Phantom Streak Nebula (NGC 6741)

NGC 6741
NGC 6741: Image taken with Hubble Space Telescope. © ESA/Hubble & NASA, postprocessing Judy Schmidt [165]


This planetary nebula was found on 19 August 1882 by the American astronomer Edward Pickering using visual spectroscopy at the 15 inch refractor of Harvard College observatory. [277] Dreyer added the nebula as NGC 6741 in his «New General Catalogue» appeared in 1888. [313]

Physical Properties

The age of this planetary nebula is estimated to 1400 years. It is a dense, high-excitation, almost-prolate ellipsoid, surrounded by a sharp low-excitation skin and embedded in a spherical halo containing a large fraction of the nebular mass. The kinematics, physical conditions and ionic structure indicate that NGC 6741 is in a deep recombination phase, started about 200 years ago, and caused by the rapid luminosity drop of the massive, hot and faint post-AGB star, which has exhausted the hydrogen-shell nuclear burning and is moving along the white dwarf cooling sequence. [625]

Revised+Historic NGC/IC Version 22/9, © 2022 Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
Designation NGC 6741
Type PN
Right Ascension (J2000.0) 19h 02m 37.0s
Declination (J2000.0) -00° 26' 56"
Diameter 0.13 arcmin
Photographic (blue) magnitude 10.8 mag
Visual magnitude 11.5 mag
Metric Distance 2.147 kpc
Dreyer Description planetary, stellar
Identification, Remarks PK 33-2.1; J 475; CS=14.7

Finder Chart

The planetary nebula NGC 6741 can be found in the constellation Aquila. The double star pair HD 176983/2 consists of a bluish and a reddish star and serves as a finding aid for the PN. The best observing time are the months June to September.

Finder Chart Phantom Streak Nebula (NGC 6741)
Phantom Streak Nebula (NGC 6741) in constellation Aquila. 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]

Visual Observation

400 mm Aperture: The blue/red double star is beautiful to look at. The position of NGC 6741 can be clearly identified from the surrounding stars. In the 21 mm Ethos eyepiece (85x) the PN appears as a small but bright fuzz. In the 9 mm Nagler (200x) the PN is still a small fuzz. — 400 mm f/4.5 Taurus Dobsonian, Hasliberg, 18. 8. 2023, SQM 21.2, Bernd Nies

Objects Within a Radius of 15°


  • [149] SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
  • [160] The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
  • [165] Flickr: Judy Schmidt; (2021-01-02)
  • [277] «Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; (2021-02-17)
  • [313] «A New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, being the Catalogue of the late Sir John F.W. Herschel, Bart., revised, corrected, and enlarged» Dreyer, J. L. E. (1888); Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 49: 1–237; Bibcode:1888MmRAS..49....1D
  • [625] «The 3-D shaping of NGC 6741: A massive, fast-evolving Planetary Nebula at the recombination-reionization edge» F. Sabbadin, S. Benetti, E. Cappellaro, R. Ragazzoni and M. Turatto; A&A Volume 436, Number 2, June III 2005 Page(s) 549 - 567; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361:20042447