NGC 3195 is a planetary nebula of mag. +11.5, located in the southern constellation of Chamaeleon. At a declination of -81 degrees, it's the closest bright planetary to the South Celestial Pole and therefore circumpolar from almost the entire Southern Hemisphere. Theoretically, it can also be seen from northern latitudes but only from south of +9 degrees. Even then, from such locations this planetary only scraps above the horizon and is an incredibly difficult, if not impossible, object to spot.

John Herschel discovered NGC 3195 on February 24, 1835. It's number 109 and the final object in the Caldwell catalogue.

NGC 3195 (credit:- NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA))

Finder Chart for NGC 3195 (credit:- freestarcharts)

Finder Chart for NGC 3195 - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)

NGC 3195 lies almost exactly halfway along an imaginary line connecting stars Zeta Chamaeleontis (ζ Cha; - mag. +5.1) and Delta Chamaeleontis (δ1 - mag. +5.5, δ2 - mag. +4.5). On good nights, it can be spotted with an 80mm (3.1-inch) refractor, although at low magnifications it appears star-like. Increasing the power above 75x will reveal its true nature.

Through a 200mm (8-inch) scope, the planetary displays a slightly elongated small disk, spanning 42 x 30 arc seconds that's better seen with averted vision. In addition, an Olll or UHC filter will assist. With a 300mm (12-inch) or larger instrument, a trace of a ring shape can be made out. The central star is feeble at mag. +15.3 and therefore beyond the range of all but the largest backyard scopes.

NGC 3195 is 5,500 light-years distant and has a spatial diameter of 1.1 light-years.

NGC 3195 Data Table

Object TypePlanetary Nebula
Distance (light-years)5,500
Apparent Mag.+11.5
RA (J2000)10h 09m 21s
DEC (J2000)-80d 51m 30s
Apparent Size (arc secs)42 x 30
Radius (light-years)0.55

Sky Highlights - March 2017

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak now visible with binoculars as it heads towards perihelion

Mercury heading towards greatest elongation east

Minor Planet
Vesta now visible with binoculars and small telescopes.

The Planets
This Month's Guide

Algol Minima
Algol eclipse dates and times for March 2017

Northern Hemisphere
West:- Venus (mag. -4.8 to -4.1 - first half of month), Mars (mag. +1.3 to +1.5), Uranus (mag. +5.9), Mercury (mag. -1.5 to -0.4 - second half of month)
Southeast:- Jupiter (mag. -2.3 to -2.5)
Southwest:- Jupiter
Southeast:- Saturn (mag. +0.5)

Southern Hemisphere
West:- Venus (first half of month), Mars, Uranus
North:- Jupiter
East:- Saturn
West:- Jupiter
Northeast:- Saturn
East:- Neptune (mag. +8.0 - second half of month)

Deep Sky
Naked eye / binoculars:-
Melotte 111 - Mel 111 - The Coma Star Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 44 - M44 - The Praesepe (Open Cluster)

Messier 67 - M67 - Open Cluster
Messier 51 - M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
Messier 97 - M97 - The Owl Nebula (Planetary Nebula)
Messier 101 - M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
Messier 65 – M65 – Spiral Galaxy
Messier 66 - M66 - Intermediate Spiral Galaxy
Messier 95 - M95 - Barred Spiral Galaxy
Messier 96 - M96 - Intermediate Spiral Galaxy
NGC 4244 - Spiral Galaxy
NGC 4565 - Needle Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy

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