Observing at Skyhound



Home   Deep Sky   Shallow Sky   Comet Chasing   Observing Handbook   Meet the Skyhound   Contact

NGC 6781
Planetary Nebula
aka  PNG 041.8-02.9, PK 041-02.1, ARO 32
Integrated Visual Magnitude: 11.8
Apparent Diameter: 1.8'
Mean Surface Brightness: 21.7 mag/arc-sec2
Distance: 2500 ly
Actual Diameter: 1-2 ly

Minimum requirements to view: a 3-inch scope under dark skies

NGC 6781 is a beautiful planetary with much exquisite detail for 8-inch or larger scopes.  Compared to the Ring Nebula it is relatively large and faint, yet not so faint that it isn't visible in small telescopes.   It appears as an oval with a slightly darker center.  At 16.8 magnitude, the central star (a white dwarf) is probably out of reach of most instruments.

In my 6-inch Newtonian it was relatively obvious at 50x.  Best at 135x.  It was irregular in appearance; blotchy, and irregularly shaped.  No central star was seen. 

In my 18-inch f/4.5 it was obvious as a large hazy spot at 97x, making it quite different from the typical tiny planetaries it seems I've been spending so much of my time observing these days.  It appeared slightly oval with perhaps a small darkening to the center.  At 165x I glimpsed hints of dark spots.  Quite cool!

A six-inch view at 50x. North is down and east is right.
Millennium Star Atlas Vol III Chart 1269
Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 16
Uranometria 2000 Vol I Chart 206