Gamma Cassiopeia Nebula (IC 59/63)


The German astronomer Max Wolf discovered the two nebulae IC 59 and IC 63 near the star γ Cassiopeiae on 30 December 1893. The American astronomer Edward Barnard rediscovered the two nebulae independently on 2 February 1894. The British astronomer Isaac Roberts made γ Cassiopeiae of the star γ as early as 17 January 1890, but despite a 20 inch aperture and 90 minutes exposure time, no nebula could be seen on the picture. [196, 206]

IC 59 + IC 63
IC 59 + IC 63: Nebula near γ Cassiopeiae; Takahashi Mewlon 250 CR (2500 mm f/10), SBIG STL 11k; 16L x 1200sec 1×1, 11R, 11G, 10B, 13HA 2×2 x 1200sec ; Bernese Highlands; © 28.10. – 3.11. 2016 Bernhard Blank, Dragan Vogel
IC 63
IC 63: Nebula near γ Cassiopeiae; 500 mm Cassegrain 3625 mm f/7.2; SBIG STL11K; 120+3*40 min LRGB; Bernese Highlands; © 2015 Radek Chromik

Physical Properties

The two nebulae are about 600 light years away. The hot, bright star γ Cassiopeiae shines only three to four light-years away from these, whose high-energy radiation is reflected in the nebulae, causing them to glow in part, but which will dissolve completely over time. IC 63 is located closer to the star and glows more strongly in the H-α light, as the UV radiation from the star causes hydrogen to ionize. Due to the greater distance to the star, IC 59 shows proportionally fewer H-α emissions, but rather appears bluish due to the fact that it is reflected in the dust. [352]

Revised+Historic NGC/IC, Version 22/9, © Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
NameRADecTypebMagvMagB-VSBDimPAzD(z)MDDreyer DescriptionIdentification, Remarks
IC 5900 57 28.5+61 08 37EN10 × 50.610pF, eL ! (nf γ Cassiop)LBN 620, Gamma Cas nebula
IC 6300 59 29.0+60 54 40EN10 × 30.610pF, eL ! conn with np oneLBN 623, CED 4B, Gamma Cas nebula

Finder Chart

The Gamma Cassiopeiae Nebula is, as one might expect, in the constellation Cassiopeia. This is circumpolar for Central Europe and is highest at night in the months of July to January.

Finder Chart Gamma Cassiopeia Nebula (IC 59/63)
Gamma Cassiopeia Nebula (IC 59/63) in constellation Cassiopeia. 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°)