NGC 3918

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NGC 3918
Emission nebula
Planetary nebula
Planetary nebula NGC 3918.jpg
Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 3918.
Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA.
Observation data: J2000.0 epoch
Right ascension11h 50m 17.7s[1]
Declination−57° 10′ 56.9″[1]
Distance4 900 ly
Apparent magnitude (V)8.5
Apparent dimensions (V)8 to 10
DesignationsHe2-74 / Hen 2-74 / Sa2-81 / PK 294+4.1 / PN G294.6+04.7 /
ESO 170-1[1]
See also: Lists of nebulae

NGC 3918 is a bright planetary nebula in the constellation Centaurus, nicknamed the "Blue Planetary" or "The Southerner". It is the brightest of the far southern planetary nebulae. This nebula was discovered by Sir John Herschel in March 1834 and is easily visible through small telescopes. The round or even slightly oval diameter is telescopically between 8 and 10 arcsec, though deep images extends this to about 19 or 20 arcsec. More surprising is the beautiful rich blue colour that looks much like the coloured images of Neptune taken by Voyager 2 in 1989.

Spectroscopy reveals NGC 3918 is approaching us at 17±3.0 kilometres per second, while the nebulosity is expanding at around 24 kilometres per second. The central star is 14.6 visible light magnitude, and remains invisible to optical observers, as it is obscured by the sheer brightness of the surrounding nebula.[2]

The distance is estimated at 1.5 kpc (4 900 Light-years).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "NGC 3918". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 2007-04-20.
  2. ^ Clegg, R.E.S.; Harrington, J. P.; Barlow, M. J.; Walsh, J. R. (15 March 1987). "The Planetary Nebula NGC 3918". The Astrophysical Journal. 314: 551–571. Bibcode:1987ApJ...314..551C. doi:10.1086/165085.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to NGC 3918 at Wikimedia Commons