IC63 - The Ghost Nebula
59 and IC 63 are faint reflection and emission
nebula located in the northern constellation of
They are challenging objects to spot with telescopes
for a number of reasons. Both nebulae are faint at
apparent mag. +10,
they have extremely low surface brightness and
surround bright variable star gamma Cas (γ Cas).
This remarkable star is partly unstable and is
known as a "shell star". It currently shines at mag.
+2.15, making it the brightest star in Cassiopeia.
IC 59 and IC 63 are 610 light-years distant. From
our perspective, IC 59 is located on
the northern side of gamma Cas and IC 63 to the
northeast. Spatially the nebulae are roughly 3
light-years from gamma Cas, although IC 63 is
slightly closer to the star.
As a result, it's appears mostly red due to a
of H-alpha emission, whereas IC 59 exhibits much
less H-alpha emission and appears mostly blue due to
dust reflected starlight.
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