NGC 1535 is my all-time
favorite planetary nebula. Although a fine object for small
telescopes, it really shines in large aperture instruments.
This is a small very high surface brightness object that takes
magnification extremely well. For the best view use at much
magnification as the conditions will permit.
The field in a six-inch at 50x. North is down and east is right.
my six-inch, this planetary is obvious at 50x. It appears very
bright. My best view was at 270x, where it appeared as an
elongated disk. The central star was visible. The image
on the right closely resembles the appearance of NGC 1535 in small
My first view of NGC
1535 in a large aperture instrument came with the first light of my
18" Dob in October 1999. At 166X its appearance wasn't
that different from the view in my 6-inch. I logged the
following, "Nearly round. Very bright. Fuzzy edges."
I inserted a 2X barlow
for another look and I was stunned. Here is my log from
that night and a drawing of what I saw:
"As it came into view I was astonished, like seldom before.
"Oh my God", I said out loud to the darkness. This
was no visual observation of a planetary nebula. It was a
photograph! Very bright, with a non-stellar appearing central
"star" with sharp edges. Some dark surrounding this
then a bright, slightly oval ring -- quite distinct. All this
embedded in a slightly oval, sparkling haze."
I dubbed this planetary
"Cleopatra's Eye", in reference to the oblong inner ring
that surrounds the central star as seen in photographs or large
aperture instruments. But I have not seen this or any other
name name widely applied. This is a wonderful object, and I
think it deserves a descriptive name.
are many objects that look pretty much the same in any telescope.
The Crab nebula is one and M 31 is another. But small
planetary nebulae are different. They require high
magnification to see the faint detail that is present in
photographs, and the more light available to be spread out under
high magnification the better. So while a big Dob may not
always be worth the extra cost, size and weight, it is objects like
NGC 1535 that make them worthwhile.