From The European Southern Observatory
IC 4406 is a planetary nebula with an unusual, almost "rectangular" shape. It is located in the southern constellation Lupus (the Wolf). The distance is somewhat uncertain, possibly around 5,000 light-years. Like the Butterfly Nebula, IC 4406 belongs to the class of bipolar nebulae. However, the dark and dusty central band (the "disc-like structure") is less pronounced in this object and the internal structure is more uniform. The different colors correspond to regions of different composition and physical properties.
The photo is based on a series of seven exposures through three broad-band optical filters, obtained under less optimal observing conditions. The use of these wide filters also tends to suppress the fine structure that is particularly well visible in narrow-filter exposures because of the line emission from the nebula. The field measures 1.5 x 1.5 arcmin. North is to the upper right; East is to the upper left.
Based on press release with ESO PR Photo 21/98
Catalog #: Photo 21/98
Target Name: Rectangular Planetary Nebula IC 4406
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Last Modified On: Saturday, December 16, 2000