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NGC 3242
The Ghost of Jupiter
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Name: Ghost of Jupiter, NGC 3242, Caldwell 59
Description: Planetary Nebula
Position (J2000): R.A. 10h 24m 46.1s Dec.-18° 38' 32.6?
Constellation: Hydra
Distance: Est 1400- 3900 light years
Apparent magnitude: 8.60
Apparent dimensions: 25"
Image Credit: Bruce Balick and Jason Alexander (U of Washington), Arsen Hajian (U.S. Naval Observatory), Yervant Terzian (Cornell University ), Mario Perinotto (U of Florence), Patrizio Patriarchi (Arcetri Observatory) & NASA/ESA
Release Date: December 17, 1997
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NGC 3242 (also known as the Ghost of Jupiter or Caldwell 59) is a planetary nebula located in the constellation Hydra.
William Herschel discovered the nebula on February 7, 1785, and cataloged it as H IV.27. John Herschel observed it from the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, in the 1830s, and numbered it as h 3248, and included it in the 1864 General Catalogue as GC 2102; this became NGC 3242 in J. L. E. Dreyer's New General Catalogue of 1888.
This planetary nebula is most frequently called the Ghost of Jupiter, or Jupiter's Ghost, but it is also sometimes referred to as the Eye Nebula. It can easily be observed with amateur telescopes, and appears bluish-green to most observers. Larger telescopes can distinguish the outer halo as well.