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NGC 6302 (14,266 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Bug Nebula

NGC 6302, Ced 139, Gum 60, ESO 392-5, HD 155520, Hen 2-204, PK 349+01 1, PN G349.5+01.0, Bipolar Nebula, Caldwell 69, Bug Nebula

RA: 17h 13m 44.21s
Dec: −37° 06′ 15.9″

Con: Scorpius
Ch: MSA:1439, U2:376, SA:22


(reference key)

Type: planetary nebula

Mag: B=7.1, V=?

Size: ?
PA: ?

Image gallery

Photos  (2)

Select a photo and click the button to view

Historical observations

Barnard, E.E. (1884)

See New nebulae - Small black hole in the milky way - Duplicity of beta-1 Capricorni. Astron. Nachrichten, 108, 369-372.

Object "e" "A small flickering indefinite nebula slightly elongated (e. and w.) with 5 inch refractor. Prof. Swift, with his 16 inch refractor, finds it to be triple and elongated; its major axis nearly perpendicular to the meridian; a smaller nebula at each end, one of which is exceedingly faint. Its place is from one observation with the meridian circle."

Barnard, E.E. (1906)

A.N. 4136

"The nebula NGC 6302"

[sketch included]

This nebula was discovered by me in 1880 at Nashville, Tennessee, while hunting comets with my 5-inch refractor. Subsequently observing it with his 16 inch at Rochester N.Y. Swift found it to be triple.

In 1892 I examined and measured the nebula with the 36 inch of the Lick Obs. and found it to be a very remarkable object. With the great telescope it was seen to consist of three rahter B S neb. Two of the neb had faint streamers running n.p., while the third, the f. component, had two neb. arches springing from it and extending some distance following. The entire nebula,. especially the following part, looked like a ghostly bug of some kind, the third mass being the head and antennae. From its singular appearance I have called it the 'Bug Nebula'. The enclosed drawing was made from 3 or 4 nights study of it with the 36 inch, and very fairly represents its remarkable appearance. Careful measures were made of the nebula, but the drawing is not from these measures. I also send a rouigh diagram which indicates the portions measured."

[esitmates & measures of sizes and magnitudes of components given]

Dunlop, James (1827)

Is this object Dunlop 567? [source: margin note in my copy of NGC reprint]

Published comments

Helwan Obs. Bulletin No 9 (1912)

! pB, pL, vmE, a star mag 9 involved in a small edition of the Omega nebula; two curious horns attached to star.

Observed visually by Barnard (AN 4136) His part C seems from the Helwan photograph to be definitely a star, while A and B are not. The streamers from A and B are just visible on the photograph.

Cederblad, S. (1946) [VII/231]

Ced 139 (NGC 6302)

Position (1900): RA 17 7, Dec - 36 59

Star: -36 11341 (Mp=10.2:, V=10. :, SpT=Neb)

Spectrum of nebula: emission spectrum (observed)

Classification: Neb associated with mainly one star (which may be multiple) - Quasi-planetary, representing a transitional type between real planetaries and bright diffuse nebulae (eg. NGC 1514)

Size: 2'x1'

Notes: "NGC 6302 = -36 11341 = HD 155520 = "The Bug nebula". Disc. Barnard 1880 (43). (80, 93 Pl 16, 103, 174, 273, 761). R. Has also been classified as a planetary."

Chopinet, M. & Lortet-Zuckermann, M.C. (1972)

A note to designations of planetary nebulae. Astron.Astrophys., 18, 166-167.

NGC 6302: He 2-204, RCW-124, Sh 1-3, Sh 2-6, PK 349+1°1

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a planetary nebula.

Photo index

by Jim Lucyk: Sky&Tel. 7/79 p33, Sky&Tel. 10/69 p228, Sky&Tel. 11/79 p427, Astronomy mag. 4/82 p12, Astronomy mag. 3/86 p108, Astronomy mag. 11/85 p98, Observer's Guide (Astro Cards) 5-6/88 p24.

Cederblad 139: Vehrenberg's Atlas of DS Splendors (3ed) p161

Modern observations

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "12.8M; 2'x 1' extent; 10M center star; very flat figure-8 shape gives name; possibly an unusual planetary."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, observing with a 17.5" f/4.5 at 100X, notes: "Bright, large, elongated planetary at 165X. Moving the power up to 320X brought out some fine detail and a central star. There is a bright knot of nebulosity in the western section.; 36" f/5 TSP 96 Central star held 100% of the time, it appears larger than stars nearby, might be wrapped up in neby. Some dark markings within nebula. High surface brightness, grey color.

[amastro] Summer Planetaries

Howdy all;

Well, the clouds went away for a while and I got out to do some real observing. What a nice break! Here are some of the notes of a few summer planetaries that I observed. For those of you still clouded out, have faith, for I have seen the Milky Way and it still exists, honest.

NGC 6302 in Scorpius

Eagle Eye site S=7 T=7 13" 150X--easy to pick out at this power, pretty bright, pretty large, elongated 2X1 in PA 75. Central "star" is not stellar, about 3 times the size of the Airy disk of nearby stars. Dark lane to west of center. With Ken Reeve's 20" f/5 and the 8.8mm EP there are two dark lanes on the west side and one on the east, they chop the nebulosity into unequal parts. There is an obvious bright spot within the western section. Averted vision shows some outer, faint nebulosity to the north and south of the main bright nebula. A nice view of the Bug Nebula.

Hogsten, Scott (IAAC, 1998)

Observer: Scott Hogsten Your skills: Intermediate (some years) Date/time of observation: Aug 19,1998 10:10 EDT Location of site: McConnelsville, Ohio (Lat 39N, Elev ) Site classification: Rural Sky darkness: 6.5 Limiting magnitude Seeing: 8 1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best) Moon presence: None - moon not in sky Instrument: 12.5" f5 Dob Magnification: 80x - 125x Filter(s):

Description: Even though this planetary was low on the horizon it was easily visible. At 80x the nebula appeared bright, large, and well defined. At 125x the structure that gives this nebula it name became apparent. The nebula appear elongated with some structure visible giving the appearance that the nebula has a "waist"

Contemporary observations

Richard Ford

2011 July, 30th Saturday


Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.

Transparency of the Sky:Haziness only visible on the horizon.

Seeing:Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Limiting Magnitude:4.9.

NGC 6302


Object Type:Planetary Nebula.

First Impression:This object looks like a planetary nebula.



Chart Number:No.18(Extract taken out of "Atlas of the Night Sky").

Size:9mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:15'/8=1.8'.

7mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:15'/7.5=2'.



Size in Arc Minutes:1.9'.


Major Axis:1.9'.


Minor Axis:0.4'.

Planetary Nebula is 1.9'*0.4'.

Brightness:Magnitude 12.8.

Brightness Profile:From the central outskirts of this planetary nebula it is equally bright.

Challenge Rating:Difficult.



At 167*this planetary nebula looks like a bug while by observing this nebula at 214*the shape of this nebula's head and thorax is discerned.That's why it is a bipolar nebula.In overall the shape of NGC 6302 is well defined.This bipolar nebula has a pale green structure.

Auke Slotegraaf

2016 October 30, Sunday

Location: Night Sky Caravan Park, Bonnievale.

Date: 2016 Oct 30, Sunday.

Time: 21:07 SAST

Telescope: Little Martin (4-inch f/6.5 Celestron refractor)

19mm Panoptic (35x): Remarkable! Bright star with a streak. Not nebulous, just a bright slash!

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