Planetary Nebula Abell 8 in Cluster Bica 6

Abell 8
Abell 8: Planetary nebula in Auriga; 500 mm Cassegrain 3625 mm f/7.2, SBIG STL11K; 120+40+40+40 min LRGB; Bernese Highlands; © 2011 Radek Chromik [32]

Object Description

The planetary nebula Abell 8 (PK 167-0.1) was discovered in 1955 by the American astronomer George Ogden Abell on the photo plates of the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS). Most of these 86 PNs discovered on the POSS photo plates are large and have a low surface brightness, which suggests that their stage of development is advanced. [331, 332]

In 2008 E. Bica discovered on the digitized images of the POSS that the planetary nebula belongs to a loose, open star cluster about 60' in diameter, which was later named Bica 6 after him. PN and star cluster are about 1.60 ± 0.11 kpc away from us. The age of the star cluster is estimated to be about 109 years. The fact that a PN belongs to an open star cluster makes it possible to calibrate the otherwise rather imprecise determination of the distance of a single PN. [447, 448]

The best-known example of such a pair is the PN NGC 2438, which is located in the open star cluster Messier 46 in the constellation Puppis.

«Strasbourg-ESO Catalogue of Galactic Planetary Nebulae» Acker et al., 1992 [141]
Designations PN G167.0-00.9: A 8, PK 167-00.1, A55 7, ARO 216, VV' 28
Right Ascension (J2000.0) 05h 06m 38s
Declination (J2000.0) +39° 08' 08"
Dimensions 60." (optical)
Radial Velocity +58.2 ± 6.5 km/s
C-Star Designations AG82 40
C-Star Magnitude B: 20.2
Discoverer ABELL 1955

Finder Chart

The planetary nebula Abell 8 is located in the constellation Auriga (Charioteer), about 2° south of the 3 mag bright star Haedus II (η Aurigae). The best observation time is September to April.

Finder Chart Planetary Nebula Abell 8 in Cluster Bica 6
Planetary Nebula Abell 8 in Cluster Bica 6 in constellation Auriga. Charts created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. Limiting magnitudes: Constellation chart ~6.5 mag, DSS2 close-ups ~20 mag. [149, 160]

More Objects Nearby (±15°)


  • [32] Astrofotografie by Radek, Bernie and Dragan;
  • [141] Strasbourg-ESO Catalogue of Galactic Planetary Nebulae; A. Acker, F. Ochsenbein, B. Stenholm, R. Tylenda, J. Marcout, C. Schohn; European Southern Observatory; ISBN 3-923524-41-2 (1992);;
  • [149] SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
  • [160] The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
  • [331] «Globular Clusters and Planetary Nebulae Discovered on the National Geographic Society-Palomar Observatory Sky Survey» Abell, G. O.; Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Vol. 67, No. 397, p.258-261, August 1955; DOI:10.1086/126815; Bibcode:1955PASP...67..258A
  • [332] «Properties of Some Old Planetary Nebulae» Abell, G. O.; Astrophysical Journal, vol. 144, p.259, April 1966; DOI:10.1086/148602; Bibcode:1966ApJ...144..259A
  • [447] «Discovery of an open cluster with a possible physical association with a planetary nebula» C. Bonatto, E. Bica, J. F. C. Santos, Jr; Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 386, Issue 1, 1 May 2008, Pages 324–336; DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13042.x
  • [448] «New Results for the Open Cluster Bica 6 and Its Associated Planetary Nebula Abell 8» D. G. Turner, J. M. Rosvick, D. D. Balam, A. A. Henden, D. J. Majaess, and D. J. Lane; Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Volume 123, Number 909; DOI:10.1086/662663