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First planetary nebula associated with an open cluster discovered

A team of astronomers from Australia, the UK, the USA and France have discovered the first planetary nebula known to be associated with a galactic open cluster.

The nebula, designated PHR 1315-6555, is associated with the dim cluster Andrews-Lindsay 1 (Cl VDBH 144, ESO 96-4) in Musca.

According to the authors it is "currently the only known 'confirmed' example of a PN physically associated with a Galactic open cluster."

The announcement appears in the August 2010 edition of the AAO Observer, the newsletter of the Australian Astronomical Observatory.

The authors write: "The PN was found during systematic searches for new Galactic PNe for the original MASH survey ... on the AAO/UKST Ha survey ... The PN had been missed in earlier broadband surveys, including CCD studies of the host cluster ... Here we present original discovery images and CTIO 4m MOSAIC-II camera follow-up narrow-band images that reveal its bipolar morphology. We also present confirmatory spectroscopy and provide preliminary estimates of basic PN properties and abundance estimates from deeper spectra that show it to be of Type I chemistry consistent with that of the cluster and its estimated turn-off mass."

The nebula is about 16,000 years old and spans some 0.4 parsecs. On the sky it measures 18 x 14 arcseconds and lies just north-east of the central region of the cluster.

The cluster AL1 was discovered on photographic plates exposed at Boyden Observatory (Bloemfontein, South Africa) with the ADH telescope. In the discovery paper it is described as being 75 arcsec across, circular, and comprised of faint stars.

The accompanying star chart, adapted from Millenium Star Atlas chart 1001, shows the approximate position of the cluster as a red rhombus. The brightest star at top-right is theta Muscae.

Parker, Q.A. (et al.) PHR1315-6555: a bipolar Type I planetary nebula (PN) in the compact Hyades-age open cluster ESO 96-SC04. AAO Observer, 118, August 2010

Recent news

top story: March newsletter of the ASSA Deep-Sky Section, featuring 47 Tuc on the cover. — "Nightfall" (2015 April) is the current newsletter of the Deep-Sky Observing Section of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa.

A globular cluster in the realm of the galaxies — A rare gem - a bright globular cluster in the realm of the galaxies.

The Dark Emu rises, in pursuit of the Magellanic Clouds — The beautiful complex of dark nebulosity along the southern Milky Way appears like an ancient monster, its serpentine neck reaching out as if to gobble up the Magellanic Clouds.

Massive star forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud — Dale Liebenberg images NGC 346, a gigantic star forming region in the SMC.

Flocculent Galaxy in Southern Leo — Dale Liebenberg images the spiral galaxy NGC 3521 in southern Leo.

Ancient open cluster in Lyra — Anthony Ayiomamitis images the old open cluster NGC 6791.

Golden Coin Galaxy — Dale Liebenberg images the Golden Coin, NGC 4945 in Centaurus.

NGC 2467 in Puppis — Dale Liebenberg images NGC 2467 in Puppis.

Last but not least - Messier 103 — Anthony Ayiomamitis images Messier 103 in Cassiopeia.

The Arkenstone of Thrain — Dale Liebenberg images Messier 22, the "Arkenstone of Thrain" according to Burnham.

ConCards available — A handy set of beginner's star charts, "Constellation Cards" are now available for free download.

Deep sky celebrations — Three deep sky observers of yore have birthdays this week: William Herschel (1738), the Fourth Earl of Rosse, and Stephane Javelle.

Necklace Nebula featured on APOD — The recently-discovered planetary nebula nicknamed the Necklace Nebula, recently featured on APOD.

Methuselah Nebula featured on APOD — The old bipolar planetary nebula MWP1, a.k.a. Methuselah Nebula, is today's APOD.

New deepsky book from CUP — Deep sky author Wolfgang Steinicke's latest book, "Observing and Cataloguing Nebulae and Star Clusters: From Herschel to Dreyer's New General Catalogue", has just been published by Cambridge University Press.

NGC 1365 in infrared (ESO VLT) — The bright barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 in Fornax has been imaged in the infrared with the ESO VLT telescope.

New HST image of eta Carinae Nebula — New observations, combined with images made in 2005, show beautiful detail in part of the extensive eta Carinae Nebula.

First planetary in open cluster found — A team of astronomers from Australia, the UK, the USA and France have discovered the first planetary nebula known to be associated with a galactic open cluster.

NGC 300 in Sculptor imaged at ESO — The bright spiral galaxy NGC 300 has been imaged with the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Superwind galaxy NGC 4666 — A remarkable galaxy with very vigorous star formation has been newly imaged on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.

News archives

All earlier news items can be browsed in the archives.

Quote

Keep observing. You will get better with practice. Your brain learns to see more as you do more observing.
Alan MacRobert

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