Planetary Nebula NGC 2610

NGC 2610
NGC 2610: Section of PanSTARRS DR1 color [147]


On 31 December 1785 the German-British astronomer William Herschel saw an object in his 18.7 inch telescope that he classified in group IV (planetary nebulae, stars with burs, with milky chevelure, with short rays, remarkable shapes, etc.) as IV 35 and he noted: «A small star with a brush south preceding, faint, small.» [464]

John Herschel cataloged it in 1833 in his Slough catalogue as h 513 and noted: «A star 14 mag with a fan-shaped brush 15" length to the south preceding side; the brus however judged by both Mr. Dunlop (who saw it) and myself not to be in contact. A bright star 6.7 mag north following.» [466]

Lord Rosse (or more likely one of his assistants) observed the object on 30 November 1850 through the giant 72 inch «Leviathan of Birr Castle» and noted: «Small star in its north following edge, perhaps not connected with the nebu.a The nebula had a brush-like appearance.» On 1 February 1851 it was noted: «Dark space following the star between nebula and star, like the 'snowdrop' nebula [h 399, NGC 2261].» [486]

In 1914 the mysterious object was identified as a planetary nebula by John Henry Reynolds. [141]

NGC 2610
NGC 2610: Image with 2.1m KPNO telescope on Kitt Peak, Hawaii © 1987 Bruce Balick [132]

Physical Properties

According to Gaia DR3 the distance to the planetary nebula NGC 2610 is 11.5 kpc. The superimposed star on the northeastern edge is in a distance of 690 pc. [147] According to other sources the distance to NGC 2610 is just 2.2 kpc, which appears to be more likely. Distances to planetary nebula are often quite uncertain. Magnitudes through different spectral filters: B 9.02, R 11.23, J 16.705, H 16.293. [145]

«Strasbourg-ESO Catalogue of Galactic Planetary Nebulae» Acker et al., 1992 [141]
Designations PN G239.6+13.9: NGC 2610, PK 239+13.1, ARO 64, Sa 2- 27, VV 48, VV' 77
Right Ascension (J2000.0) 08h 33m 23s
Declination (J2000.0) -16° 08' 56"
Dimensions 38." (optical), 49." (radio)
Radial Velocity +89.0 ± 3.0 km/s
Expansion Velocity 14.0 (O-III) km/s
C-Star Designations AG82 104
C-Star Magnitude B: 15.60, V: 15.90
Discoverer REYNOLDS 1914

Finder Chart

The planetary nebula NGC 2610 can be found in the western part of the constellation Hydra, circa 22° south of its head. The PN is in a conspicuous triangle of stars of 6.5 to 8 mag. The best viewing time is February to April, when it is close to the meridian at night and highest in the sky.

Finder Chart Planetary Nebula NGC 2610
Planetary Nebula NGC 2610 in constellation Hydra. 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°)


  • [132];
  • [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);;
  • [145] SIMBAD astronomical database;
  • [147] Aladin Lite;
  • [149] SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
  • [160] The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
  • [464] «Catalogue of a second thousand of new nebulae and clusters of stars; with a few introductory remarks on the construction of the heavens» William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1 January 1789; DOI:10.1098/rstl.1789.0021
  • [466] «Observations of nebulæ and clusters of stars, made at Slough, with a twenty-feet reflector, between the years 1825 and 1833» John Frederick William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1 January 1833, Pages: 359-505; DOI:10.1098/rstl.1833.0021
  • [486] «On the construction of specula of six-feet aperture; and a selection from the observations of nebulæ made with them» William Parsons; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Volume 151, published 1 January 1861; DOI:10.1098/rstl.1861.0029