NGC 5189, the 'Spiral' planetary nebula
AAO image reference AAT 83.    « Previous || Next »

NGC 5189, the 'Spiral' planetary nebula NGC5189.jpg
Top left is NE. Image width is about 5 arc min
Image and text © 1995-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.


The peculiarity of NGC 5189 lies in its astonishingly complex structure, first noted by Sir John Herschel, who discovered it in Musca, a little south of the Southern Cross in 1835. Seen through the telescope it seems to have an 'S' shape, reminiscent of a barred spiral galaxy, hence its popular name. This is seen in the colour photograph as the central greenish part. Deep photographs such as this show many filaments, rather more reminiscent of the Crab nebula, a supernova remnant, than a planetary nebula. Unlike the Crab nebula, NGC 5189 is remarkably symmetrical. Distances to planetary nebulae are notoriously difficult to measure, but this one is estimated to be about 3000 light years away.

Related Images
AATCCD 8. NGC 5189 imaged in narrow emission lines
Constellation of Musca (external site)

For details of photographic exposure, search technical table by AAT reference number.

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, August 1