In the "winter" constellation Lepus, south of Orion, is a small but colorful planetary nebula called IC 418.  It's only about 25 "arc across, much smaller than the famous ring nebula in Lyra. Instead of being green, like the ring nebula, it is mostly red, with a blue star at the center.

Here's a color image of it and its nearby star field.

Figure 1.  Field of view is 26 x 15 'arc, north is up and east is to the left.  The large object upper-right of center is IC 418.  [10-inch Meade LX200 SCT, f/6.3; SBIG ST-8XE CCD; 1-minute exposures for red, green and blue; digital development contrast enhancement; 2003.01.21/22; Hereford, AZ residence]

Figure 2.  Four-times zoom of above image, with a nearby star moved into a closer location in order to show the larger size and different colors of IC 418 in relation to the star.  The image is 3.5 'arc wide; the nebulosity is ~27"arc in diameter.  The "seeing" was relatively poor during this observation, causing star images to be 4.5"arc wide.

Note that this planetary nebula is illumiated by a blue star, yet the nebulosity is red.  I don't know the explanation for this.

____________________________________  HST Image  ___________________________________________________________

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This site opened:  January 22, 2003 Last Update:  January 22, 2003