Looking for an observing challenge? An expert observer offers advice for exploring the Minkowski catalog of planetary nebulae.
German-American astronomer Rudolph Minkowski was best known for his spectroscopic work on supernovae. But he was also interested in "gaseous nebulae," and in the 1940s, created a catalog of planetary nebulae he'd identified with the 60- and 100-inch telescopes at Mount Wilson. In three papers written up for the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific entitled “New Emission Nebulae” in 1946, 1947 and 1948, he listed nearly 200 real (or suspected) planetary nebulae. In our August 2016 issue, Contributing Editor Ted Forte introduced us to the Minkowski catalog and provided tips and advice for making the most of your planetary nebula observing sessions.
To guide your observations, Ted has provided a data table for the Minkowski objects discussed in the article, with their surface brightness, visual magnitudes, size, positions, distance, and magnitude of the nebula's central star. The table is available for download as an Excel file and as a PDF.