will contract and become a white dwarf star, which is going to be an amazing and spectacular event. These are a few of the theories circulating in the world of astronomy around the awesomeness of the Cat’s Eye Nebula.
Further studies are being carried out to learn additional information regarding its present, past and future. Only time will tell what will become of the stunning Cat’s Eye Nebula.
Thanks again and don’t forget, social sharing is caring!