|Abell 31: Planetary Nebula (Cancer) RA: 08h 54.2m / DEC: +08° 54'.0|
Instrument: 18-inch Obsession
I'm not sure who coined the phrase, but it's been said of the Abell planetaries that they are, "an exquisite form of retinal torture." When it comes to Abell 31, truer words have never been spoken. It's large, about 16'.2 across, and faint, having a photographic magnitude of 12.2. Those numbers give this planetary a surface brightness of 26.9 magnitudes (P) per square arcsecond. Some observers walk away from a bout with Abell 31 claiming nothing more than a sighting of the 15.5 magnitude central star. I didn't get the central star--I don't think I did, anyway--but was able to get the nebula.
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Revised: March 13, 2005 [WDF]