This planetary is well
worth the look! It has made it onto my list of favorites. Nearby is a wide double and at the center of
nebula lies a 12th magnitude central star.
The above image was created
by combining red and blue second generation DSS images. Note the
dark region to the upper right. Smaller scopes will show the
bright "C" shaped inner region. Only in larger
instruments will the complete ring be visible. North is down and
east is to the right. The field of view of ~6'.
As usual with planetaries,
I had a look myself before finding out what other people had seen or
looking at any pictures. My first look was in 1998 with my 6-inch
Newtonian. I was very surprised at what I saw! Rather than the
small, oval disk that typifies these objects, what I saw was more of
a dash, emanating to the north from the nearby pair of bright stars.
At 50x it reminded me of a tiny comet with tail. The best view was
probably at 135x, where it looked like a hazy dash of light. At 270x
it looked like an edge-on spiral galaxy. I was so struck by this
that I went inside to verify that I was indeed looking at a
planetary nebula. I couldn't wait to have a look at this thing in a
A six-inch view at 50x. North
is down and east is right.
observed NGC 7008 with my 18-inch f/4.5. Even at 94x the full circle
of this ring-like nebula appeared, symmetrical about a bright
central star. The north end has a bright knot in it. The oval ring
stretches around to the west from there, meeting a similar, but less
prominent knot on the southwest end. The eastern part is almost
dark, which is what leads to the strange question-mark or dash-like
appearance in smaller instruments. The OIII filter improved the
contrast with the nebula in general and brightened the appearance of
the knots but it didn't help much in discerning the dimmer portions
of the ring.