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Cosmic Challenge: Campbell's Hydrogen Star

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#1 PhilH


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Posted 31 July 2018 - 07:01 PM

American astronomer William Wallace Campbell spotted this unusual star-like object through a visual spectroscope at Lick Observatory in 1893. He could tell immediately from its spectrum that, despite its stellar appearance, he was not seeing an ordinary star at all. Instead, he had spotted an uncharted planetary nebula.

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#2 The Ardent

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 10:59 PM

Nice topic!

I was unsuccessful the first few times I tried to find it. Too many stars. Over the years I made it my mission to locate Campbell’s as well as nearby Minkowski 1-92.

I agree with your sketch. I can find it with a 4” at low power. At high power in my 18” it’s a thin orange concentric ring close to the central star. Definitely a tiny disk compared to other field stars.

Campbell’s is incredibly bright in Hydrogen-Alpha. To me it has the highest surface brightness of any H-a emitting object.
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#3 Astrojensen


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Posted 03 August 2018 - 09:53 AM

I very recently observed both Campbell's Hydrogen Star and Minkowski 1-92 with my 63mm Zeiss Telemator. I've observed them both before, both in the Telemator and much larger instruments. 




Of these two, Minkowski 1-92 is by far the easier to see in a small scope, but in a larger one (with excellent optics) CHS is more impressive. In a C8 at 800x, it's a lovely, pale orange disk. A very unusual color for a planetary nebula.



Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

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#4 Sasa



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Posted 04 August 2018 - 01:14 AM

I observed the nebula 3 years ago in 82mm refractor. At around 300x, it started being non-stellar. At 630x, I was able to observe the hints of the ring and some brightenings.
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#5 EJN



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Posted 04 August 2018 - 12:07 PM

I have seen this PN with my 8" dob and 4" refractor. Needs high power and good seeing.


An alternate name is BD+30 3639, this is what it was referred to as in Walter Scott Houston's

S&T column Deep Sky Wonders when he wrote about it.


This designation was from the Bonner Durchmusterung, the first modern star catalog, compiled

in the second half of the 19th century.

Edited by EJN, 04 August 2018 - 03:20 PM.

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#6 Achernar


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Posted 11 August 2018 - 10:50 AM

The bright red color is amazingly apparent, it makes this planetary nebula stick out like a sore thumb.



#7 bmurphy495


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Posted 12 August 2018 - 01:39 PM

I was at Stellafane this year and got skunked on this one. I'll have to give it a try when the weather clears. I really enjoyed the Bino list.


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