Discovered by William Herschel on February 15, 1786
The Catís Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is a planetary nebula located in the constellation of Draco. Observations using the Hubble Space Telescope have enabled astronomers to calculate the distance to the nebula. According to these calculations, NGC 6546 is 3300 light years from the Earth. This planetary nebula is complex in structure. Faint spherical shells of gas surround the bright central oval and are attributed to matter ejected by the central star during its red giant phase. There is speculation that the complex nature of the bright inner oval is due to material ejected from a binary central star but, as yet, there is no firm evidence of a companion star.
The image was assembled from data obtained from the Hubble Legacy Archive. It is a mapped color image using the Hubble standard pallet of SII to red, Ha to green and OIII to blue.
1Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and obtained from the Hubble Legacy Archive, which is a collaboration between the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI/NASA), the Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF/ESA) and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC/NRC/CSA).