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Barnard 143 (15,830 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Fish on a Platter Nebula

Barnard 143, LDN 694, Fish on a Platter Nebula

RA: 19h 40m 42s
Dec: +10° 57′ 0″

Con: Aquila
Ch: MSA:1243, U2:207, SA:16


(reference key)

Type: dark nebula

Mag: –

Size: 30′
PA: ?

Image gallery

Photos  (1)

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Published comments

E.E. Barnard (1919)

Barnard (Astrophysical Journal, January 1919) writes: "In many cases one side of a dark marking is very definite, while the other side is diffused...The same peculiarity is sometimes seen in the bright nebulae, the great nebula of Orion being a striking example. Three of these objects, which are very much alike, and which show this feature strongly, are No 50, No 143 and No 160. The first two very closely resemble each other in size and form and the third differs from them only in a small degree." In his 'Notes on the Catalogue' he adds: "The outline of a square half a degree in diameter, with the west side missing."

E.E. Barnard (1927) - ADC catalogue VII/220A

Note (supplied by Bill Gray, Project Pluto): Rather narrow, angular marking; the outline of a square 30' in diameter, with the W side missing

W. S. Franks (1930)

Visual Observations of Dark Nebulae. MNRAS, 90, 326.

"The following observations, therefore, were made with the 6-inch Cooke refractor at Brockhurst, usually with a fine achromatic Kellner eyepiece of 1-inch focus and field of 36' ... observed on two nights, commencing in 1929 August and ending in December ... on very clear nights, and in the total absence of the moonlight, when the Milky Way was conspicuous."

Barnard 143: "Large curved dark marking, somewhat the shape of a horse-shoe, in very rich region of stars. About 1/2 degrees nf the last object [Barnard 142]."


Burnham calls it "remarkable, large, irregular, diam. 30', dark nebulosity with two extensions to the west." He writes: "About 1.5 to the west of Gamma Aquilae and slightly north is the curious dark marking B143, a strangely shaped dust cloud some 30' in diameter with two sharply outlined 'prongs' pointing westward."

Modern observations

SAC database

The SAC 4.0 database comments: "Narrow lanes 3 degrees north preceding Altair"

Whitman, A. (1998)

Seeking summer's dark nebulae. Sky&Telescope, Aug, 114-118.


Sanford writes: "A prominent dark dust cloud is silhoutted against the Milky Way, and is just visible to the naked eye north of Gamma [Aquilae]. It forms a distinct 'C' shape against the background of our Galaxy in 7x50 binoculars." He notes the size of the nebula as 80'x50'.


Photo index by Jim Lucyk: Astronomy mag. 9/87 p46, Sky & Tel. 7/61 p16, 17

Harrington, Phil

Phil Harrington (1990, Touring the Universe through Binoculars) notes: "B 142 and B 143 collectively form a fairly conspicuous dark patch located 1.5 degrees west of Gamma Aquilae. Nicknamed the 'Fish on a Platter' Nebula, it is seen as a 30' diameter cloud with two 'horns' extending further west."

Modern observations

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the electronic version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "30' diameter void with 2 extensions to W; distinct void in a starry area near the galactic plane."

Donald J. Ware

B143-4 Donald J. Ware:"This is a classic example of a dark nebula. It is relatively easily seen in binoculars, lying just west of the star Gamma Aquilae, which is near the bright star Altair. The nebula is over a degree in size, and is seen as an"E" shaped region which is devoid of stars."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, using a 13" f/5.6, notes: "This dark nebula is over 30 arc minutes in size and so demands a wide field to see it clearly. My old 17.5 inch f/4.5 at 60X showed a long arc of missing stars about 1 1/2 degrees west of Altair."

(IAAC) Dave Mitsky

Observer: Dave Mitsky Your skills: Intermediate (some years) Date/time of observation: 1999/8/13 02:10 UT Location of site: Springfield, Vermont, USA (Lat , Elev ) Site classification: Exurban Sky darkness: 6.5 [Limiting magnitude] Seeing: 7 [1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)] Moon presence: None - moon not in sky Instrument: 8x56 binocular Magnification: 8x Filter(s): None Object(s): Barnard 143-4 Category: Dark nebula. Class: Constellation: Aquila

Description: B143-4, also known as Barnard's E and the Triple Cave Nebula, is a dark nebula that lies to the west of gamma Aquilae and approximately 3 degrees to the northwest of Altair. I viewed this moderately large, E-shaped cosmic "void" from the dark skies of Springfield, Vermont through a friend's 8x56 Celestron Ultima binocular. Barnard's E is featured on page 100 of the September 1999 Sky & Telescope.

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