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

NGC3195
Caldwell109
Object TypePlanetary Nebula
ConstellationChamaeleon
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 - April 2017

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