Solar System

(The Lynx)
  One of the many animal based constellations, the very faint Lynx comprises a celestial zoo with other spring constellations such as Cancer the crab and Leo the lion. The virtually invisible stars would only be visible to someone with the eyes of a lynx, this was the premise when this constellation was devised by Johannes Hevelius in 1690. It also happens to have a passable resemblance to a lynx but this isn't noticed by many as it is surrounded by constellations that have strongly defined resemblances to their namesakes.
  Intergalactic Wanderer (NGC 2419):

Drifting at the mind boggling distance of 290 000 light years, this globular cluster is incredibly distant and is the fifth most distant globular cluster in the Milky Way. Surprisingly it is unexpectedly bright at magnitude 10.4 and can be seen with a medium sized telescope.

If it was placed at one tenth of its distance, it could possibly rival Omega Centauri or the Great Hercules Cluster but this is only hinted at with the view through a large telescope. If there was a planet orbiting one of its outlying member stars, the night sky would be awash with the awesome majestic spiral arms of the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds, this view could only ever exist in the imagination, it would be the vessel to journey there and the arrival would be in the blink of an eye!

    NGC 2683:
    A dusty spiral galaxy, NGC 2683 is a bright edge on galaxy that is 16 million light years distant. It is a marvellous view through a large telescope with the bright yellow core being comprised of an older stellar population surrounded by the brown glow of its myriad of spiral arms.
    PK 164+31.1:

One of the faintest planetary nebulae in the sky, PK 164+31.1 is a large magnitude 14 sphere of gas that is extremely difficult to detect and is best reserved for veteran observers. As with many other planetary nebulae, the structure consists of two shells, a blue inner shell and a red outer shell. The gas is so thin that many background galaxies can actually be seen through the shell, this is a trait found in many Abell planetary nebulae.

The 'PK' stands for Perek and Kohoutek, these two astronomers compiled an extensive catalogue of all the planetary nebulae that were known to exist in 1964 and the catalogue was published in 1967. Many Abell planetaries are referred to by their PK designation although they are less easy to remember. Altogether there are 1036 planetary nebulae in the PK catalogue.

Bear Paw Galaxy (NGC 2537):

Of all the unexpected and delightful objects that resemble an animal, this galaxy is wonderfully unique and quite humorously it is found near the paw of Ursa Major!
Like a footprint in the winter snow, it isn't easy to see as it shines dimly at 12th magnitude and makes a pair with the even fainter NGC 2537A.

Both of these galaxies are catalogued as Arp 6. NGC 2537A is a challenging 15th magnitude and is a system of multiple galaxies. NGC 2537 is a dwarf irregular with a highly unconventional structure and the basic shape is a fuzzy ring with three protrusions towards the north that contribute towards the appearance of a paw. The protrusion on the left has a greater concentration of HII regions with a sporadic scattering in the other two. This bewildering galaxy is relatively close at a distance of 29 million light years.

PK 164+31.1

PK 164+31.1 is an incredibly faint planetary nebula that only appears bright in this image as it has exposures taken through a hydrogen alpha filter that emphasises the red parts. The blue part would be more accentuated in exposures taken through an OIII filter.

If you look closely, many background galaxies can be seen through the very thin shell as well as in the surrounding area. This planetary nebula is also known as Jones-Emberson 1 and some observers have nicknaed it the Headphone Nebula.

Image copyright R. Croman