NGC 2392 – Eskimo Nebula/Clown Nebula

Observation Notes:

What an unbelievable planetary nebula. It was very bright and detailed. It rested about 2′ south-southwest of a bright star. It was circular, and had a brighter circle within. This inner circle hinted at more detail. So I bumped the magnification up from 120X to 240X, and it did very well. The central circle was mottled and perhaps roughly triangular in shape. After removing the Ultrablock filter, a central star appeared. It seemed like the star may be a bit north of center. I didn’t realize this was the Eskimo Nebula until after the observation and I was double-checking a reference in the Bright Star Atlas. It’s a beaty, that’s for sure. I cought it just as dawn twilight was brightening in the east. It was a great way to end the night’s observations.


The double-shell morphology of NGC 2392 helps contribute to it’s entrancing appearance. The nebula’s visual magnitude is 9.1, and it’s central star, HD 59088, has a visual magnitude of 10.5. The distance is not well known, but has been estimated at 3000 light years. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1787.

Subject NGC 2392 – The Eskima Nebula/Clown Nebula
Classification Planetary Nebula
Position* Gemini [RA: 07:29:12 / Dec: +20:55:00]
Size* 0.7′
Brightness* 9.1
Date/Time October 1, 2005 – 5:15 AM
(October 1, 2005 – 12:15 UT)
Observing Loc. Cinder Hills Overlook, Sunset Crater National Monument, AZ
Instrument Orion SVP 6LT Reflector (150 mm dia./1200 mm F/L)
Eyepieces/Mag. 10 mm (120X), 10 mm + 2X Barlow (240X) + Ultrablock
Conditions Clear, calm, 48�F
Seeing 2-3/10 Pickering
Transparency Mag 5.2 NELM (based on Ursa Minor)
Sources SEDS

*Based on published data.