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Cosmic Challenge: NGC 6445, The Box Nebula

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#1 PhilH

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 05:30 AM

The sky is full of weird sights. And among planetary nebulae, NGC 6445 is one of the strangest. Discovered by William Herschel on May 28, 1786, NGC 6445 shines at 11th magnitude. That's bright enough to be seen even through giant binoculars. Although visible in smaller apertures, it takes a 6-inch telescope for NGC 6445's true, if bizarre, nature to shine through. The nebula's brighter central shell looks like a dented rectangle. Nature rarely creates an amorphous form with sharp edges, and indeed, the peculiar appearance of NGC 6445 is due largely to our perspective as well as its age. But the look is very odd nonetheless. No wonder NGC 6445 has been nicknamed the Box Nebula.

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#2 John O'Hara

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 04:41 PM

I observed this object around midnight spanning 7/30 and 7/31/11 using my 7" Starmaster reflector.  I used both 74x and 219x for the observation made from my club's old Bortle 4 site on a night of 7/10 seeing and 8/10 transparency.  It appeared much as in Phil's drawing, with the planetary elongated NW-SE and boxed shaped.  I also saw the faint star off the NW edge and remember the distinct pair of stars about midway between NGC 6445 and 6440.  I didn't note whether or not I saw detail within the nebula, so now I wish I'd looked closer.  I plan to be at Cherry Springs State Park in north-central Pennsylvania, and hope to try it under darker skies.


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#3 John O'Hara

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 04:42 PM

BTW, I made the observation using Phil's book as my guide.  Credit must be given where's it's due!



#4 PhilH

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Posted Yesterday, 04:28 AM

BTW, I made the observation using Phil's book as my guide.  Credit must be given where's it's due!

Excellent, John.  And you're welcome.  waytogo.gif


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