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Masquerading as a Double Star
Jonckheere 900, PN G194.2+02.5
RA 06hr 25m 57.237s Dec +17° 47' 27.53"
ESA/Hubble & NASA, Ack: Josh Barrington
March 25, 2013
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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:
The object in this image is Jonckheere 900 or J 900, a planetary nebula glowing shells of ionized gas pushed out by a dying star. Discovered in the early 1900s by astronomer Robert Jonckheere, the dusty nebula is small but fairly bright, with a relatively evenly spread central region surrounded by soft wispy edges.
Despite the clarity of this Hubble image, the two objects in the picture above can be confusing for observers. J 900s nearby companion, a faint star in the constellation of Gemini, often causes problems for observers because it is so close to the nebula when seeing conditions are bad, this star seems to merge into J 900, giving it an elongated appearance. Hubbles position above the Earths atmosphere means that this is not an issue for the space telescope.
Astronomers have also mistakenly reported observations of a double star in place of these two objects, as the planetary nebula is quite small and compact.
900s central star is only just visible in this image, and is very
faint fainter than the nebulas neighbor. The nebula appears
to display a bipolar structure, where there are two distinct lobes of
material emanating from its center, enclosed by a bright oval disc.