I love planetary nebula (PNe) – but not because they show a plethora of detail in telescopes (um, they don’t), but because they constitute the brightest nebulae for small telescopes and binoculars. So two years ago, after having viewed all of the PNe that I knew of that were brighter than magnitude +11.0, I undertook a survey to find those that were visible with only a 2-inch (50mm) telescope. I thought that with such limited aperture I would be able to make a quick project of it and maybe even find a few that I had missed that were binocular visible.
What I discovered was really surprising – I was able to see a full 75 that weren’t visible in my binoculars!! So here is a link to my recently “finished” project 100+ Planetary Nebulae Visible with Small Telescopes and Binoculars. I’ve put the word finished in quotation because I plan to double check the visibility of a few PNe come September and expect to need to make an accompanying Excel spreadsheet for people in the coming month. So I’m currently holding the pdf in my Google Drive, but after I finalize it in autumn, I’ll try and find a permanent home for it on the Internet.
So I hope it inspires some of you to go after many of the brightest PNe – irregardless that many are nearly stellar – because they’re not hardly making any new ones!!!
EDIT: Here is a link to the Excel spreadsheet I promised!