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The Planetary Nebula NGC 2022
Planetary Nebula
aka PN G196.6-10.9, PK 196-10.1
RA: 05h42m06.2s, Dec: +09°05'10" (2000) in Orion
Magnitude: 12.4
Apparent Diameter: 19"
Magnitude of central star: 14.9
Distance: 8100 ly
Mean Surface Br. 18.5 Mag/arc-secē

Minimum requirements to detect: any telescope under dark skies


NGC 2022 is the brightest planetary nebula in Orion.  It is a tiny 12th magnitude disk that lies  near Orion's western shoulder (made up of the stars Lambda, Phi1 and Phi2 Ori).  Star hopping to this one is easy.  Start by extending a line out from Phi1 through Phi2 to about 1.25 times their separation.   Just to the NE of this line will be another pair of fainter stars aligned parallel to them.   Extend a line through these two stars in the same direction as before, about the same distance as their separation.  The brightest "star" at this location will be NGC 2022.  High magnification should show the tell-tale disk.

 
Orion's shoulder and NGC 2022. The orientation matches the naked eye.

In my six-inch this object looks starlike at first glance at 50x.  At higher magnification it shows an elongated disk not unlike NGC 1535.  The central star is too faint to be visible.

My 18-inch shows it quite well.  I noted in my log that it appeared "slightly out of round; Ill defined.  Hint of a dark center." The 15th magnitude central star is plainly visible.   Perhaps because it is so easy to find, this planetary is one of my long-time favorites.


The view in a six-inch 150x. North is down and east is right.


This is an HST image of NGC 2022
 

Millennium Star Atlas Vol I Chart 205
Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 11
Uranometria 2000 Vol I Chart 181
Uranometria 2nd Ed. Chart 96
Herald-Bobroff Astroatlas B-05 C-40