NGC 3242

NGC 3242

NGC 3242
A Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of core region of NGC 3242.
Observation data
(Epoch J2000)
Right ascension 10h 24m 46.1s[1]
Declination −18° 38′ 32.6″[1]
Distance 1400 ly[2]
Apparent magnitude (V) 8.60
Apparent dimensions (V) 25″
Constellation Hydra
Physical characteristics
Other designations Ghost of Jupiter, Jupiter's Ghost, Eye Nebula, Caldwell 59

NGC 3242, commonly known as the Ghost of Jupiter, is a planetary nebula located in the constellation Hydra.

William Herschel discovered the nebula on February 7, 1785, and cataloged it as H IV.27. John Herschel observed it from the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, in the 1830s, and numbered it as h 3248, and included it in the 1864 General Catalogue as GC 2102; this became NGC 3242 in J. L. E. Dreyer's New General Catalogue of 1888.

This planetary nebula is most frequently called the Ghost of Jupiter, or Jupiter's Ghost due to its similar size to the planet, but it is also sometimes referred to as the Eye Nebula.[3] Some astronomers have compared the nebula's appearance to the CBS logo. The nebula measures around two light years long from end to end, and contains a central white dwarf with an apparent magnitude of eleven. The inner layers of the nebula were formed some 1,500 years ago.[4] The two ends of the nebula are marked by FLIERs, lobes of fasting moving gas often tinted red in false-color pictures.[5] NGC 3242 can easily be observed with amateur telescopes, and appears bluish-green to most observers. Larger telescopes can distinguish the outer halo as well.[6]


  • Gallery 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


See also


  1. ^ a b "SIMBAD Astronomical Database". Results for NGC 3242. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  2. ^ "NGC 3242: The 'Ghost of Jupiter' Planetary Nebula". NASA Astro Pic of the Day. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  3. ^ Frommert, Hartmut. "NGC 3242". SEDS. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Mobberley, Martin (2009). The Caldwell Objects and How to Observe Them. New York: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. p. 128. 
  5. ^ "NGC 3242, Ghost of Jupiter". ESA. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Ghost of Jupiter". Retrieved 2010-02-25. 

External links

  • The Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre – Hubble picture and information on NGC 3242
  • NGC 3242 on WikiSky: DSS2, SDSS, GALEX, IRAS, Hydrogen α, X-Ray, Astrophoto, Sky Map, Articles and images
  • NGC3242 on
  • FLIERs in NGC 3242