(IAAC) Obj: NGC 3242 - Inst: 8" f/6 Newtonian Eq.

Observer: Chuck Layton
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: Feb. 2, 1998   0930 UT
Location of site: Tacoma,WA (Lat 47N, Elev 350ft)
Site classification: Suburban
Sky darkness: 6 <1-10 Scale (10 best)>
Seeing: 8 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: Major - gibbous or near object
Instrument: 8" f/6  Newtonian Eq.
Magnification: 38X, 76X, 244X
Filter(s): None, Lum. Deep Sky
Object(s): NGC 3242
Category: Planetary nebula
Class: 4 + 3b
Constellation: Hya
Data: mag 8.6  size 35"
Position: RA 10:24  DEC -18:38
This nebula is a small to medium sized planetary that is fairly easy
to distinquish from surrounding stars at low powers.  It was a vivid
blueish green at 76X.  The central bright area was slightly triangular
in shape with a small darker "lane" visible on the SE side extending
outward from the center.  In addition a slightly mottled edge was
noticed with averted vision on the W to SW edge of the brighter
center.  A dimmer outer halo was uneven in brightness with a brighter,
denser portion on the N side. The halo was elongated a bit to the SE.
The central star was not visible.
This planetary is fun to observe because of all the minute and subtle
details.  A very captivating object.  I probably spent over an hour
describing, sketching and just plain admiring the thing.  All this
excitement, I'm sure, is due to the 2 hour sucker hole that opened up
at midnight!! I've had just about enough of El Nino this year, thanks!
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