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I was out early last few nights to avoid the moon glow. Observed M46 for the first time and notice a faint smudge just off of center, my first thought was small galaxy in the foreground or background, or perhaps a nebulae.

i looked it up on my planetarium software and it clearly shows a planetary nebula but gives no info. Anyone out there have any info about this object?

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Yep, this is what my SkySafari Pro has to say...

It is a mag 11.5 planetary NEB.

EFAEDAB0-B392-4342-9C56-E06799E0083F.png

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Thank’s for the informative replies. I still have that re occurring feeling of did I really see that? I had no idea it was in that cluster, so goes to prove that my eye sight has not been effected by heavy machinery, unlike my hearing. Who needs ears for astronomy anyway.

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NGC 2438 is a lovely planetary nebula, quite large and made all the better for its magnificent setting amongst the stars of M46 (of which it is not a member). I made an observation of it in 2013. Although the observing conditions were not particularly good, the OIII filter helped a lot, showing the darker centre of the object and some brightness differences around the ring. The central star is mag 17.5, so no hope of seeing that!

971487739_NGC2438-1340.thumb.jpg.e75233751b380d2068a3f881d1c4e406.jpg

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A few days ago I posted up my own report from light-polluted SW London. In it, I mentioned that I briefly took in M50 and M46 through my Mak 127 as I'd not seen them before, and they were high up and in view from my observing spot. I reported that M50 was indeed heart-shaped and I then moved on to M46. My exact word to describe my view of M46 was "meh". It was dim. So when afterwards I looked it up on Wikipedia to see what it had to say (link supplied by @Wiu-Wiu above), and clicked the accompanying picture, I was surprised to see a lovely photo of what you are describing. I'm annoyed now I didn't look harder. One for next time.

Magnus

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My current kit is an Orion 130 st f5.5 I think on an NEQ5 pro go to. I think my skies are my main plus point. I have a couple of large towns to my south about 25k away but to my north and east nothing. I estimate my bortal rating around four, perhaps better when my local village turn off the lights at midnight.

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As for extras, no filters yet as I am quite new to all this and the recent mount upgrade from an eq2 got me in trouble with my wife. I am pretty sure I was using a 10mm plossle, Orion again.

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