The Bug Nebula

NGC 6302, Caldwell 69

The Bug Nebula is a unique looking planetary nebula and whilst the pareidolic nature of my images can often be open to discussion, debate and opinions, the choice of name in this instance is really quite appropriate. It looks like a bug.

Planetary nebulae are the result of medium sized stars – like the Sun – reaching the end of their nuclear cycle. They swell up, becoming red giants, before throwing off their outer layers completely and exposing the central core, which provides a source of intense ultra-violet radiation.

The gas which is ejected – often carbon, nitrogen and oxygen – is ionised by the UV light and glows in the signature colours emitted by the various elements present. Sometimes the nebula is disc-shaped and occasionally it becomes weirdly distorted, as is the case with the Bug.

The nebulosity itself will last for several thousand years before dissipating, leaving a white dwarf star to slowly cool over trillions of years.

The central star in the Bug Nebula possesses a surface temperature in excess of 250,000 degrees Celsius!

Exposure: Field of View: Image date:
45 minutes17.5 x 11.6 arcmin2021-06-17
Magnitude: Distance:Apparent size:
+9.74,000 light years.1.4 arc min


Position of Scorpius constellation in the whole sky.

Position of the Bug Nebula in Scorpius.

Sometimes the Astrometry website is off line and the Astrometry images will not appear .

Thanks for reading 🙃

Telescope & Imaging Details

Telescope:SkyWatcher Esprit 120 mm apochromatic 3-element refractor; 840 mm f/l @ f/7.
Optics:Field flattener; ZWO Duo-band Hα (656nm) and [OIII] (500nm) filter.
Mount & Guiding:SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount; ZWO ASI120 guide camera.
Imaging camera: ZWO ASI 290 MC (CMOS 5.6 x 3.2 mm, 2.1 Mpx).
Software:Control: Cartes du Ciel, ASCOM, EQMOD, PHD2. Imaging: SharpCap, Gimp.
Observatory:34° South.

Images © Roger Powell

I’m one of the founder members of Macarthur Astronomical Society and current webmaster.


      1. Your bride had a pretty good track record with naming shapes of nebulas . . . had.

        . . . unless she’s envisioning a thermal aerial image taken from a top-secret military drone of a lone deer walking in the forbidden and restricted portions of Area 51.

        . . . but I don’t think so.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. It looks buggy to me. I was fortunate the evening of the 23rd to see Mars nestled in the heart of the Beehive M-44. My stabilized 15x binocs gave an impressive view. The camera shot was not.

    Liked by 1 person

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